So a friend and I are trying to find the best vegetarian lasagne.
I’ve cooked a lot of vegetarian lasagne before, but they’re usually a vegetarian bean-based bolognaise sauce turned into a lasagne filling… not exactly inventive. And why go to the effort of making lasagne from a bolognaise sauce I could just put on top of pasta?
So I decided to try out Jamie Oliver’s Summer Veg Lasagne. If you’re not familiar with the concept, Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals cookbook provides you with an entrée or salad course, a main and a dessert that can all be made in 30 minutes. The Panzanella Salad I posted recently was the salad that accompanied the Summer Veg Lasagne.
Again, my disclaimer regarding Jamie Oliver’s recipes apply… He makes this dish differently in the book and on the 30-Minute Meals television show. He once again used ingredients that I prefer not be present in my food, namely the anchovies (again) and the cottage cheese, so I mixed in a few different things and made my own cheesy topping.
I have to rate this in my top five favourite vegetarian lasagnes. My guinea pig friend on the other hand discovered that he’s actually not at all fond of broad beans… so if you don’t like broad, this is not the lasagne for you.
Summer Vegetarian Lasagne
- 1 bunch spring onions
- 6 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 700g asparagus (rinsed, sliced into small bits; tips left whole and set aside)
- 500g frozen peas
- 300g frozen broad beans
- Large bunch of fresh mint (chopped finely)
- 400 ml of single cream (divided into 300ml and 100 ml)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 300 ml of vegetable stock (or chicken stock if you don’t follow a vegetarian diet)
- 250g ricotta
- 200g grated cheese (I used a mozzarella/cheddar blend)
- 500g fresh lasagne sheets
- Parmesan cheese (to grate between layers)
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme)
- 2 tablespoons of oil
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
A large roasting pan that is suitable for using on both a stovetop and the oven is required.
- Set the grill on high.
- Place the whole asparagus tips into a bowl, season with thyme, salt and olive oil and set aside.
- Add the oil to a frying pan over high heat. When hot, add the asparagus slices and chopped spring onions. Stir and season with salt and pepper.
- Add the garlic and lemon zest. Stir to combine and then add ¼ cup of hot water.
- Add the frozen peas, frozen broad beans, mint, 300ml of cream and chicken stock to the asparagus mixture. Stir to combine.
- Cover and bring to the boil, then remove the lid and allow to simmer for five minutes.
- Add the ricotta and stir. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
- While the filling is simmering, mash about half of it with a potato masher to release a more vegetable taste and to slightly thicken the sauce.
- Place a roasting pan on the stovetop over a burner set to high heat. When it’s hot, add one quarter of the asparagus mixture.
- Add a layer of fresh lasagne sheets on top, followed by some parmesan cheese.
- Continue to layer the filling, lasagne sheets and parmesan cheese another two times, ending with a layer of lasagne sheets.
- Add another ¼ cup of hot water around the edges and turn the heat up to bit more so it all starts bubbling. Push down slightly so that some of the liquid seeps through to the top of last lasagne sheet layer.
- While the lasagne is bubbling away on the stove top, mix the grated cheese and remaining cream in a bowl. Add the cheese and cream mixture to the top of the lasagne and spread evenly, and then top with the asparagus tips.
- Place the roasting pan under the grill to gratinate for approximately ten minutes.
- Remove when the cheese and cream mixture is golden brown and serve with a non-soggy salad.