Vegetarian Lasagne with Lentils & Pesto

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Healthy Fact

Lentils are the perfect substitute for meat in lasagne because they add substance and structure. Because lentils are low in fat, calories and cholesterol free, it makes them a much healthier option.

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This home made vegetarian lasagne is real comfort food. It always seems a lot of work, but this recipe isn’t that hard to make and the best part is, you can probably eat it for two days. Unless you plan to make this lasagne when you have friends coming over for dinner. I made this lasagne for four hungry friends and the casserole was complete clean afterwards including all the plates. So that was good news for my dishwasher!

Eating lasagne is always fulfilling my tummy, especially when the sauce is rich flavored and not watery. When making vegetarian lasagne it can get a little wet cause vegetables contain a lot of water and once heated in the oven it can make your sauce watery. But no worries, I found the answer: lentils. Lentils absorb all the water which makes this lasagne creamy and compact. Besides, the lentils give the sauce a structure that can be compared with meat. Of course if you prefer meat in your lasagne you could change the lentils for minced meat, but I dare you to try this version first. Because lentils are low in fat, calories and cholesterol free, it makes it a much healthier lasagne.

For all the vegans out there, I added vegan substitutes to the ingredients. Honestly I didn’t make the vegan version because as a half Frenchie I can’t do lasagne without cheese. But I’ve heard Bragg Nutritional Yeast Seasoning has a creamy texture and a cheesy, nutty flavor. It’s a good substitute for cheese and often used for vegan pizza. You could also chose to buy vegan cheese.

I advise you to make a bit more of the pesto, so you can keep it for later. Pesto you can keep in the fridge closed for about 1 week.

Vegetarian Lasagne with Lentils & Pesto

Servings 6 people
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins

Equipment

  • Philips HR7629 Food Processor

Ingredients

  • lasagna sheets

For the filling

  • 2 onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 courgette
  • 5 large mushrooms
  • 2 red peppers
  • 5 tomatoes
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp chili flakes
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • sea salt & black pepper

Béchamel sauce

  • 2 tbsp butter or use vegan butter (vegan)
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk or use unsweetend almondmilk (vegan)
  • 3 tbsp parmesan or use nutritional yeast (vegan)
  • pinch of sea salt & black pepper

Pesto

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 75 grams spinach
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • ½ lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tbsp parmesan or use nutritional yeast (vegan)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup water

Instructions

For the filling

  • Start with cutting all the vegetables. Chop the onion, mushrooms, courgette and pepper thinly.
  • Add olive oil to a wide bottom pan and fry the onion gently on a low heat until translucent.
  • After about 10 minutes add the garlic and fry for a bit more and then add the rest of the vegetables. Fry for a few minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, lentils, water and sugar to the pan and cover it. Let is cook for 25 minutes on a low heat.
  • Add salt, black pepper and chilli flakes to your taste and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Put it aside. If it looks watery drain it a bit before adding it to the lasagne.

The Béchamel sauce

  • Add butter to a frying pan and let it melt on a low heat. Once the butter is completely melted add the flour while you keep stirring with a whisk.
  • Once the flour is all mixed up with the butter add the milk and cheese (or nutritional yeast) and simmer for 5 minutes. It's important to keep whisking to prevent lumps. If needed you can add a bit more milk.
  • Season well with pepper and just a little bit of salt to your taste.

Pesto

  • Assemble all the ingredients and add to your food processor. Be careful with the water. Leave a bit to see if you need it all.
  • Mix until everything is combined to the texture you prefer. Scrape a few times from the sides and taste. Some people like it more fresh, you could add a bit more lemon, others are a big fan of garlic and would like to add more of that. If it's too thick you can always add a bit more olive oil or water.

Make the lasagne

  • Use a medium casserole and add a layer of the vegetable lentils filling.
  • Cover with the first layer of lasagne sheets.
  • Cover the lasagne sheets with the béchamel sauce.
  • Add a layer of pesto sauce on top of the béchamel sauce and on top of that another layer of the vegetable lentil mix.
  • Repeat until you have used 3 layers of lasagne sheets. Cover the third lasagne sheets with the remaining béchamel sauce and make sure you cover all the sheets with it. On top one add one more layer of pesto and finish with a good layer of grated parmesan (or vegan cheese).
  • Cover the lasagne with foil and let it bake in the preheated over for 30 minutes on 175 degrees °C. Always be on the lookout to check if the top isn't burning (every oven is different 😉 ). Let it cool down a little bit before cutting a piece. ENJOY!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Pasta, Vegetable, vegetarian

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