vegetarian lasagna

lasagna with a creamy vegan pesto sauce

5th June 2011

I found gold today at the back of the garden, next to the chicken coop under a neglected grapefruit tree.  Gardener’s gold in the form of well-rotted chicken and geese poo, mixed with lots and lots of hay, garden scraps, the odd bit of newspaper and grass clippings. Sitting there for months and months after the chicken house was cleaned and decomposing with abundant nutrients and goodness.  Not totally composted, but perfect for use as mulch for the vegetable garden.  I managed four heaped wheelbarrows and spread this gold over at least three triangles of my garden. This will keep the weeds at bay and then be dug back into the soil for the next lot of vegetables.  I could feel the vibrations of all the recently planted little summer seedlings saying, “Thank you, thank you.”  Tiny and green and full of hope, adventure and abundance – promises of good things to come.

The tomato sauce is one I use for a pizza base and pasta sauce and is perfect for this lasagna.  In Summer, I use fresh tomatoes from the garden, and basil leaves when they are obscenely abundant.  I ensure this sauce has long, slow cooking to give it a depth of flavour and richness in texture.  Serve with a crisp fresh, green leaf salad from the garden.

This is quite a decadent lasagna, or at least for me, but it is so delicious.  It is something which we spoil ourselves each month.  The chopped walnuts on top give the lasagna a more robust taste.

4V7A8129_1980x1297

lasagna with a creamy vegan pesto sauce

Serves 4 – 5

ingredients 

1 packet lasagna sheets (four layers in a 13 x 8-inch deep baking dish) or make your own using 320g  durum wheat at #5 

1 large/430g eggplant

½ cup roughly chopped walnut and pine nut parmesan

tomato sauce 

¼ cup olive oil

4 sprigs fresh oregano

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 x 10cm twigs fresh rosemary

¼ tsp chilli flakes

1 fresh bay leaf

1 large/220g fennel bulb, cut into thick rounds

2 medium/130g carrots, chopped

1 medium/100g red bell pepper

1 x 140g tube tomato paste

1kg ripe cherry tomatoes

1 heaped tsp fine rock salt

1 heaped tsp sugar

creamy pesto sauce 

2 – 4 big bunches basil (110g basil leaves, stems removed)

1 cup/135g raw cashew nuts – soaked in hot water for half an hour

1 cup nut milk

¼ tsp freshly ground pepper

pinch fine rock salt

tomato sauce 

1.  Wash the cherry tomatoes and leave them whole; chop the fennel into thick rounds, chop the carrot and red pepper (I like to keep the vegetables quite chunky, especially the fennel) – set aside.

2.  In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, drizzle in the oil, add fennel and fry until it starts to soften; add oregano, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf and chilli flakes, fry for 1 minute, then stir in vegetables and tomato paste – simmer 5 minutes.

3.   Add whole cherry tomatoes, cover and simmer gently for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf, rosemary, oregano and thyme stalks, and add sugar and salt.  Set aside.

eggplant

4. Cut the eggplant into ¼ inch slices. Oil a large skillet and add the eggplant slices in a single layer. Working in batches, saute the eggplant on both sides, until completely soft, tender, and caramelized. Repeat with remaining eggplant, adding oil between batches, until done.

creamy basil pesto 

5.  Drain the cashews and add to blender with the nut milk –  blend until creamy; add basil leaves, salt and pepper, and blend again until well incorporated.  You want the sauce quite thick. Set aside.

assemble 

6.  Ladle 1 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of a baking dish, then a layer of lasagna sheets, add a layer of tomato sauce, lasagna sheet and another layer of tomato sauce, a layer of eggplant, then half the pesto cream. Add a layer of eggplant, remaining pesto cream, a layer of lasagna sheets and remaining tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle with walnuts.

bake

7.  Preheat the oven to 190C/350F.  Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil, and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes. Remove a sprinkle with pine nut parmesan (or a light sprinkle of nutritional yeast) and fresh basil leaves. 

Serve with your favourite green salad.

4V7A8092_1980x1297

Goodness shared by Stacey

All rights reserved © Goodness is…. · Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie