Classic Meat-Free Lasagne

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Hi guys! Now that I’ve got my blog up and running I am going to attempt to post a new vegetarian recipe every Friday (‘Foodie Friday’) and this week I had a go at turning an Italian favourite into a meat-free feast. My sister and her boyfriend are also vegetarians so cooking for them is an excellent excuse to try something new. It went down a treat on a sunny Friday night and every plate was scraped.
This lasagne is by no means one of the healthiest or most low-fat options (butter and mature cheddar cheese galore) However, it is a much better option than a pre-made lasagne bake from the supermarket or ready-made sauces in a jar. These pre-made options are almost always laden with hidden sugars, salt and other nasties so making your own from scratch is a surefire way to cut down on the fat and sugar in your diet.
Plus this recipe is FULL of veg, I like to add any leftover veg to dishes like this. I’ve gone with mushrooms, celery and peppers but you could add carrot, courgette, frozen peas… Just throw in whatever vegetables you need to use up in the fridge! The veg and the healthy protein should balance out the sinful white sauce.
This tray of this lasagne will feed about six people and it’s pretty easy to put together. The whole recipe takes about an hour and a half to make, including cooking in the oven. This is a lot quicker than cooking a meaty lasagne as Quorn mince doesn’t require as much cooking as real meat. It’s totally worth the extra effort making your own!
If you give it a go, let me know and send me a picture of your finished product.

Ingredients for Lasagne
300g Packet of Quorn Mince
Glug of Olive Oil (about 2tbsp)
1 Onion (finely chopped)
3 Cloves of Garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
1 Stick of Celery (finely chopped)
150g Mushrooms (roughly chopped)
1 Red/Orange Pepper (deseeded and finely chopped)
400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
500g Packet of Passata
2.5tbsp (Sundried) Tomato Pesto
1tbsp Tomato Puree
1tbsp Tomato Ketchup
2tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1tsp Oregano
2 Bay Leaves
4tsp Vegetable Bouillon or 1 Stock Cube
Handful of Basil (roughly chopped)
125g Fresh Lasagne Sheets (this is really dependent on the size of your oven dish)
50g Margarine/Butter
50g Plain Flour
300ml Skimmed Milk
150g Mature Cheddar Cheese (grated – keep half for the sauce, half for the topping)
Salt and Pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C now.
  2. Heat a splash of olive oil in a non-stick pan. Fry the onion for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and celery, fry for a further 2 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the chopped mushrooms and peppers. Stir and cook for another 3 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, passata, puree, pesto, ketchup, red wine vinegar, sprinkling of oregano, crumbled stock cube or bouillon, bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  5. Add the Quorn mince and chopped fresh basil. Turn on to a low-medium heat and let simmer while you make the cheese sauce. Remember Quorn doesn’t take long to cook.
  6. While your ‘mince’ gently cooks, start the white sauce. Melt the butter into a small saucepan. When completely melted, stir in the flour and cook gently while continually stirring. Slowly add the milk, only a little at a time, stirring vigorously each time, beating away any lumps, until you create a sauce consistency. Once you have a sauce, add 75g of cheddar cheese and stir through on a low heat until it disappears into the sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
  7. Remove the bay leaves from your Quorn mince and now you’re ready to put the lasagne together. In a large ovenproof dish, spoon half of your Quorn mixture over the base. Cover with a layer of pasta sheets, you can cut some to make it fit across the whole dish. Top with half of the cheese sauce. Repeat this process again (Quorn Mince, Pasta Sheet, Cheese Sauce) Cover with the remaining grated cheese before baking in a preheated oven at 200C for 35 minutes until golden and crisp.
  8. Enjoy with a salad or garlic bread. I like it best with a green salad, fresh cherry tomatoes and lots of balsamic vinegar.
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