Throughout my years as a blogger, my most constant and best source of inspiration has been other bloggers. As much as I love my cookbooks, my food magazines and my Saturday morning cooking shows, I love to see what other people are making in their own homes as part of their own busy, real lives. It feels much more accessible than a glossy mag with amazing recipes, but the sort you’re only really going to save for dinner parties and special occasions.
One blogger I have followed for years is Jack Monroe. Cooking on a Bootstrap (formerly A Girl Called Jack) is a blog equally as well known for its political commentary and stance on food poverty as well delicious and affordable recipes. A few weeks ago Jack posted ‘The Ultimate Lasagne’, a vegan recipe which inspired me and spurred me on to make this vegetarian version as part of my meat-free January challenge.
If you’re committing to a vegan diet then go and check out Jack’s recipe. However cutting out dairy isn’t a priority for me, so I adapted it, made my own version and used my preferred cheese sauce recipe. I made a really nice big portion of this so I could add some veggie dishes to my stock of homemade ready meals in the freezer. This turned out to be a really good hearty meal which is just what I was looking for and I’ll definitely be making it again even when I’m not sticking to the vegetarianism. Serve this with a simple rocket salad dressed with a little lemon juice.
8-10 wholemeal lasagne sheets
For the ‘mince’:
1 red onion, finely diced
6 garlic cloves, finely diced
400g mushrooms, finely chopped
150g red lentils, rinsed
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp tomato purée
100ml red wine
400g tinned tomatoes
1 tbsp gravy granules
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp coconut oil
For the cheese sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tsp mustard
Salt and pepper
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Generous handful of grated mozzarella
1. In a large pan on a medium heat, melt the coconut oil and start to sauté the onions and garlic.
2. Add the rinsed lentils, oregano and tomato purée to the pan and mix thoroughly, cook for a further three minutes.
3. Pour in the wine and tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil. When boiling reduce to a simmer.
4. Add the mushrooms and gravy granules. Give it all a stir and leave to simmer while you make the white sauce.
5. In another saucepan on a low-medium heat gently melt the butter and the flour, stirring to combine. Add a splash of the milk and stir to combine.
6. Continue adding a splash of milk, fully combining each time before adding more. Doing it slowly this way may seem a little laborious will ensure your sauce doesn‘t get lumpy.
7. When the sauce has come together, season generously with salt and pepper and whisk in the mustard and the nutmeg.
8. Turn the oven on to 180ºC while you assemble the lasagne.
9. In a large dish spread a layer of the ‘mince’ across the bottom. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets followed by a layer of cheese sauce. Repeat again finishing on a layer of cheese sauce. Sprinkle over the grated mozzarella.
10. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
11. Leave to rest for a couple of minutes before cutting into 6-8 portions. If you’re freezing any of the portions pack them into airtight containers and make sure they’re fully cooled before putting them in the freezer.