Vegan Lasagne

Lasagne is a firm family favourite with many people and there is no reason as to why a vegan version wouldn’t be just as delicious. Sure, one of the best things about the regular lasagne is the cheesy bechamel source that gets roasted and browns in the oven, however it is possible to make a tasty bechamel with no  dairy milk and nutritional yeast. The cooking and assembly process is very similar if not the same.

In this recipe I make everything from scratch, from the mince to the bechamel sauce. I like to use dried soya mince when making vegan dishes because some store bought meat mince substitutes are not vegan and contain egg. This advantage of this is that not only is it more economical to use dried soya mince, but you can also flavour it whichever way you like. I like to use yeast extract, Maggi hugo sauce and some liquid smoke to give a savoury meaty punch. You can let the dry soya mince hydrate for a few minutes and then develop even more flavour by browning the mince before putting it into a sauce. The option however is entirely yours, if you choose to use store bought then you can skip the first few steps and proceed directly to making the sauce.

I don’t tend to use herbs in my tomato based pasta sauces for spaghetti or lasagne, this is my own preference, but you always add a pinch of oregano, thyme, or basil. One thing to bear in mind is to not allow the sauce to reduce too much because the pasta sheets will absorb all the liquid.

Overall the result is fantastic, I’m sure even non-veggies would not complain or even notice. The absence of cheese is noticeable in that the nutritional yeast does give a savoury cheesy flavour but it is not quite the same. Very tasty, but not the same. However if you can find vegan parmesan then you could incorporate some for extra flavour.

Vegan Lasagne
Yield: 4 Servings
Difficulty: Medium
Prep time:
Cooking time:

Description

Lasagne is quite an easy dish to make vegan. The meat is substituted with dried soya mince which can be flavoured in many different ways, and the bechamel can be made with non dairy milk and nutritional yeast to give it a more cheesy flavour. The result is a delicious lasagne that can be made in advance and will be enjoyed by everyone.

Metric
US/Cups

Ingredients

For the “meat” substitute

  • 150 g dried textured soya mince
  • 250 ml of water
  • 1 tsp of yeast extract (Marmite)
  • ½ tsp Maggi Jugo seasoning
  • ½ tsp powdered garlic
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the sauce and lasagne

  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 400 g tinned tomatoes
  • 200 ml of water or vegetable stock
  • 150 ml white wine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500 g lasagne sheets
  • salt to taste

For the bechamel

  • 60 g flour
  • 4½ tbsp olive oil
  • 300 ml of unsweetened non dairy milk
  • 200 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of nutritional yeast
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

 

For the “meat” substitute

  • 5½ oz dried textured soya mince
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tsp of yeast extract (Marmite)
  • ½ tsp Maggi Jugo seasoning
  • ½ tsp powdered garlic
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the sauce and lasagne

  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 14 oz tinned tomatoes
  • ¾ cup of water or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup + 2 tbsp of white wine
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 18 oz lasagne sheets
  • salt to taste

For the bechamel

  • 2 oz flour
  • 4½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1¼ cup of unsweetened non dairy milk
  • ¾ cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 cup of nutritional yeast
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

 

Instructions

  1. Put the soya mince, the powdered garlic, ground cumin and smoked paprika in a bowl.
  2. Add yeast extract, sugar, Maggi Jugo seasoning and liquid smoke (optional) in a jug and add a cup of water from a recently boiled kettle. Stir until everything has dissolved and add to the bowl with the soya mince and mix. Allow the soya mince to soak up the liquid for a few minutes. In the meantime you can finely dice the onion, peppers and garlic ready for when required.
    Dried soya mince for lasagne
  3. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a pan on medium heat and add the soya mince which should have absorbed the liquid by now. Sauté until the soya mince until evenly browned and remove from the pan and place to one side for later use.
    Browned dried soya mince
  4. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and add the diced onion, peppers and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes, white wine, and water or vegetable stock, and bring to a gentle simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes so that the alcohol in the wine boils off and the sauce thickens slightly. Add the soya mince, mix well, allow to simmer for 5 more minutes and set to one side.
  6. Prepare the bechamel sauce by adding 4 to 5 tbsp of olive oil to a pan on a medium heat, add the flour and mix well to form a roux. The flour and oil should be equal quantities by weight. Stir and cook until the sauce thickens and the flour is cooked. Add the non dairy milk and vegetable stock (it helps if these have been previous warmed up in the microwave) and stir until the sauce thickens.
  7. Season with some salt and pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and add the nutritional yeast. Bring to a slow simmer while stirring and remove from the heat. The sauce should be nice and thick and coat the back end of a spoon.
  8. Preheat the oven to 200C while laying out the lasagne.
  9. In a square baking tray start layering the sauces with the lasagne sheets. I tend to start with a layer of bechamel sauce at the bottom and mix it with some lasagne sauce on the baking tray. Add a layer of lasagne sheets, then a layer of tomato and mince sauce on top. Keep on layering the pasta and tomato and mince sauce this way until all pasta sheets have been used up. At the end add the rest of the bechamel sauce at the top to cover in a thick layer.
  10. Place the lasagne in the oven to bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the surface becomes golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.
    Vegan lasagneVegan lasagne

Notes

You don’t have to brown the soya mince but it will improve the taste and texture of it. In fact when flavoured properly as per the ingredients in this recipe and it is browned it makes a very credible meat replacement. You can also use any other meat mince substitute available in shops, however some of these are not vegan and I like to flavour it to suit my taste.

For the bechamel sauce I like to use oat milk but soya milk works just as well.

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