Blog, lickthespoonblog, Soul food, Uncategorized, vegan

Food with Love: Winter Vegetable Lasagne (vegan)

I love an old classic with a fresh new twist, and this is exactly what Rosie (Lickthespoonblog) has delivered here. Lasagne with a creamy vegan ricotta, and using winter veggies instead of the traditional summer ones – seasonal home-cooking at it’s best! This dish does very well fresh or frozen, so another great option for batch cooking and having a go-to meal after a long shift or busy on-call weekend. Enjoy!

“Cooking is love made visible” – Unknown

From Rosie, with love:

Spring either started on the 1st March or won’t begin until the 20th! It all depends on whether you prefer the astronomical or meteorological way of looking at things. The whites of the snowdrops are definitely giving way to the cheerful yellows of the daffodils and the paler primroses. The birds are starting to sing in the mornings and look sleek again rather than looking dishevelled having puffed their feathers out in the bird equivalent of a quilted coat two sizes too big. Just as I get hopeful that winter is over we get hit my a hard frost and howling winds.

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On my veg patch, just as I have begun sowing in earnest ready for the new season, there is very little left to harvest. A few leeks and carrots, stored onions, some spinach and kale and maybe the odd cauliflower. More excitingly the bright pink rhubarb is showing underneath the upturned bin, and the sprouting broccoli, both white and purple, is having its moment. I can think of recipes galore for the rhubarb and broccoli but for the leeks, carrots and onions not so many!

Hence this recipe for a lasagne using these winter veggies rather than the usual aubergine, peppers and courgettes.  I made this vegan, largely because Chloe is staying with me again, by making a basil “ricotta“ using tofu which really is every bit as good as the dairy alternative – and I don’t say that lightly: the result is so much fresher and lighter than the normal bechamel sauce used in lasagnes.

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This is a dish that is made for sharing but can be cut and frozen in individual portions too. Once assembled it doesn’t need any attention, and will wait around quite happily in the fridge until you are ready to cook it. The lasagne is gorgeous served with a simple salad or on its own.

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 large leek, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • Medium red onion, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped into 1cm pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
  • 250g chestnut mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 200g cauliflower, separated into small florets
  • 15 cherry tomatoes, left whole
  • 4tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Salt and pepper

Ricotta Filling

  • 450g extra firm tofu (I used the toofoo brand) drained and patted dry
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Juice and zest of a lemon
  • 3tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 large bunch fresh basil

For the Lasagne

  • 12 lasagne sheets (if fresh no need to pre-cook)
  • 680g bottle passata
  • 75g chopped Kale (I used cavalo nero)
  • 100g grated vegan mozzarella (smoked if possible)

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Method

  1. Heat the oven to 220c/200 fan.
  2. Place the chopped vegetables on a baking sheet.  Add oil and seasoning and toss together.
  3. Bake in oven for 20-25 mins until the vegetables are soft.
  4. Put the tofu, yeast, lemon juice and zest, oil, garlic clove, chilli flakes, thyme and seasoning in food processor with 3 tbsp water.  Blitz to a creamy ricotta  texture before adding the basil and blitzing again.  Add more water if necessary.
  5. Cook the lasagne sheets until al dente in boiling salted water, drain and keep in a bowl of cold water until ready to use.  Please do not use “no cook” dried lasagne sheets here as they don’t work.  Fresh lasagne is however fine if you put the sheets in bowl of cold water for 5 mins before using.
  6. Put a layer of passata (about 1/4th of jar) in the bottom of lasagne dish.  Cover with 4 lasagne sheets
  7. Spread over half of the “ricotta” mixture and top that with half of the roasted vegetables and a layer of half the chopped kale.
  8. Repeat these layers again.
  9. On top of the final layer of kale pour over another layer of passata and top with the final four lasagne sheets.
  10. For the topping spread over the last of the passata and the grated mozarella cheese.
  11. Cook in oven for 35 minutes, covering with foil if the cheese browns too quickly.
  12. Enjoy!

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