This is one of the most delicious vegan lasagne I have ever tasted! It may be a little time consuming, but it is so worth it! For colour and taste, I use two different types of lasagne, one with spinach and one plain, but this is not necessary. However, do select fresh produce for this recipe, as it will make all the difference. The béchamel can be made with other plant based milks, but using soy milk will yield the best result.
Tomato, Leek & Spinach Lasagne With Fresh Basil & Nutmeg
For the tomato sauce:
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 white onions, finely chopped
4 leeks, white part only, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
5 large tomatoes, finely chopped
1 340g jar of passata
2tbsp tomato paste
2tbsp vegetable stock powder
1/2tsp freshly ground black pepper
1tsp onion powder
1tsp maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
150g fresh baby leaf spinach
25g fresh basil, roughly chopped
1tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the béchamel sauce:
8 heaped tbsp vegan butter (use non-hydrogenated or homemade)
8 heaped tbsp white Spelt flour*
1lt unsweetened soy milk, warmed
1tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1tsp vegetable stock powder
1/4tsp white pepper
1bsp nutritional yeast
To put together:
12 sheets white lasagne
8 sheets green spinach lasagne
Some boiling hot water
1 oiled rectangular ovenproof dish, About 35 x 25 x 10cm (min 7cm deep)
Some basil leaves and some crumbled vegan feta for serving (optional)
🍅 Preheat the oven at 180C.
🍅 In a large deep pan, heat the vegetable broth. Add the onions and the leeks and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook gently for about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and continue to sauté for another minute.
🍅 Add the tomatoes. Raise the heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the passata, the tomato paste, the vegetable stock powder, the salt, the pepper, the onion powder and the maple syrup. Stir everything in and continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
🍅 Throw in the spinach and turn off the heat. Allow the spinach to wilt into the tomato sauce and finally stir in the basil and the parsley. Set aside.
🍅 For the béchamel, first make a roux. Melt the butter in a medium deep pan. Add the flour and cook over very low heat for a couple of minutes. Gradually pour in the warmed milk and use a whisk to incorporate with the butter and flour, making sure no lumps remain. Continue whisking over low-medium heat, until the béchamel begins to thicken. Add the nutmeg, the vegetable stock powder, the salt, the pepper and the nutritional yeast and mix. When it resembles a thick custard, it’s ready. Set aside.
🍅 Place a large oven tray over the hob, add boiling water to the rim and keep it simmering very gently. Add 4 white sheets of lasagne and 4 green and let them soak for 2 minutes.**
🍅 Using tongs, lift the 4 white sheets out of the water and lay them flat into your baking dish. They may slightly overlap, depending on their size. Ladle a couple of spoonfuls of the tomato sauce and spread over the lasagne. Then spoon a couple of spoonfuls of the béchamel on top, spreading everything evenly. Next, layer the 4 green sheets of lasagne and repeat the process. Continue with another 3 layers, alternating the green and white sheets and finishing with the white, reserving a good portion of tomato sauce and béchamel, to spoon over the top layer. Finally, with a spoon, lightly swirl the béchamel and the tomato sauce together, to create a pretty pattern.
🍅 Bake for 40-50 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving. If you like, sprinkle some crumbled feta and a few basil leaves over each plate.
*I find that Spelt flour works best for the béchamel. It tends to absorb more liquid, creating a lush, thick consistency. However, plain flour or gluten free flour will work nicely too.
**I have concluded that even the precooked lasagne need soaking for a couple of minutes, before assembly, or they end up chewy. I used to put them in a deep pan of boiling water, but found that method fiddly, as the tend to stick together, over cook and break into pieces. Using a flat shallow tray instead is perfect, because the sheets lay flat, without sticking, or over cooking in the small quantity of water.