Plant-Based Lasagne

Main Meal

Preparation time: 85 min

Vegetarian

Vegan

This recipe was created by Joni Condos of Opti Cook. Note: OPTIFAST licenses a selection of Opti Cook recipes and does not endorse or hold any further association with Opti Cook or its website content.
 

Ingredients (serves 6)

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sticks celery, diced (approx. 1 cup)
  • 2 medium carrots, diced (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
  • 200g mushrooms, finely chopped (approx. 3 cups)
  • 1 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 shake or a pinch of chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Brandy essence
  • 1 cup low salt tomato paste
  • 400g tin diced tomatoes, low salt & no added sugar
  • 3 cups of stock + 1 more if needed
     

Cauliflower Bechamel Sauce

  • 1/2 medium cauliflower, cut into florets incl core
  • 3 cups of stock (I use Massel vegan chicken stock)
  • 1 small brown onion, peeled but left whole
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground or grated if fresh
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil
     

Italian "Cheese" Mix

  • 1 small zucchini, peeled & grated
  • 1 small carrot, peeled & grated
  • Zest of 1/2 a medium lemon
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 sachet of Miso soup (18g)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (smoked or sweet)
  • 1 tsp stock powder (I used Massel vegan chicken stock)

Method

  1. Makeup all the individual components, then assemble. You can do steps 1-5 at the same time.


Tomato Sauce

  1. Add a spray of olive oil to a frypan or large saucepan. Add the onion & garlic and cook for approx. 5 mins until nicely browned. Add brandy essence (it will sizzle), celery, carrots, mushrooms, thyme, oregano & chilli powder, stir and cook for another 2 mins.
  2. Next, add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste & 2 cups of stock. Simmer for about 20-30 mins until cooked, adding the extra cup of stock if needed.
  3. Blitz briefly so some of the carrots are mashed, thus helping sauce to thicken. This sauce should be pretty thick and not watery. 


Cauliflower Béchamel Sauce

  1. Heat stock in a medium saucepan until boiling. Add cauliflower florets, whole onion, cloves & bay leaves. Put a lid on, turn down to a simmer, and cook for 30 mins until very mushy. Strain & keep 1 cup of the liquid. Remove the onion, cloves & bay leaves. Blitz until it is the consistency of béchamel sauce, adding reserved liquid if you need to. Add grated nutmeg and stir.
  2. Next, add 1 tsp olive oil and blitz again; this will make it silky smooth & creamy. Add salt n pepper to taste & let cool.


Italian "Cheese" Mix

  1. In a bowl, added all of the ingredients together. Mix until well combined and set aside.


Lasagne Sheets

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Trim top and bottom and slice your zucchini lengthways. You may also wish to peel any thick green skin off or blemishes.
  3. Place on an oven tray in a single layer. Spray with oil spray and bake for approx. 10 mins until starting to go golden and translucent. 


Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C if you haven't already.
  2. Place 1 cup tomato sauce in a 32cm x 19cm casserole dish. Place a layer of the zucchini slices on top. Then a layer of bechamel. Then about 1/2 cup of the "cheese" mix. Then a layer of zucchini. Then a layer of the tomato sauce. Then the final layer of zucchini. Then a final layer of bechamel. Top with the "cheese". Spray with oil.
  3. Place uncovered in the oven and bake for approx 8-15 mins, until well browned and bubbly on top. All layers are pre-cooked, so this is to gel them together and get a crunchy brown yummy top.
  4. Let it sit for a few minutes as you prepare a basic Italian salad. Season with salt and black pepper. Carefully cut into pieces and serve.


Notes

  • Do not underbake as it will be mushy and raw tasting. Better err on the side of dark brown or burnt than raw for this recipe.
  • You can make up each component the day before, then assemble & bake last minute too.
  • This can be frozen into portions, great for a quick & satisfying meal.
  • Also, keeps in the fridge for at least five days.
  • You can replace the zucchini with eggplant or any other flat low starch vegetable.