Sheila’s Lasagne

I’m a pasta girl from way back. One of my favourite breakfast meals growing up was left over spaghetti bolognaise on toast. Really anything on toast is pretty good, but pasta on toast, thats some next level shit.

I love napolitano, creamy fettuccini, spicy linguini, dear god macaroni and of course, lasagne. Lasagne is like the Mufasa of all the pasta dishes, ruling over the Pridelands of pasta.

Lasagne makes you feel happy, full and always wanting more.

So of course I had to make a vegan lasagne. More importantly, meat eaters had to approve.I didn’t want a ‘healthy’ vegan lasagne, made with eggplant and vegetables like so many recipes on the inter webs. Screw that. I wanted meaty, creamy pasta layers that were as indulgent as I had remembered. It’s only early vegan day’s for me, I still love all the fake meat and I’m having a freakin ball exploring all the vegan food options.

So I begun my noble quest to make a vegan lasagne that could cut it in a meat eaters world. No zucchini and shit.

My first trial was a few months back when my brother and his girlfriend visited. I begun experimenting and unfortunately, they got the first trial. Look, it wasn’t a failure, but it wasn’t the best. I believe that was before I has discovered cashew cream so…. yeah, enough said.20161121-1953695612

Now I’ve got it aced. My meat eating partner and I fought over the last piece. That’s a good sign.

Now on a side note, there’s a question I get asked a lot, “Doesn’t it cost so much more to eat vegan”? The answer is yes and no. If you are eating a whole foods plant based diet, with shit tins of fruit and veg, then no. It works out about the same, if not cheaper to eat this way. You can’t really argue this one, some of the cheapest food in the world is rice, beans and potatoes, all staples of mine. BUT….. If you’re making things like vegan lasagne and you want it to be similar to a dairy and meat laden version, that’s where it can get expensive.

You have to buy things you may never have heard of like nutritional yeast, veggie roasts, tofu, vegan cheeses and bulk cashews. These items can be expensive. Yes, once you buy them they last a while, but imitating meat and dairy isn’t cheap sometimes. Personally I don’t mind buying these items, it’s not like I make this kind of lasagne every week. I’m still transitioning from over 26 years of eating meat and dairy – so I still crave my old favourites. Thank the lord I can still have my old favourites – just veganified!

So here you are, Sheila’s lasagne that will please everyone!


Ingredients

1 375g Family packet San Remo durum wheat oven ready Lasagna Sheets

2-3 cups vegan cheese, grated.

savoury-mince-stuff
Hello vegie meats I love you!

3 Tbsps. chopped fresh parsley

For the ‘meat’ filling:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. dried oregano

1 Tbsp. dried rosemary

1 onion

3 cloves garlic

1 can whole peeled tomatoes

140g tomato paste

700g tomato passata

1 Tbsp. Vegeta Gourmet Stock

2 cups boiling water

2 Tbsps. dried lentils (I used red nugget but any will do)

2 squares dark chocolate

6 fresh basil leaves finely chopped

savoury-yeast-flakes
Lotus Savoury Yeast Flakes, food of the vegan gods.

1/2 of a Vegie Delights Vegie Roast

1/2 can Vegie Delights Casserole Mince in Gravy

1/3 of a packet of Vegie Delights Savoury Vege Mince

salt to taste

For the Cashew cream;

300g cashews

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1/3 cup Savoury Yeast Flakes (nutritional yeast)

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 tsp. horseradish

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups hot water

300g silken tofu


Directions

For the Sauce:

  1. In a saucepan over medium heat add olive oil, all dried herbs, diced onion and finely chopped garlic cloves. Cook until nice and brown, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add can of tomatoes, squishing them so they open. Then add tomato paste, tomato passata, Vegeta, water, and lentils. Bring to boil. Once boiling turn down to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  3. Simmer until reduced by approximately one quarter, or until lentils are soft, about 30-40 mins.
  4. Chuck the Veggie Roast and Savoury Vege Mince into food processor. *Process until even crumbly texture is achieved.
  5. Add all remaining ingredients to the saucepan; the finely chopped basil, chocolate and all Vegie meats including casserole mince.
  6. Stir for another 10-15 minutes, salting as needed.

 *Note: If you don’t have a processor, just chop the shit outta the veggie roast into really, really small pieces.

 

food-processor
Processed Savoury Mince and Vegie Roast

For the Cashew Cream:

  1. Add all ingredients to *high powered blender and blend the bejesus out of them until a smooth creamy texture is achieved, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. Adjust seasoning to personal taste. Sometimes I add extra nutritional yeast…yes… I like to live dangerously.

*Note: I tried to make cashew cream in my food processor one time and it turned out like a dead ball sack. You really need a high powered blender for this, like a Vitamix.

Layering:

layering
Layer evenly so no pasta shows through

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Lightly grease a lasagne tray and add a layer of pasta to the bottom.
  3. Then add a layer of meat filling, then a layer of cashew cream. *Continue on in this order until all ingredients are used.
  4. Finish on top with a layer of meat filling, cashew cream then **vegan cheese.
  5. Chuck your little baby in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
  6. Once cooked, cover with fresh parsley, let rest for 15-20 minutes, and serve.

*Note: I like a lot of pasta with thinner layers of the filling so I generally use the whole family packet of pasta. I know everyone’s different so layer as per your style.

**Note: I need to write a whole blog on vegan cheeses. Long story short, I have found the Daiya cheese range to be the best. Daiya mozzarella goes especially well with this Lasagne. Sydney was apparently having a Daiya shortage when I was cooking this, so I settled for the ‘Simply Better Foods’ Soy Cheese, which you can find at Coles. To be honest it’s not the best vegan cheese and definitely not my first or even second choice. Sometimes you just gotta settle for what you can get your hands on.


Well there you have it! Pretty simple to make if you have all the gear – let me know how you go if you decide to make this beast of a lasagne!

I will be making this again at Christmas I reckon, so I can just take a piece with me to every barbeque and family feast we have. Yep…I’m a smart one. Forward thinker. Vegan genius.

 

full-lasagne
This Babies large enough to serve approx. 9 people

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