Most vegetarian lasagnes that I have come across before use mushrooms or aubergine, neither of which I like. My boyfriend's mum came over for dinner last night and she's vegetarian, (and doesn't like aubergine either) so I decided to find a vegetarian lasagne recipe that we would both like. I also made a simple meat lasagne for my boyfriend, and made dessert, so I was busy!
I found a recipe on BBC Food for a butternut squash and sweet potato lasagne, that looked lovely. I decided to leave out the spinach as I don't like it. I also added more liquid to the cheese sauce but even then found the final dish a little dry - it had a lovely flavour but I would have liked more sauce, so that is something to bear in mind if you are going to make it. I also left out the pine nuts as I didn't really have time to go hunting for them in my cupboard (I'm sure I had some somewhere) as I was making two other dishes at the same time and I wasn't sure whether I wanted the crunch of nuts in the lasagne in any case. It was fine to use parmesan as my boyfriend's mum does eat it (not all parmesan is actually vegetarian as it uses rennet but some people don't eat meat because they don't like it, not for ethical reasons).
For the version that I made, you need:
50g parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)
50g breadcrumbs (I used dried)
2 x 350g packets prepared sweet potato and butternut squash
pinch of salt
12 lasagne sheets
for the sauce:
squeeze of ginger puree or 2cm piece fresh ginger, grated
400g ricotta cheese
2 egg yolks
pinch of grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
I bought these packets of butternut squash and sweet potato from Tesco; they were 2 for £2 and saved me a lot of time. Bring to the boil in a pan of salted water and simmer until tender.
Meanwhile make the white sauce. Finely grate the parmesan and mix in a bowl with the ricotta, ginger, egg yolks, nutmeg and salt. I then stirred in the milk to make a thick white sauce.
When the butternut squash and sweet potato is cooked, drain and mash. Season to taste. I also recommend pre cooking your lasagne sheets for a few minutes in a pan of water even if the packet says no precooking is necessary, as there isn't much liquid in this dish.
I used a small square roasting tin with high sides; four lasagne sheets were enough to cover the base (which I had sprayed with Fry Light). Spread 1/3 of the butternut squash and sweet potato mixture over the top, cover with 1/3 of the cheese mixture and another layer of lasagne sheets until you have used all the vegetables and the sauce.
Not a great photo but trust me this tastes really good.
Mix the 50g grated parmesan and the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top.
Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes. Serve with green vegetables, or salad, or garlic bread.
You can see how the cheese sauce has thickened; I think having the egg in it makes it cook whereas I would have preferred a more runny sauce. This was very tasty though and definitely a good idea for a vegetarian lasagne.
I'd already decided to make this when I saw that the theme for this month's Pasta Please was vegetarian lasagne, which is good timing! So I am sending this to Lisa at Food and Spice who is hosting the challenge this month on behalf of Jacqueline at Tinned Tomatoes.