This lasagna is definitely vegetarian and almost vegan, and you could easily make it vegan by replacing the milk with an alternative like soy milk or rice milk. I’m a committed meat-eater but this meal is lush – puy lentils have a lovely earthy flavour and keep their texture well.
The ingredients list isn’t prescriptive – if you’ve got leeks, or spring onions, or pretty much any vegetable lying around, chop them up and chuck them in. It all adds to the taste.
Serves 4 generously
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
100g mushrooms, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped finely
1 tin chopped tomatoes
250g Puy lentils
A handful of sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)
1 pint vegetable stock (I use Marigold vegan stock powder)
A couple of bay leaves
Lasagna sheets (make sure there’s no egg in the pasta if you’re doing it vegan). I use the no-pre-cook ones, so you don’t need to cook them at all beforehand.
1 pint milk
1 tablespoon cornflour
Salt & pepper
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan and tip in the onion, carrot and mushrooms. Cook on a medium heat until they start to turn soft. Add the garlic and lentils and cook for one more minute, and check out the lovely colours:
Pour in the stock and tomatoes and the bay leaves. Bring up to the boil and simmer for around half an hour, stirring and tasting every now and again. Add salt and pepper if you think it needs it.
Set it aside to mellow out a bit. If you want to, you can stop at this point and freeze it for later use.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.
Now put the pint of milk in a pan on the hob on a medium heat. Mix the cornflour with a little bit of water and add it to the milk. Heat it all up slowly, stirring often, until it thickens. If you want to (and you’re not a vegan, obviously), you can add some grated cheese to this sauce. I don’t in order to keep it low-fat and feel virtuous. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now lay out some sheets of lasagne on the bottom of your dish. The reason I put lasagne sheets as the first layer is that it makes it easier to lift out a slice whole from the cooked dish. Little tip for you there.
Ladle on about a third of the lentil and veg mixture, and spread it out to cover the base. Pour over about a third of the white sauce, and then do another layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat twice, finishing up with a layer of white sauce.
Non-vegans can add some grated cheese on top. Parmesan is nice. Cook in the oven for around half an hour, until it goes nice and brown on top. Bring to the table and dig in, it’s flipping lovely.