Vegan, gluten free and jam-packed with goodness, as well as a few special treats too. This lasagne is delicious, and perfect to make when friends and family come over for dinner. A really easy recipe to put together; this one is all about the preparation. You can make it more 'whole' by swapping the pre-made vegan cheese for a nut-based one – the beauty with a lasagne is the potential for experimentation!
Serves three to four as a main meal
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
- To prepare the butternut, begin by peeling with a sharp knife. I find the easiest way to do this is to first slice of the ends, followed by cutting it in half across the middle. You can now slice the skin off from top to bottom on each half. Once peeled, cut each half lengthways through the middle and scoop the seeds and stringy bits from the bottom half. Now slice each segment thinly, so you have lots of half crescent ‘pasta’ sheets.
- Lay the butternut slices on an oven tray and drizzle over the olive oil and maple syrup. Chop the sage leaves into 1cm wide ribbons and sprinkle these on with some black pepper. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
- While the butternut slices are cooking, prepare the tomato sauce. Finely chop the red onion, garlic and chilli and chop the mushrooms into quarters. Heat the olive oil on a medium heat in a large pan and add the spices: cooking these first releases the flavours. Add the onion, garlic, chilli and mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes (or when slightly browned and soft).
- Chop the tomatoes into small chunks and add these to the pan with the pepper/tomato paste, red wine and vinegar. Simmer for 30-40 minutes, or until reduced. It should be thick, but still loose. Add the black pepper towards the end of cooking.
- While the tomato sauce is reducing you can make the white sauce. Heat the olive oil on a medium heat in a saucepan and add the spices and garlic. Keep an eye on the garlic – you want it to brown lightly but not burn. Once the garlic has begun to colour stir in the flour – much like making a roux for a béchamel sauce. Stir for a minute and then add the milk to create a sauce, continuing to stir. Next, add the tofu and mash it into the sauce using the back of the spoon. You can now stir in the remaining ingredients and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Again, it should be thick but loose.
- Finally, wilt the spinach by putting it in a pan on a low heat. Give it a stir and drain the water- this only takes about 5 minutes.
- Now for the assembly! Layer the ingredients in a deep dish or tin. I put mine together in the following order: tomato sauce, white sauce, spinach and sausage slices, butternut squash. Repeat until you have used all the ingredients and finish with a sprinkling of cheese.
- Cook in the oven for 20 minutes, or until the top is nice and crisp. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving, so that the layers hold their shape.
- Wonderful! Serve with steamed greens and a Miso dressing, which work really well as a contrasting tang to all of the earthy flavours of the lasagne.