Updated: Feb 15
Lasagne is one of my favourite Italian dishes, it always brings a smile to my face. This vegetarian version can easily compete with meat equivalent thanks to a combination of flavours and textures. To make the filling I picked Adzuki beans as their size blends perfectly with lentils and other diced vegetables like onions, peppers and aubergine.
Another amazing thing when it comes to this dish that it is a lot lighter too, making you feel less guilty after eating it :)
What are Adzuki beans?
Adzuki beans are mainly cultivated in East Asia especially in Japan and China, they are small, slightly bigger than a green pea and come in a variety of different colours. Commonly used in a variety of dishes ranging from sweet to savoury. For this recipe, I use a purple variety. You should find them in your local supermarket. If using fresh remember that they need soaking before boiling.
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This recipe makes 6 portions of Lasagne
Ingredients for Lasagne:
250g (8.2oz) fresh lasagne pasta (if using dry pasta add extra water to the filling and the white sauce)
100g (3.5oz) brown lentils boiled in stock for 40 minutes
250g (8.2oz) cooked Adzuki beans (you can buy canned in the supermarket)
1 small aubergine, small dice
1 red pepper, small dice
1 medium carrot, small dice
1 celery stick, small dice
2 banana shallots, small dice
5 garlic cloves minced
a handful of fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, basil) finely chopped
400g (14.1oz) of chunky tomato sauce
1,5tbsp tomato concentrate puree
3tbsp of balsamic vinegar
3tbsp of oil for frying vegetables
1 tomato sliced for the topping
salt and black pepper to taste
Ingredients for the cheese sauce:
500ml (0.53quarts) of milk (600ml if using dry pasta)
50g (1.76oz) plain flour
50g (1.76oz) butter
150g (5.3oz) of mature cheddar
50g (1.76oz) of Edam cheese
1/2tsp of mustard
pinch of nutmeg
salt and black pepper to taste
Instructions for cheese sauce:
1. Pour 500ml of milk into a small pot and place it over medium heat. Bring it slowly to simmer then reduce the temperature to low (add extra 100ml of milk if using dry pasta).
2. While waiting for the milk to heat up, prepare a roux. In the separate pan melt 50g of butter and add 50g of flour. Mix it together into a paste then cook on a low heat until starts to brown.
3. Once ready whisk roux into the milk until it thickens. Next, add Cheddar and Edam cheese, whisk until incorporated.
4. Season with 1/2tsp of mustard, a pinch of nutmeg, black pepper and salt to taste. Remove from the heat ready for later.
Instructions for Lasagne:
1. Begin by frying diced vegetables over medium heat with 3tbsp of oil. First, sweat the diced onions for 5 minutes.
2. Increase temperature to high and add carrots, celery and garlic, then cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Add peppers, aubergine and continue until cooked through (You may need to add 1tbsp of extra oil at this point)
4. Season with salt, black pepper, chopped herbs and 3tbsp of balsamic vinegar.
5. Add cooked Adzuki beans, lentils, chunky tomato sauce and concentrate (if using dry pasta add extra 100ml of water at this point). Once starts to simmer, reduce the temperature and check the seasoning.
6. Preheat the oven to 165C (302F) and begin Lasagne assembling, for this recipe I use 25cm Pyrex dish.
7. In the dish place layer of the vegetable filling, layer of pasta, layer of cheese sauce covered with another layer of pasta and repeat twice resulting in 3 layers of each filling. Place sliced tomatoes on the top and dust them with black pepper and salt.
8. Bake lasagne for 40 minutes and once ready allow set for 10 minutes before serving (if using dried pasta increase the baking time to 50 minutes) You can also increase the temperature for last 5 minutes to get better browning on the top.
9. Serve with garlic bread and spinach.
Check useful equipment for this recipe: