The Ultimate Vegan Comfort Food: Vegan Lasagne with Bechamel Sauce
When it comes to comforting and hearty meals, lasagne holds a special place in our hearts. The layers of pasta, rich tomato sauce, creamy béchamel, and savory fillings create a symphony of flavors that satisfy both the soul and the taste buds. In this post, we’re going to embark on a culinary journey and discover how to make a delicious vegan lasagne with a luscious béchamel sauce. We’ll explore the key components, offer some helpful tips, and even answer some frequently asked questions to ensure your lasagne experience is a resounding success.
The Essentials of Vegan Lasagne
Lasagne, a traditional Italian dish, has been adapted beautifully into the world of plant-based cooking. Let’s break down the fundamental components that make up a classic vegan lasagne:
1. Pasta Sheets: Start with your favorite lasagne pasta sheets. Ensure they’re vegan-friendly, as some brands may include eggs.
2. Tomato Sauce: A rich and flavorful tomato sauce is the heart of any lasagne. You can use store-bought marinara sauce or make your own with tomatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs.
3. Vegan Cheese: Opt for plant-based cheeses that melt well, such as vegan mozzarella or a homemade cashew-based cheese sauce.
4. Bechamel Sauce: The creamy béchamel sauce is a game-changer in lasagne. It’s traditionally made with butter and dairy milk, but we’ll explore vegan alternatives.
5. Filling: Layer your lasagne with a tasty filling. Common choices include sautéed mushrooms, spinach, vegan ground meat, or roasted vegetables.
Top Tips for Perfect Vegan Lasagne
- Precook Pasta Sheets: It’s essential to precook the lasagne pasta sheets until they’re al dente. This prevents them from becoming overly soft during baking.
- Layering Order: Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of the baking dish to prevent sticking. Then, alternate pasta, fillings, béchamel, and vegan cheese in layers.
- Cover with Foil: Cover the lasagne with aluminum foil during baking to ensure even cooking and to prevent excessive browning of the cheese.
- Rest Before Serving: Allow the lasagne to rest for a few minutes after baking. This helps the layers set and makes it easier to slice.
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil for frying
- 1 Red Onion finely sliced
- 3 Cloves Garlic minced
- 4 Sticks Celery finely sliced
- 1 medium Aubergine cubed
- 1 Courgette cubed
- 4 Cups/650g Vegan Mince (alternatively, used mushrooms or lentils)
- 2 tins Chopped Tomatoes
- 3 tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1 heaped tbsp Mixed Herb
- 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 2 tbsp Sea Salt
- 2 tbsp Cracked Black Pepper
- 1 Pack Dried Lasagna Sheets
- 1/2 cup Vegan Butter
- 1/2 cup Flour
- 4 cups Soy Milk/Oat Milk
- 1 Onion
- 1 Bay Pinch Nutmeg
- 1 tbsp Sea Salt
- 1 tbsp Black Pepper
- First up you need to infuse the milk for the béchamel, in a medium saucepan add the soy/oat milk followed by the onion, bay, nutmeg & seasonings. Place the saucepan over a low heat & stir every now and then.
- For the ragu, in a large saucepan placed over medium heat, add the oil followed by the onion, garlic, celery & a pinch of salt. Sweat the mixdown for around 3-4 minutes.
- Add the courgette, aubergine & mixed herbs. Turn the heat down lower, pop a lid on & allow the mix to cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Add the vegan mix & stir well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar & chopped tomatoes.
- Stir in the tomato puree, then pop the lid on and let the mix cook over a low heat for 10-15 minutes.
- For the béchamel, in a saucepan add the vegan margarine and place the pan over a low heat.
- When the margarine is melted, add the flour. Using a spatula mix well. Cook the mix whilst stirring for a couple of minutes to cook out the flour. It should resemble a paste like consistency.
- Gradually whisk in the infused milk, a little at a time.
- Once you’d added all the milk, the béchamel should be creamy, if you want to make it cheesy, add vegan cheese & nutritional yeast.
- Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees C.
- Build your Lasagne in your oven proof baking dish, a layer at a time, I like to do – ragu, béchamel then pasta sheets. Repeat this until you have filled your dish. Making sure the top layer is béchamel.
- Bake the Lasagne in your oven for 45 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Can I use gluten-free lasagne noodles?
- Yes, you can use gluten-free lasagne noodles if you have dietary restrictions. Just be mindful of their cooking time, as gluten-free pasta can cook faster than traditional pasta.
2. What can I use instead of vegan cheese?
- You can make a dairy-free cheese sauce using cashews, nutritional yeast, and non-dairy milk. Alternatively, some store-bought vegan cheeses melt well and can be used.
3. Can I make lasagne ahead of time?
- Yes, lasagne can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a day or two. You can also freeze it for longer storage and bake it when needed.
4. Can I omit the nutritional yeast in the béchamel sauce?
- While nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor, you can omit it if you prefer. The sauce will still be creamy and delicious.
5. Can I add vegetables to the tomato sauce?
- Absolutely! Adding sautéed vegetables like onions, bell peppers, and zucchini to the tomato sauce can enhance the flavor and nutrition of your lasagne.
Vegan lasagne with béchamel sauce is the epitome of comfort food that’s both indulgent and plant-based. With these key components and tips in mind, you’re well-equipped to create a mouthwatering lasagne that will have your family and friends coming back for seconds. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your ingredients, and get ready to enjoy a slice of vegan lasagne heaven!
inspired by avantgardevegan
If you enjoyed this recipe or have suggestions on how we can improve it, please leave us a comment below. Also, make sure to check out other dishes I’ve created or stories I’ve written about food culture – here.