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Published March 23rd 2013
What should you cook when vegetarians come to call?
This makes a quick and delicious dinner when vegetarian guests come to call – or it's a treat you can make for yourself if you fancy a meat-free evening. I often make a meaty lasagne alongside it to keep the cattle-munchers in my house happy – if you're doing that, simply double the quantities for the béchamel sauce and you can use it for both dishes.
Quick and easy vegetarian lasagne
Butternut squashes can seem a daunting chopping prospect to the uninitiated but I find roasting it in its skin before you cut it up makes it much easier to handle. Leave it to cool for a little once you've removed it from the oven, otherwise you'll need asbestos hands to chop it up!
Vegetarian lasagne recipe
You'll need an ovenproof dish, measuring 30 x 20cm.
75g/ 3oz butter 75g/ 3oz flour 750ml/ 1 ¼ pint semi-skimmed milk Small pinch of salt Grated nutmeg
Melt the butter in a saucepan then stir in the flour. Slowly stir in the milk, in small quantities, and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Turn down the heat, then stir slowly until the sauce starts to thicken and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Season with salt and grated nutmeg to taste.
How to make vegetarian lasagne: Vegetable sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 butternut squash
1 red pepper
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic
500g/ 20oz button mushrooms
Handful of cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
300g light cream cheese
Small glug of red wine
Sprinkling of fresh thyme
50g/ 2oz grated cheddar cheese
8-10 lasagne sheets
Put the red pepper and butternut squash on a baking tray and roast in a hot oven for about 40 minutes.
Soak the lasagne sheets in boiling water, two or three at a time, in the dish you'll be using for your lasagne. Remove each sheet after five minutes and lay out on kitchen paper.
A slice of vegetarian lasagne with butternut squash, red pepper and mushrooms
Remove roasted butternut squash and red pepper from the oven, once the skins are nicely browned. Put the red pepper in a plastic bag for a few moments and turn your attention to the squash. The skin should peel off quite easily. Chop the flesh into small chunks – about 1.5cm cubes. Remove the pepper from the bag. The skin should be quite easy to remove. Remove the stalk – most of the seeds should come with it, then chop into squares, slightly smaller than the squash. Heat the oil in a saucepan on a medium heat and fry the onion and garlic until transparent. Add the squash and the pepper. Cut the mushrooms in half and add them as well. Cook for about five minutes, then add the cherry tomatoes and the tomato puree. Reduce for another five minutes. Stir in the cream cheese and then add the red wine and thyme.
Layer the vegetable mixture on the bottom of the dish, followed by the lasagne sheets. Spread the béchamel sauce on top. Repeat the layers for a second time, then top the béchamel with a layer of grated cheddar cheese. Bake in the oven at 180C/ Gas 6 for 40 minutes until golden.