Versatile Vegetable/Pumpkin Lasagne in oven or air fryer

There are lots of vegetarian lasagne recipes online including this BBCGoodFood pumpkin and spinach lasagne but you can actually use whatever vegetables you have available (including frozen spinach, sprouts etc).

This way of making cheese sauce with white beans (instead of the traditional bechemel sauce with flour and butter) adds extra protein and fibre to the dish. Any leftover cheese sauce can be used to make pasta carbonara, sag aloo, added to soup etc

You can easily make this recipe vegan by using non dairy cheese and milk.

Ingredients (makes 2 600ml foil containers)

  • approx 500gm raw vegetables (aubergines, courgettes, peppers, squash, celery) or roasted pumpkin or butternut squash (see instructions below)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 lasagne sheets
  • 175gm grated cheddar (you can include some parmesan if you like)

For the tomato sauce

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp rapeseed/sunflower/olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated (optional)
  • 1 tin brown lentils/ handful of dried orange split lentils (optional – adds fibre and protein)
  • dried/fresh herbs (eg oregano, basil) (optional)
  • 400g tin tomato
  • tomato puree

For the cheese sauce

  • 1 tin white beans (haricot, butter bean, canneloni)
  • handful of grated cheddar
  • extra flavour: Dijon mustard, nutritional yeast flakes, Worcestershire sauce (optional).

Method

1. Place your lasagne sheets in a bowl of water (optional – pre-hydrating the pasta helps the lasagne cook through quicker but is not essential).

2. If you have lots of veg, you can roast them for around 35 mins at 180 with seasoning and a dash of oil. Add some whole un-pealed garlic cloves in for the last fifteen to twenty mins and then squash those garlic cubes, remove the skins and stir in the pulp at the end. Whilest the veg is roasting, cook a tin of tomatoes in a saucepan with seasoning (salt, pepper and a little sugar).

3. Or if you just have onions, carrots and perhaps celery, you can cook it in with your tomato sauce: finely chop onion and cook in oil. Stir to avoid burning. When translucent, add grated carrot, sliced celery, finely diced garlic. Stir for a couple of minutes then add tin of tomatoes, lentils (optional), herbs and tomato puree. Simmer for 30 minutes. Season as required.

4. While above is cooking, make the bean/cheese sauce. Open tin of beans and tip into a jug/tall container with their liquid (or drain the liquid and discard if you prefer and add more water). Grate your cheese and add a good handful to the beans with the flavouring. Blitz until smooth. The sauce needs to be thick but just about pourable, so add water if required.

5. When the veg is cooked it is time to assemble the lasagne: a layer of tomatoes/veg, a layer of lasagne (no overlapping), a layer of cheese, a layer of bean/cheese sauce, a layer of lasagne and then repeat.  Finish with lasagne, then bean/cheese sauce sprinkled with the rest of the grated cheddar (or parmesan if you prefer) over the top. Make some cuts in the top sheet of lasagne with a sharp knife to prevent buckling.

6.Bake for 40 mins in the oven at  200C/180C fan/gas 6 or 15/20 mins in the air fryer at 180C, or until the lasagne is golden and bubbling.

How to roast pumpkin

1. Cut the lid off your pumpkin and carefully take out the seeds with your fingers, leaving the fibres still attached to the pumpkin so the seeds come out clean. Put seeds aside for roasting later.

2. Peel a section of the pumpkin and slice it into approx 3mm slices about 1 – 2 cms square (this small size will cook quicker). Toss with the oil in a roasting tin, season, then roast until tender. Optional to add sage or other herbs.  This can take up to 40 mins in oven, or 15 mins in air fryer at 180C.

See here for more ways to use up your pumpkin after Halloween.

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