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Monday
Apr122010

Vegetarian Lasagne

This is a stunning lasagne. Every vegetarian I meet has their own version of this, and this one covers all bases of texture, flavour and special twists - pistachios rather than pine nuts in the pesto is a great touch. The layers of flavours are wonderful and you mix and match each bite. You can see and taste the effort in this dish, so is wonderful for a special gathering, and you can prepare it in advance and reheat in oven when needed - lasagne is always better the next day too! A top class lasagne in all manner of speaking.

"A hard call, to say the least, but in the end I went for what, for me, stands the test of 15 YEARS as a favourite! I can’t say I make it often, but I would if I had more time. Best made a day ahead."- Kay Anderson.

 
Pictured: Vegetarian Lasagne Slice

3 medium eggplants
Coarse salt
¼ cup olive oil
4 medium red peppers
750g jar Paul Newman's own Venetian-style Spaghetti Sauce
250g packet instant lasagne pasts sheets
250g mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Pistachio Pesto
90g shelled pistachio nuts
1 cup firmly packed fresh basil leaves
¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 or so tbsp grated parmesan cheese
White Sauce
60g butter (I try to use less)
1/3 cup plain flour
2 ½ cups milk
¾ cup parmesan cheese

 
Grease a deep (6cm+) 20cm x 30cm ovenproof dish. Cut eggplants into 1cm slices, sprinkle with salt, stand 20 minutes. Rinse eggplants under cold water, drain, pat dry. Heat oil in pan; add eggplants in batches, cook until browned on both sides, drain on absorbent paper.
Quarter peppers, remove seeds and membranes. Grill peppers, skin-side up, til skin blisters and blackens. Peel skin away, cut peppers into thick strips.
Spread one-third of spaghetti sauce into prepared dish, top with one-third lasagne sheets, another one-third spaghetti sauce, half the eggplants, half the cheese, another one-third of the lasagne sheets, then remaining spaghetti sauce, peppers, cheese, lasagne sheets and eggplants. Spread pistachio pesto over eggplants, top with white sauce. Bake in moderate oven about 40 minutes. Stand 5 minutes before serving.
 
Pistachio Pesto - Blend pistachio nuts, basil, oil, garlic and cheese til combined.
 
White Sauce - Melt butter in pan, stir in flour, stir over heat til bubbling. Remove from heat, gradually stir in milk, stir over heat til mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat, stir in cheese.

Serves 6 – 8

Suitable to freeze.