This Vegetarian lasagne is packed with flavour, it's rich and creamy, tasty and comforting. The best kind of veggie comfort food. Perfect for making ahead and having in your freezer. Cook it at the weekend then have it during the week.
This vegetarian lasagne has a rich tomato sauce with a hint of red wine and a hint of heat from the chilli flakes. Not enough for the kids to notice mind, just enough to add a little extra oomph to the sauce. If you'd like a milder, alcohol-free lasagne then check out my Mushroom Lasagne, another family favourite!
I used portabello mushrooms, courgettes and roasted peppers for the filling. You could change that up a bit if you like, more mushrooms work really well as does roasted aubergine.
The white sauce is thick and creamy, with extra cheesiness from the mature cheddar. You can leave the cheese out if you wish but I recommend leaving it in, this is pure comfort food, definitely not diet food. I went all out with the mozzarella, well what is a good lasagne if it is not cheesy and creamy.
How to Make It
- Make the tomato sauce. You'll need to start with this first so it can simmer down to a thick gloopy sauce. Cook up the onion, celery, and carrot until soft then add the garlic and chilli flakes.
- Turn up the heat now and add the wine. Let the wine cook off for a minute or two then add the passata, bay leaf, pepper, and salt. Turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer until it has reduced by a third and is nice and thick. Once it is nice and thick then add the fresh basil, remove the bay leaf. Set the sauce aside until you are ready to assemble your lasagne.
- Next, make the white sauce. Melt butter in a saucepan add the flour and stir until you have a paste. Slowly whisk in the milk. Once all the milk has been added and you have a thick white sauce bring to the boil then reduce to a slow simmer. Stir in the mustard, pepper, and grated nutmeg. Then turn off the heat and stir in the grated cheddar cheese. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the lasagne.
- Now we're ready to make the lasagne! Pour a ladle of the tomato sauce into a casserole dish. Using the back of the ladle spread the sauce all around the bottom of the casserole dish.
- Then place a couple of sheets of lasagne on top of the sauce. I usually cut up a sheet of lasagne to fill in any edges.
- Veggies at the ready! Start with the courgettes. I don't cook these but if you want you could griddle them. Make sure they are sliced lengthways and are not to thick and not too thin. Cover the lasagne sheets with one layer of courgettes.
- Next, add the mushrooms and roasted peppers. I use large portobello mushrooms, sliced. I also use a jar of roasted red peppers, remove these from the jar and give them a wipe with some kitchen paper to get rid of any excess oil. Cut these into slices too and place on top of the courgette with the mushrooms.
- Spread a ladle of tomato sauce over the vegetables. Again use the back of the ladle to spread the sauce. Next, add about a third of the white sauce over the tomato sauce. You don't need to spread the white sauce out just leave it as is. Add a layer of lasagne sheets over that then repeat for one more layer.
- Finally, pour the remaining white sauce over the last sheet of lasagne. Top with grated mozzarella and back in the oven until the sauce is bubbling up and the cheese is golden brown.
- Tomato Sauce - I haven't bought tomato sauce from a store for years. Making your own sauce for your lasagne is really the best way to go. In my very humble opinion there really is no sauce out there that compares to homemade sauce. To get the most out of your sauce make sure you spend the time on it, let it simmer slowly and stir it often so it doesn't burn. Adding herbs, wine and just a pinch of chilli makes for a rich and flavourful sauce. Your lasagne deserves it!
- White Sauce/Bechamel Sauce - The same thing applies to the white sauce for your lasagne, homemade is so much better. I use a whisk to make my sauce I find it gives me a smoother, less lumpy sauce. I always use full-fat milk and cheese and salted real butter to make my sauce. A good sharp mature cheddar cheese works best here.
- Lasagne Sheets - Fresh egg lasagne sheets are my go-to lasagne sheets for this lasagne. You can cook them if you wish. I have made this with fresh lasagne, with dried wheat lasagne and with whole wheat lasagne sheets. All work very well but if I had to pick one it would always be the fresh egg pasta.
- Cheese - As with the milk and cheese for the white sauce, the mozzarella I use is also full-fat. Yes, there is a lot but hey this is comfort food. You can reduce the amount if you want.
- The Lasagne - Because of the high water content of the courgette/zucchini, you may find the lasagne a little watery at the bottom when you cut into it. If you want to avoid this you could griddle/grill the courgettes before you add them to the lasagne.
- Serving - I always let my lasagne sit for a bit after it comes out of the oven. It's usually piping hot anyway, but leaving it to sit for 10 minutes will let your lasagne settle.
Making Ahead and Storing
You can make both sauces ahead of time. The tomato sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance. I wouldn't add the fresh basil though I would add it just before making the lasagne. The white sauce can be made 2 days ahead, this is due to the milk in the sauce.
Keep both sauces covered in the fridge once they have cooled down. You can reheat them both (in separate pans) on the hob before you make the lasagne. Like all good lasagne, this vegetarian lasagne is even better the next day. So keep it in the fridge once cooled then reheat in the oven for 20 minutes. If you want to freeze your lasagne please follow the steps below.
How To Freeze Your Vegetarian Lasagne:
- To freeze the whole lasagne - make sure you use a dish that is suitable for freezing. Assemble the lasagne then leave it to cool completely. Do not cook it. Cover and label the lasagne before you put it in the freezer. Use within one month. Defrost fully before cooking. Cook in a preheated oven, 180 C / 356 C for 40 minutes or until bubbling and the cheese is golden brown.
- Freezing leftovers - leave the lasagne to cool completely. Divide leftovers into portion sizes then put them into individual freezer bags or small food boxes, label and place in the freezer, use within one month. Defrost completely before cooking. Cook in a preheated oven 180 C / 356 F for 30 minutes or until it is bubbling and cooked through. The silver and cardboard takeaway style boxes are great for individual portions as you can just pop them in the oven, if using freezer bags transfer the lasagne to an ovenproof dish before cooking.
How To Serve It
We usually have this veggie lasagne with a green salad or with some tasty garlic bread, this recipe from the BBC is one of our favourite garlic bread recipes. If you are feeling particularly hungry you could have it with some crispy baked wedges.
Need More Tasty Vegetarian Pasta Recipes?
We love pasta and I have quite a few favourites here on this blog, like my Creamy Red Pesto Pasta. Another family favourite is my Creamy Garlic Mushroom Pasta, if you love mushrooms you'll love this one! And if you like a good pasta bake then you'll love my Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Bake.
For the tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium white onion (180g) chopped
- 1 stalk of celery finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 medium carrot (80g) peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp fresh basil chopped
- ½ tbsp dried oregano
- ¼ tsp red chilli flakes
- 50 ml red wine
- 1 x 650g bottle of passata
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ tsp each of sea salt and ground black pepper
For the white sauce
- 50 g butter
- 50 g plain flour (all-purpose)
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
- 50 g mature cheddar cheese
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
For the lasagne
- 250 g fresh egg pasta lasagne sheets
- 5 or 6 large portobello mushrooms wiped clean then sliced
- 2 medium courgettes/zucchini sliced thinly lengthways
- 1 jar of roasted red bell peppers cut into quarters lengthways
- 250 g fresh mozzarella cheese grated
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and cook over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and cook for another 5 minutes. Next, add the garlic, red chilli flakes and dried oregano and cook for 1 minute.
- Now turn up the heat, pour in the wine. Stir it and let it bubble down for a few minutes.Finally, add the passata, the bay leaf, black pepper and salt then turn down the heat and let the sauce simmer until it has reduced by a third and is nice and thick.Stir in the fresh basil. Remove the bay leaf then set aside until you are ready to assemble the lasagne.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and stir until you have a roux. Slowly whisk in the milk. Once all the milk has been added and you have a thick white sauce bring to the boil then reduce to a slow simmer. Stir in the mustard and pepper.Turn off the heat then stir in the grated cheddar.Set aside until you are ready to assemble the lasagne.
Assemble the lasagne
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C, 356F. I use an electric fan assisted oven please adjust according to your own oven.
- Spread a serving spoon of tomato over the base of your casserole dish.Place the lasagne sheets over the sauce, then top that with half the courgette, followed by half the mushrooms and half the red pepper.
- Cover the vegetables with half the tomato sauce then pour over some of the white sauce. Top with sheets of lasagne then repeat. I had two layers.
- Pour the remaining white sauce over the last layer of pasta sheets then liberally spread the grated mozzarella over the top.
- Place the lasagne on the middle shelf of the oven and back for 40 - 45 minutes. The sauce should be bubbling and the cheese should be golden brown.
- Once the lasagne is done, leave it to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a green salad or/and garlic bread.
- Nutritional Information - is approximate and is calculated using an online nutrition tool. It does not include any side dishes such as garlic bread.
- Lasagne Sheets - I use fresh egg lasagne sheets, if you can't get fresh then the dried lasagne sheets will work well too. Just cook them slightly before you use them.
- Peppers - To save on time I use a small jar of roasted red peppers. I have often made this with char grilled pepper though. If you prefer this then you use your own roasted peppers.
- To char-grill red peppers - I set one whole pepper on a small gas ring on the stovetop over a high heat. Once one side is completely black and charred, after about 5 minutes, turn it over and repeat until the whole pepper is black and soft. Place the charred pepper in a bowl and cover with kitchen paper, leave to sit for about 5 minutes. Then with a knife scrape off the black skin. Remove the stem and slice the pepper into strips.
- Passata - If you can't find passata then two tins of chopped/diced tomatoes will work well too. Just break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon when cooking.
- Dish size - My casserole dish was 24cm x 24cm and 6cm deep.
*This recipe was first published on February 27th 2018 It has now been updated with new photos, a step by step guide, expert tips and more nutritional information.