A vegetarian lasagna is an awesome recipe to have up your sleeve for so many reasons!
This recipe for vegetarian lasagna is 100% vegetarian. Have no fear serving it up to everyone though. The texture is so ‘meaty’ even non-vegetarians won’t realise there is no meat included at all.
What do we love about this recipe for vegetarian lasagna?
What’s not to love? It’s a creamy, dreamy, taste sensation from the first bite.
- The bechamel sauce is to die for. Just because you’re making a vegetarian lasagna doesn’t mean you need to go slow on the creamy sauce. We love the addition of freshly grated nutmeg!
- The slow cooked sauce is big on flavour. Slow cooking releases a depth of flavour you won’t get with a store bought sauce.
- This recipe includes TVP (textured vegetable protein). A great way to add texture and because it simulates the texture and mouth feel of mince, it’s perfect for meat eaters who think they couldn’t survive on a vegetarian lasagna
- Leftovers (if there are any) serve up perfectly for next day lunch. Just reheat for a minute or two in the microwave. Arguably it tastes even better the next day.
Which lasagna sheets to use?
It seems that whether you’re making a vegetarian lasagna or any other type of lasagna, the debate is on. Fresh or dried lasagna sheets?
In our opinion it’s entirely your choice. Dried lasagna sheets work perfectly well. Providing you aren’t trying to get them to bend! If you are going for a ‘deconstructed’ lasagna, or using a round baking dish, then the fresh lasagna sheets are a better option. They will set you back a little more than the dried lasagna sheets though.
Ultimately, it’s personal preference. Or maybe you’re really keen and you’ll make your own!
Getting the bechamel sauce just right.
We’d like to give you a tip for bechamel sauce. If you want a glossy, smooth and deliciously creamy sauce, we have some tips:
- Use full cream milk and salted butter. Real butter that you have to cut from a stick of butter. Nothing tastes as good as real butter and unless your vegetarians are actually vegan, they will be OK with this.
- Take the time to stir, stir, stir. Resist the urge to allow your bechamel to sit on the stove while it comes to heat. Stirring from the moment you start cooking will ensure no lumps and that the cornflour is fully worked through.
- Use a fresh piece of nutmeg and finely grate into the sauce as required. Nothing beats the flavour of fresh versus bottled.
What is Textured Vegetable Protein?
TVP has been around for decades! It’s come a long way since the 70s and it’s a wonderful way to create a vegetarian meal without sacrificing the ‘meaty’ flavour and texture. TVP used to only be available in health food stores but today, you’ll find it in major supermarkets.
TVP is super healthy and is very cheap compared to buying the same amount of meat. 1 cup of TVP usually doubles in volume once cooked with sufficient liquid.
Manufacturers will tell you to soak your TVP in water until it reabsorbs, then squeeze out excess liquid and use in place of meat. For ‘wet’ dishes like bolognese, lasagne sauce, mexican dishes etc, we like to add the TVP dry to the dish as it’s cooking and allow it to soak up all the flavours of your dish.
Is this the best vegetarian lasagna recipe?
Once you’ve tried this recipe, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Did it live up to your expectations? How did it compare to other recipes you’ve tried?
If you really enjoyed this recipe, hit the L❤VE button just under the recipe image. The more L❤VES, the more others will know it’s a recipe worth trying.
Ingredients (serves 8 | makes 1 Large Lasagne)
- For the Lasagna sauce:
- 1 large Eggplant
- 1 large Zucchini
- 2 large Carrots
- 1 large Brown Onion
- 2 cloves Fresh Garlic
- 1 cup Textured Vegetable Protein
- 1 can Diced Tomatoes
- 4 tbsps Tomato Paste
- 4 cups Vegetable Stock (or the vegetarian beef flavoured stock)
- 1/4 cup Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil Originale
- 1/4 cup Fresh Basil leaves roughly torn (or 1 tsp jar basil)
- 1/4 cup Fresh Oregano leaves (or 1 tsp dried)
- For the Bechamel:
- 3 cups Full Cream Milk
- 150g Salted Butter
- 6 tsps Cornflour
- 1 tsp Nutmeg (ideally freshly grated)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 Bay Leaves (fresh or dried)
- 6 tsps Powdered Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- 2 packs Lasagne Sheets
- 4 cups Grated Mozarella Cheese
- Make the Lasagna Sauce: Rinse and finely dice all vegetables (no need to peel) and crush the garlic. Bring a large lidded frypan to heat and add the olive oil and salt. Saute the vegetables until they are starting to soften. Stir in the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and then the beef stock. Stir in the textured vegetable protein. Drop in the fresh herbs. Place lid on the frypan and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for the first 30 minutes with the lid on - check and stir often to ensure no sticking. Cook for the final 30 minutes with the lid off - you want the liquid to reduce so you end up with a rich sauce that is able to be spread over the lasagne sheets but is not too runny. You may need to cook a little longer if your sauce is too runny.
- Make the Bechamel Sauce: Use a medium non-stick saucepan and place on a medium heat. Drop in the butter, salt, bay leaves and nutmeg. While the butter is melting, mix the cornflour and a little of the milk to make a paste that has no lumps. Add the milk followed by the cornflour paste to the saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon until the milk cooks all the way through and the sauce has a lovely thick consistency. Turn off the heat and seal the saucepan with a lid to prevent a skin forming on top.
- Assemble the Lasagna: Grease the bottom and sides of a large baking dish. Lay down a thin layer of the lasagne sauce Cover with lasagne sheets (do not overlap the sheets as this may affect cooking) Lay down a thin layer of the bechamel sauce Sprinkle roughly 1 cup of mozarella cheese over the sauce Repeat sauce, lasagne sheets, bechamel, cheese until you get to 2 - 3cm from the top of the dish (or you run out of ingredients) Your goal is to finish with the bechamel sauce as the top layer. Sprinkle with a little more nutmeg. If desired, you can top this with cheese.
- Bake in a 180.C oven for 45 mins - 1 hour. If you find the top of the lasagne starts to brown too quickly, place it lower down in the oven and/or slightly reduce the oven temperature. Your lasagna is cooked when a sharp knife slips easily through the lasagna sheets. We recommend allowing your lasagna to sit for 15 minutes prior to serving to allow the dish to not only cool a little, but to come together. This makes it a little easier to serve up.
If your family are cheese lovers, feel free to smother the top of your lasagna in grated mozarella cheese. We are watching our cholesterol, so only added cheese within the lasagna!We used Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil Originale in this recipe and couldn't be more excited about the flavour this oil brings to the recipe. Bertolli is the world’s no. 1 olive oil brand and Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil Originale is their most popular olive oil. It’s a great all-round extra virgin olive oil that works in dressings, salads, marinades, for bread dipping or delicious as a finishing drizzle before serving. Bertolli extra virgin olive oil contains just crushed olives, nothing else. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in antioxidants. Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil is available at Woolworths and selected IGA stores nationally.