Lentil and Mushroom Lasagne is a delicious comforting pasta dish perfect for a tasty weekend dinner. Made with a rich mushroom and lentil ragu, a bechamel sauce and all the cheese, this is vegetarian comfort food at its best!
A veggie lasagne is classic comfort food, and you should have at least one good recipe in your armour when you go veggie! My roasted vegetable lasagne was one of the very first recipes I learned how to cook.
This lentil and mushroom lasagne is a tried and tested recipe and is another family favourite, it does take a bit longer to make but it is totally worth it! You can make it ahead or freeze it and have it during the week.
The lentil and mushroom ragu is simmered for an hour to make a deliciously rich and flavourful filling. The lasagne is then layered with fresh pasta, bechamel sauce and cheddar cheese. Then it's finished with a top layer of bechamel sauce and all the cheese, to make a truly delicious veggie lasagne!
📝 What Do We Need
- Mushrooms - I use chestnut mushrooms for this recipe, for my US readers chestnut mushrooms are simimlar to crimini mushrooms. If you can't get brown mushrooms then regular button mushrooms will work best. I would avoid portabello mushrooms for this recipe.
- Lentils - you can use canned or cooked brown or green lentils for this. I use precooked puy lentils as it cuts down on time. You could also use red lentils if you wanted to.
- Cheese - There are three cheeses in this recipe, mature (sharp) cheddar, mozzarella and Pecorino cheese. Fresh mozzarella is best for this recipe.
- Lasagne sheets - I use fresh egg lasagne sheets for this lasagne. You can use dried lasagne sheets if you like, if you do I would cook them first though.
- Canned Tomatoes - You will need 2 cans of chopped (diced) tomatoes, try and get the best quality if you can, it really does make the difference.
- Extras - I add some extra ingredients to my ragu to enrich it. I add light soy sauce, balsamic vinger and Henderson's relish. If you can't find Henderson's relish then vegetarian Worcestershire sauce will work very well instead.
🥣 How To Make It
To Make The Ragu:
- Cook the onion, carrot and celery until soft, then add the garlic and herbs.
2. Add all the mushrooms along with a tablespoon of butter. Season and cook until they release their juices.
3. Add the chopped (diced) tomatoes, tomato puree (paste), soy sauce, Henderson's relish, balsamic vinegar and stir well. Then add the stock.
4. Pour the lentils into the sauce, stir well then add the bay leaves. Simmer for an hour stirring occasionally.
To Make The Bechamel:
1. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and whisk until you have a paste.
2. Slowly start whisking in the milk. Once all the milk has been added stir in salt, pepper and grated nutmeg.
To Make The Lasagne:
1. Spread some of the ragu on the base of your casserole dish, cover with lasagne sheets.
2. Pour more of the ragu over the pasta sheets, pour some of the bechamel sauce over the ragu. Sprinkle some of the cheddar over the bechamel then top with lasagne sheets. Repeat for another layer.
3. Finish with a layer of pasta, the remaining bechamel sauce, grated mozzarella, pecorino cheese and cheddar. Bake until the cheese is golden and the lasagne is bubbling at the edges. Leave to cool slightly before serving.
- Simmer - I know it seems like a long time but the ragu really needs to simmer for an hour. Giving it an hour will really help to develop those rich flavours you want to get from a ragu. This will also result in a sauce that is not too wet, you don't want your lasagne to be too sloppy!
- Use 3 Types of Cheese - mozzarella brings that lovely creamy melty gooeiness, mature (sharp) cheddar brings all the flavour and the peccorino adds even more flavour with some saltiness.
- Egg Pasta Sheets - using fresh egg lasagne sheets will give you smooth and silky pasta in your lasagne. If you want to use dried lasagne sheets I would definitley cook those first before using them.
- Let It Sit - for best reuslts leave your lasagne to sit for a little while when you take it out of the oven. Doing this will mean that the sauce can settle and the flavours can meld into each other a bit more.
- Make It Ahead - This is really great for making ahead, either the day before or in the morning and reheat it. Making it ahead will help develop the flavours even more. You could also make the ragu the day before if you are stuck for time.
📋 Variations and Substitutions
- Add more veg - you can easily add more vegetables to this. Slices of roasted red peppers or aubergine (eggplant) could easily be added to this, I would place them over the ragu before you add the bechamel sauce.
- Add some greens - if you wanted to you could add some baby spinach to the ragu at the end of cooking.
- Don't like lentils? - swap them for chickpeas! Chickpeas will also work very well in this recipe but the ragu will be a bit chunkier.
- Spice it up - I love adding some spices to my lasagne, a pinch of dried red chilli flakes really livens this up!
Yes, you can. This lasagne is great for freezing! Once the lasagne is cooked and cooled you can freeze it whole or freeze it in portions, I prefer to freeze portions. Pop the lasagne into freezer bags or containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating.
This lasagne will last for up to 3 days in the fridge. Just make sure you reheat it until it is piping hot.
It depends! If you use fresh egg lasagne sheets then you don't need to soften them. If you use dried lasagne sheets then I would soften those, just follow the instructions on the packet.
🍽 How To Serve It
It's best to let this lasagne sit for a little bit before you serve it. It will be piping hot when it comes out of the oven and will definitely be too hot to eat. The other thing about letting it sit for a while is that the sauce will settle and the cheese will firm up, giving you better layers. I usually serve this with garlic bread and a plain green salad. If we're really hungry I might serve some wedges on the side!
🍲 Tasty Comfort Food Ideas
If you're in need of more comfort food ideas then I have some great ideas for you! One of our favourite cosy dinners is this Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni, it's so easy to make and tastes amazing! Another family favourite is my Hearty Vegetarian Stew, this stew is deliciously rich and so tasty. If you fancy a comforting curry then my Chickpea and Lentil Curry is definitely worth a try.
Mushroom Lasagne with Lentils
For The Ragu
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium brown onion finely chopped
- 1 large carrot peeled then finely chopped
- 2 stalks of celery finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic put through a garlic press or finely minced
- ¼ tsp fennel seeds optional
- 2 heaped tsp dried oregano
- 1 level tsp dried parsley
- 1 tbsp butter
- 350 g (4 ¾ cups) of chestnut (brown) mushrooms sliced
- 2 x 400 g (2 x 14.5oz) cans of chopped (diced) tomatoes I usually add a little water to the cans, give them a swirl to catch any tomatoes left in the can and then add this to the pan.
- 2 tbsp tomato puree (paste)
- ½ tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 500 ml (2 ¼ cups) vegetable stock made with hot water and 1 vegetable stock cube
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- ½ tbsp Henderson's Relish or vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 250 g (3 cups) cooked puy lentils you can use green or brown canned lentils if you prefer
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For The Bechamel Sauce
- 60 g ( ½ a stick + 1 tsp) of butter
- 60 g (just under ½ a cup) of plain flour (all-purpose flour)
- 450 ml (2 cups of ) milk I use semi-skimmed milk
- ⅛ tsp sea salt
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
For The Lasagne
- 250 g fresh egg lasagne sheets I used 6 large sheets
- 150 g ( 1 x 5oz ) ball of fresh mozzarella grated
- 90 g (¾ of a cup) mature (sharp) cheddar cheese grated
- 25 g (¼ a cup) of Pecorino cheese (vegetarian hard Italian cheese) finely grated
To Make The Ragu
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan.Add the onion, carrot and celery along with a pinch of salt.Cook over medium to low heat for at least 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
- Once the onion mixture is soft add the garlic, a small pinch of fennel seeds (if using) 2 teaspoons of dried oregano and 1 level teaspoon of dried parsley. Stir the garlic and herbs into the onion mixture and cook for a minute.Now, add all the mushrooms along with a tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are soft and have released their juices. Stir the mushrooms often to make sure they are evenly cooked.Next pour in two cans of chopped tomatoes and stir well.Stir in two tablespoons of tomato puree and half a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.
- Next pour in the stock, add the lentils to the pan and stir everything together.Stir in half a tablespoon of Henderson's Relish and half a teaspoon of light soy sauce.Season with salt and pepper then drop two bay leaves into the stock.Reduce the heat and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes. Stir regularly to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
To Make The Bechamel Sauce
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour then stir until you have a smooth paste-like consistency.Slowly pour in some of the milk stirring all the time.Continue adding the milk until it has all been incorporated and you have a smooth thick sauce.Stir in the salt and pepper and a pinch of grated nutmeg.Set aside until you are ready to use it.
To Make The Lasagne
- Spread a small amount of the ragu on the base of your casserole dish.Place lasagne sheets over the ragu, to cover the sauce but not overlap too much.Spread half the ragu over the lasagne sheets.Sprinkle some grated cheese over the ragu. Then pour some of the bechamel sauce over the cheese. Top with lasagne sheets.Repeat for another layer.
- Finish the lasagne with a layer of lasagne sheets. Pour the remaining bechamel sauce over the pasta., Grate the mozzarella, pecorino and remaining cheddar over the bechamel.Bake in the oven at 170°C (335°F) Fan, 190°C (375°F) conventional oven, uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes. Turn the casserole dish once halfway through cooking.
- Once the top of the lasagne is golden and bubbling remove it from the oven and leave it to cool slightly before serving.
- Nutritional Information - is calculated using an online nutrition tool and is approximate. It is based on one serving of 6.
- Casserole Dish - my dish measured in at 18 x 27 cm and 6cm deep (11 x 7 inches and was 2 and a half inches deep).
- Freezing /Storing - any leftovers can be stored in the fridge once cooled then reheated until piping hot. They should be used within 3 days. I freeze this in individual portions stored in freezer bags, they should be defrosted overnight before being reheated until piping hot. Use within 3 months.
- Henderson's Relish - this is a relish found mostly in the UK. If you can't find this then vegetarian Worcestershire sauce will work instead.
- Lasagne sheets - I used fresh egg lasagne sheets, you can use dried pasta if you want, I would cook them first though.
- Lentils - I use shop-bought pre-cooked puy lentils. You can use canned lentils if you prefer.
- Dairy - all dairy is full-fat except for the milk which is semi-skimmed.
- Weights and measurements - For US readers, I use Cuisipro measuring cups and spoons, and a Pyrex measuring jug for liquids. These are the industry standard. Cup/spoon volumes can differ from brand to brand, for accuracy, I recommend weighing all ingredients, using a digital scale, if possible for best results.