Vegan Mushroom Lasagne: Serves 4
When my eldest left home for university I paced the house unsure of where to find him. He returned one Christmas a vegetarian with an interest in becoming vegan. We love our big family Christmas get togethers and some of our beloved family members have developed various foods which they love or avoid so it’s a great big Christmas variety with the British classics as well as some less orthodox additions which work as main dishes for some and sides for others. This way we please everyone and can enjoy some new flavors without missing out on old favorites. And most importantly welcoming back those who have home left with foods they can enjoy.
I’m looking forward to sharing some of those with you now.
Firstly this delicious vegan mushroom lasagne! I double this quantity at Christmas and add generous amounts of truffle salsa (and no cheese) to the recipe. It is a real favorite with the whole family including those who have no idea that it is vegan! Puy lentils, you may already know, are the champagne of the lentil world. Their nutty and peppery flavour ensure you will not miss meat in this recipe.
FIRST, THE MIREPOIX
1 Onion finely chopped
1 Garlic clove minced
2 Celery sticks finely chopped
1 Carrot finely chopped
250g Puy lentils
1 Tin chopped tomatoes
Small handful of ground dried mushrooms (porcini) ground or 1 tablespoon bought mushroom powder
Small glass vegan red wine
200 ml mushroom stock or mushroom glaze
Handful chopped parsley
1 tsp Black truffle salsa (optional addition for more of an event)
FOR THE ROUX or BÉCHAMEL SAUCE
Shop bought vegan béchamel sauce or:
50 ml Olive oil
1 Heaped tbsp flour
500ml vegan milk substitute of your choice – I use almond or hazelnut milk
Vegan cheese if using (I prefer not if I’m using truffle in the recipe)
Salt to taste
Pack of vegan lasagne sheets
Preheat the oven or toaster over to 350 degrees
Start by briefly heating a heavy based sauté pan on a low to medium heat. Add olive oil to the pan. When warm, add the rest of the mirepoix ingredients and sauté until the onion looks soft.
Now there are three alternative methods which can next be employed. Firstly you can buy Puy lentils ready cooked, or the dried Puy lentils can be boiled separately with some minced garlic in water for 30 mins and added to the final cooked mix, or the dried Puy lentils can be cooked together with the other ingredients in the pan therefore saving on the washing up.
Using the latter method, add the Puy lentils to the mirepoix ingredients in the pan and stir. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes to the pan and turn up the heat a little until it bubbles then simmer. Add the bay leaf, dried mushroom powder, red wine and mushroom stock. Stir well. Cook, gently bubbling, until the Puy lentils have softened (about 20 to 30 mins) adding extra water if the mixture is too dry.
Turn off the heat. You can stir the truffle salsa into the mix at this point if using (the more the yummier) Add the parsley and put the lid on.
You can buy a vegan roux (béchamel) sauce if you prefer.
To make the roux sauce, heat a sauce pan with the olive oil gently on a low heat quickly adding the flour before the oil is too hot and mixing with a spoon to a smooth consistency-the roux. Cook this on a a very low heat for three to five minutes to get rid of the rawness of the flour but keep stirring throughout, this can easier burn. Turn off the heat. Slowly mix in the milk to the roux stirring or whisking all the while. When all the milk is blended smoothly into the roux mix turn up the heat and gradually bring to the boil. Keep stirring during this process until the sauce thickens to a good consistency and glossy appearance. At this stage you can add some vegan cheese if you like. I think a little of the powdered mushroom or a spoonful of mushroom glaze added to the sauce gives a little more oomph to the overall to the dish.
Now to put the whole thing together, firstly place a layer of the dried or fresh lasagne sheets directly onto the base of your lasagne dish to cover the bottom. Place a layer of the Puy sauce on top of that fully covering it but not too thick. Then a layer of lasagne sheets to cover followed by sauce mixture to just cover the sheets of lasagne. Again, not too thick but don’t be stingy here either. Top this with lasagne sheets and keep going with alternate layers until one last béchamel sauce layer on the top. You can sprinkle this with a light powder of smoked paprika (pretty colouring and tasty) then pop in the oven.
The lasagne will be golden brown when cooked, 30 to 45 minutes. Allow it to sit for a few minute so it is not too hot, then serve!
This goes well in the summer with a salad or garlicky green beans and grilled pumpkin in the winter.