Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Let's talk about vegetarian lasagna.

I have to say I hesitated before writing about vegetarian lasagna. I mean, it brings up images of hippies, living in the country in some run down house on a ramshackle farm, milking the cows and collecting the free range eggs from their chooks and ducks and that's just not me...... Hmm, maybe I could have thought that opening paragraph through a bit more.

See I don't think that vegetarian and normal lasagna should be considered in the same space. I love meat based lasagna, the thick, rich, meaty, tomato sauce and the creamy layers in between. But my vego version comes from a different space. For a start there are no tomatoes. And it's a hell of a lot easier.

When I make a real 'I'm sure I have Italian blood in me somewhere' sauce for a lasagna, I like to cook out the meat and tomato sauce for hours, slowly simmering until my taste buds can take it no more. Of course, I don't always do this, sometimes I brown off some mince, wack in tinned tomatoes and layer up but it's not the same.

With the vego version all I do is throw a bunch of roughly cut vegetables into a roasting dish and slow roast. This time it was squash, garlic, cauliflower, carrot, mushrooms, zucchini and red onion but I also use eggplant, pumpkin, sweet potato, fennel and peas. Takes all of about four minutes to chop up. I'll lightly coat with oil and add some salt and other seasoning, cumin seeds or rosemary or thyme.

While that's roasting I make some pasta. It's not essential, but I have duck eggs and I find that duck egg pasta is the smoothest, silkiest, sexiest thing I've seen outside my marriage. But that's just me. Use the packet stuff if you want. Bash the dough in the fridge and make the white sauce.

I use lots of cheese with this. In this case that means a hunk of homemade camembert that is a bit strong to eat fresh, some homemade mozzarella and some cheddar. The more interesting and varied the cheese, the better the dish. That's one of the joys of cheesemaking, the mistakes you make can usually be thrown into a white sauce or onto a pizza.

Layer it up and bake until the white sauce is golden on top. I traditionally eat it after a three hour yoga session sitting in the lotus position, naked, under a full moon, but it will taste just as good fully clothed in front of the TV.


MF from my iPad



  1. Try combining the two, they're not mutually exclusive. I've found slotting a layer of say thinly sliced kumara or pumpkin (particularly good way of recycling leftover veg) into a carnivore lasagna gives it a bit more bulk and structure and also reduces the this-dish-is-just-meat-and-carbs guilt of hoeing into it of course.

    And yeah. You hippy.

  2. ahh - if only we all had the luxuries of on hand home made cheeses! I'll have to get to work some time!

  3. We grate Kumara or sometimes carrots if we've got nothing else. We also add layers of spinach mixed with ricotta. Tried shredded broccoli once and that was pretty good too.