An often-heard complaint among vegetarians is that restaurants offer very little originality in their vegetarian fare, a meatless lasagna being among one of the more trite options. I don’t mind so much, as lasagna is usually quite enjoyable. I realize that there is already a vegetarian lasagna on this blog (over here) and for a more wintry version I will direct you to Jonge Sla’s scrumptious pumpkin lasagna (in Dutch), but this is a rather ‘quick and easy’ version, made with what happened to be available in my fridge, compared to the one where I have you skin bell peppers. It resembles meat lasagna quite well, thanks to the tomato and bechamel sauce. Suited for freezing as well!
Ingredients (makes 4-5 servings):
one big or two medium-sized onions, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped1 zucchini, chopped in small pieces
5 tablespoons of small orange lentils (the kind you can put in soup as well)
white wine, for cooking
500 grams of diced tomatoes (canned or in brig)
Provencal herbs mix, salt and pepper
45 grams of butter
45 grams of flour
0,8 liters of milk
block of Parmesan cheese and grate (or grated cheese)
8-10 lasagna sheets
Heat some olive oil in a large saucepan on medium fire. Add the onion and fry for a few minutes, until tender. Add the garlic, fry for another minute. Add the zucchini and season with Provencal herbs (don’t be frugal here), salt and pepper. Stir regularly. When the zucchini starts to get tender, add lentils and cover with a lid for a few minutes. Add a good swig of white wine, cover again for a few minutes (check regularly so it doesn’t burn). Add diced tomatoes, another swig of white wine and some herbs/salt/pepper, turn the fire down, cover with lid, and stir every now and then. The zucchini and lentils should slowly become completely tender. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
In another saucepan, make the bechamel sauce: melt the butter on medium fire and add the flour. Stir together with a wooden spoon and let it ‘bake’ for a few minutes, until it starts to smell a bit like cookies. Be careful that it doesn’t burn, this will ruin the taste of your sauce (better start again if this happens). Add milk and use a whisk to stir vigorously, until the butter-flour mixture is completely dissolved. Let it heat on medium fire, whisking regularly, until the sauce starts to thicken and bubble. Season with nutmeg and salt, then turn off the fire. Make sure you keep whisking for a while so it doesn’t burn.
Scoop 1/4 of the tomato sauce into a baking dish (mine is 25 x 25 cm), ladle over 1/4 of the bechamel sauce. Sprinkle with a thin layer of Parmesan. Cover with lasagne sheets and repeat 3 more times. Add a thick layer of Parmesan and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Let the dish rest for 10 minutes, then enjoy!