This is – quite possibly one of the best ever Vegetarian Lasagna I’ve eaten!
True story. (Refer headline to this post). Vegetarian Lasagna has been on my to-cook list for so long. I finally got down to making this last year. To my surprise, I nailed the recipe in the first time. I tried it again last week and decided to share the recipe with all of you!
A cross between Pasta and a Casserole dish, Lasagna combines best of both worlds. It is time consuming and requires good planning for all the different layers. But if you plan well, it is a breeze to put together! You don’t need to be intimidated by this recipe at all!
This recipe is inspired by quite a few versions of the dish I’ve seen online. I came across a simple version this recipe here and decided to tweak it to suit our tastebuds. The ingredients were simple, the method of preparation even more so, and I had just hit jackpot. All I had to do was to buy the best ingredients which were fresh for the recipe and be a little organized. Having previously enjoyed ordering from Grofers and enjoyed the quality of delivery, it made sense to order from them again. It made sense as they were partnering with CupoNation on Mother’s Day and had a discount exclusively for them. So I ordered some fresh veggies, cheese and lasagna sheets to make the recipe. As fresh ingredients arrived promptly at my doorstep, I was excited to make a delicious version of the Vegetarian Lasagna.
I of course made the vegetarian version. You are free to add grilled meat to any layers if you like. I made every element of this dish from scratch. But if you’re pressed for time or you don’t want to make it yourself, you will find all of these elements readily available in the market. Here’s how to make my version of the vegetarian lasagna –
Vegetarian Vegetable Lasagna Recipe – Step by Step Pictures
- 2 cups full-fat Milk
- 1 Tablespoon Vinegar or Lime Juice
- a pinch of Salt
- 10 medium sized Tomatoes
- 1 medium Onion, peeled & chopped roughly
- 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 4-6 Garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Green chilli, chopped finely (adjust for spice)
- 4 teaspoons Red Chilli Flakes (adjust for spice)
- 3 teaspoons Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Thyme
- 2 teaspoons ground Black Pepper
- 3 teaspoons Salt (adjust for taste)
- ½ teaspoon Sugar
- handful of fresh Parsley or Cilantro
- 1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- 1 and ½ cups Milk
- ½ cup grated cheese - optional
- 1 teaspoon Salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
- 4 cups Vegetables (in any quantity you want)
- Vegetable oil - as required
- Salt & pepper - as required
- Lasagna Noodles
- Mozzarella or Parmesan Cheese
- 9X13 inch baking pan (preferably an oven-proof glass baking dish)
- You can make or buy the cream cheese. You can also use Ricotta or Mascarpone instead of cream cheese for another version. You can do this a day ahead.
- You can make the Red sauce or buy any pizza / pasta sauce you like. You can make or buy this a few days ahead of time.
- It is preferable to make the white sauce on the day of making the lasagna, since white sauce tends to thicken. If you make it the previous day, add some milk, reheat and stir to avoid clumping.
- You can grill the veggies ahead of time. Use any veggies you like. Instead of veggies, you can also used grilled chicken, bacon, turkey etc.
- Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese work the best. You can use any cheese that melts.
- Bring the milk to a boil. Add the vinegar / lime juice and stir till the whey separates completely.
- Filter the milk particles out and wash it well to get rid of the vinegar-y smell. Squeeze out as much water from the whey as possible.
- Add it to a blender. Add a pinch of salt. Grind to a smooth paste.
- Remove it to a bowl. Cover & chill it. Use as required.
- To a food processor, add roughly chopped onion and 6 tomatoes. Grind to a smooth liquid.
- Chop the remaining tomatoes to tiny pieces. You can grind all if you want a smoother sauce
- Heat oil and add the garlic and green chilli. Fry for a minute.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Let the tomatoes cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally for 4-5 minutes. Look for the tomatoes to cook and change color slightly.
- Add the ground onion-tomato liquid and mix well. Let the mixture cook on medium heat for 12-15 minutes. Keep stirring every now and then to ensure even cooking.
- You should look for a raw smell of the tomatoes to go away. If the liquid evaporates, add some more water or vegetable stick and mix well and continue to let the mixture cook.
- Once the sauce has reduced by half, add the spices - chilli oregano, thyme, salt, sugar, parsley and mix well.
- Add a little vegetable stock or water and allow it to boil for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Taste and adjust for the seasoning.
- Add some chopped parsley or cilantro and set aside.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and mix well. Let it cook for a minute until the raw smell of the flour goes away.
- Slowly add milk to the butter-flour mixture and keep stirring well. The flour will help thicken the sauce.
- Keep stirring till the sauce thickens to your liking. Add salt & pepper.
- Add cheese and mix until it melts into the sauce (optional)
- Taste and adjust for seasoning
- Griddle Grill Pan - Heat oil and add the veggies. You can do one by one or all at once. Fry it for 7-8 minutes until the veggies cook / grill well. Season with salt as required.
- Baking Pan - Add oil to a baking pan. Add the chopped veggies and mix them well with oil. Bake at 200 C for 8 minutes. Remove, stir well once and re-bake for another 8 minutes. Do it iuntil the veggies have grilled to your liking
- Mix the grilled veggies with the cream cheese. This is one layer. You can keep both separate and layer them on the pan too, if you want. It just increases another step.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C (375F).
- Lay some Red Sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
- Arrange the Lasagna Noodles on top of the sauce. If you have to break a few noodles to fit gaps, do so.
- Spread some white sauce over the noodles.
- Then add the cream cheese & veggie mixture and spread it carefully over the noodles and white sauce.
- Repeat the entire process again. (Red Sauce > Noodles > White Sauce > Grilled Veggies + Cream Cheese). If you have a bigger pan and more filling, you'll have to do it a few times. Finish about 2 inches below the top.
- Finish off with the Lasagna Noodles. Add some white & red sauce. Cover the pan with an aluminum foil. Bake at 180 C for 25 minutes.
- Remove, open the foil and grate some cheese all over the top. If you have a broiler, put it under the broiler for 5 minutes. Else, continue to bake for 5-7 minutes or until the cheese melts and browns a little.
- Remove and let the lasagna pan rest for 5 minutes. If you cut to soon, the layers will not have set properly and you can disintegrate it.
- Carefully cut square slices and serve with additional sauces on the side.
- The layering I've mentioned is just how I do it. You can choose to do it any way you like. Just make sure you have some sauce to the bottom before you arrange the lasagna noodles and finish the last layer with noodles followed by some liquid sauces.
- You can store this covered in the refrigerator for 3 days. Before serving, reheat in the microwave for 1 minute or bake it for a few minutes to melt the cheese again.
Vegetarian Vegetable Lasagna Recipe – Step by Step Pictures
1 – Homemade Cream Cheese
Bring milk to a boil. Slowly add the vinegar / lemon juice and stir
Keep stirring until the whey separates completely. Filter out the water and wash the milk particles well to get rid of any sour taste from the vinegar or lime juice.
Squeeze out as much water from the whey as possible. Add it to a blender / food processor. Add a pinch of salt. Grind to a smooth paste. This is your fresh cream cheese mixture
2 – The Tomato Sauce
Heat oil in a wok. Add garlic and chilli and fry for a minute. Add the tomato chunks and fry on medium heat for a few minutes.
Once the tomato chunks seem to be cooked a little, add the onion-tomato paste. (You need to grind some onion and tomato to a paste before hand)
Mix well and let it cook on medium heat for 10-12 minutes. Keep stirring occassionally to prevent burning of the mixture. You’re looking for the raw smell from the onions & tomatoes to go away. Once the mixture reduces to a paste, add the spices – chilli flakes, oregano, thyme, parsley, salt, ground black pepper. Mix well.
Add a little vegetable stock or water and allow it to boil for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust for the seasoning. Add some chopped parsley or cilantro and set aside.
3 – Grilled Veggies
Grill some veggies in a pan or in the oven. You can use – onions, zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, sweet corn, baby corn, cauliflower etc.
Assemble all elements at one place before you start to assemble the lasagna
4 – Put it together
Add some of the grilled veggies to the cream cheese and mix well. This is one of your filling. You can choose to layer both veggies and cheese separately. This makes it a bit easier
Layer the bottom of a baking dish with the tomato sauce. Arrange the Lasagna Noodles on top of the sauce. If you have to break a few noodles to fit gaps, do so.
Spread some white sauce. Then add the cream cheese & veggie mixture and spread it carefully over the noodles.
You can also add sweet corn and other veggies if you like. Add some more white sauce and red sauce.
Repeat the process multiple times till your baking dish is almost full. Here is a picture. Do not add to much cheese or the top will burn too quickly.
Cover the pan with an aluminum foil. Bake at 180 C for 25 minutes. Before the last 5 minutes, remove and grate some cheese all over the top of the dish. Bake at 180 c for 5 minutes till the cheese has melted.
Remove and let the lasagna pan rest for 5 minutes. If you cut to soon, the layers will not have set properly and you can disintegrate it.