Savoury vegetable lasagne is a dreamy meatless version of the Italian classic. Vegetable ragu and layers of flavourful cheese combine in perfect, creamy layers.
For another layered dinner option, try our Veggie Lentil Moussaka!
No meal goes down better in my house than a lasagne. It is our go-to comfort food, and no matter how often I make it, it just doesn’t get old!
One of the reasons lasagne is so loved is because it is possible to remain faithful to the basic idea while playing around with ingredients. Recipes like this remain fresh because they are constantly being reinterpreted with all sorts of creative ideas.
While I love getting experimental in the kitchen, sometimes only classic version will scratch the itch. So for this lasagne I’ve been inspired by the version I grew up with. For me, there is no food more comforting!
For this version, I wanted a vegetable lasagne that reminded me of of the way my mum makes it. But I also knew that I wanted a base made of mushrooms to make the most of their nutty taste and satisfying texture.
Mushrooms combine perfectly with carrots, celery, onion and tomato to create a fantastic ragu. A good ragu is a useful for all sorts of recipes, so not a bad idea to make extra for spaghetti bolognese or a pasta bake!
Any good lasagne has a generous layer of creamy cheese. Too keep this layer interesting, I’ve added a hearty amount of chopped basil. The basil brings a lovely fresh layer to the lasagne and cuts through the creamy cheese.
And of course no classic lasagne is complete without a hearty dollop of béchamel. I’m a sucker for béchamel, so this is a recipe I come back to often.
How to layer lasagne
All of the components come together with layers lasagne pasta. I know that some people swear by fresh pasta for lasagne, but I find that the dried version comes out best, and is easier to keep from becoming soggy and unappetising.
Once the different components have been made, it’s the easiest thing in the world to layer a lasagne. It’s best to keep the thickness of the layers fairly consistent so the flavours are evenly spread, but no need to be too careful.
Always start with a ragu on the bottom, with a layer of pasta on top. Add more ragu and spoon béchamel on top, then more pasta.
Now place the ricotta and another layer of pasta. Add one more layer of ragu before topping with the rest of the béchamel sauce and a grated hard cheese of your choice.
The lasagne noodles should be placed between each layer, covering almost everything without being too anxious about gaps at the sides. You may need to break some of the pasta sheets to make them fit. The number of layers will depend on the depth of your baking dish.
Recipe tips and tricks
- Mushrooms add a lot of substance to the ragu. Cut them in different sizes to add diversity to the texture.
- Using a variety of mushrooms will add complexity to the taste. I paired crimini mushrooms with a small number of shiitake mushrooms to get the best of both.
- Let the lasagna sit for 30-40 minutes for it to hold its shape when plated. Otherwise the ragu and cheese will ooze out when the pieces are removed.
More classic Italian recipes
- Roasted mushroom risotto
- Basil pesto pasta
- Grilled vegetable pizza bianca
- Roasted cherry tomato pasta with burrata
For the vegetable ragu
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 stalk celergy
- ½ onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 clove garlic
- 1-2 rosemary sprigs
- 1 lbs mushrooms, mixed variety
- 200g / 7oz chopped tomatoes
- 250g / 1 cup passata/crushed tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt to taste
For the béchamel sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoon butter
- 1 ½ tablespoon flour
- 415ml / 1 ¾ cups milk
- Bay leaf
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the spinach ricotta layer
- 500g / 2 cups ricotta
- 1 egg
- 50g / ½ cup vegetarian parmesan or hard cheese
- 50g / 1 ½ cups chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)
- 250g / 8oz lasagne sheets
For the Mushroom Ragu:
- Cook the mushroom ragu, which could be made several days ahead. It could also be frozen. Dice the celery, carrots and onions, chop up rosemary and mince the garlic or take all the ingredients and pulse in a food processor.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot or a deep pan and sauté the mixed vegetables above for 7-10 minutes over low heat until softened.
- Meanwhile take ⅔ of the mushrooms and pulse them in a food processor until they are coarsely chopped into ¼ inch pieces. Roughly chop the remaining mushrooms by hand for a varied texture.
- Add the mushrooms to the pot with the vegetables and cook them for 10 minutes until they are cooked and reduced in volume.
- Add the passata and a bay leaf with a pinch of salt, stir, cover with a lid and cook on low for 20 minutes, then uncover and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until desired consistency.
For the Béchamel Sauce:
- To a small saucepan add the butter and let it melt, then add the flour and mix well, continue cooking the mixture over medium heat while stirring for 2-3 minutes, then add the milk, one bay leaf and ¼ teaspoon of grated nutmeg, bring to a boil, then let it simmer until the sauce thickens and coats a spoon, season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside till needed.
For the Spinach Ricotta Layer:
- In a medium bowl mix together ricotta, vegetarian Parmesan cheese, chopped fresh spinach or defrosted and well drained frozen spinach and 1 beaten egg.
To Assemble Lasagna
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Start layering your lasagna by adding ⅓ of the mushroom ragu to the bottom of a 9X13 inch rectangular baking dish. Then cover the sauce with the lasagna sheets. Then spread ⅓ of the mushroom ragu over the pasta and add ½ of the béchamel sauce.
- Top with another layer of the lasagna sheets followed by the spinach ricotta layer, then another another later of the lasagna sheets with the rest of the ragu sauce spread over them and top that ragu with the final layer of the lasagna sheets.
- Spread the rest of the Bechamel sauce directly on the lasagna sheets, then top with the vegetarian Parmesan cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Then uncover and cook for 10 minutes longer till the cheese is golden. Let the lasagna rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting it.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 289Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 560mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 4gSugar: 8gProtein: 19g