One of the first vegetarian meals I made last year during lent was a vegetarian lasagne. I made it for when one of my parent’s friends, who’s known me since I was born, came over for dinner. It was a great success, but I hadn’t actually made another one until last night, almost a year on.
I used different ingredients compared to the lasagne I made last year. I guess the main substitute for the meat was courgettes. I sliced them into circles and didn’t chop them down into small chunks. Also by using Italian herbs and even Worcestershire sauce, it didn’t just taste like a vegetable stew with pasta, compared to when I made lentil bolognese recently.
After chopping and cooking two white onions and two cloves of garlic, I added chopped red pepper and some baby red cherry tomatoes which needed using. Fresh tomatoes tend to taste better in a bolognese rather than tinned, but I did add a box of passata to add more bulk. I also put in some chopped leeks and left to cook for a while until the tomatoes had softened.
I then poured in the passata and added the sliced courgettes and some roughly chopped mushrooms. After giving it a good stir I put in some flavour by adding two bay leaves, a splash of Worcestershire sauce, two fresh basil leaves, mixed Italian herbs and some tomato puree to make it even more tomatoey. Before leaving to simmer, I also poured in 500ml of vegetable stock. I would’ve used red wine but I couldn’t find any lurking in the house and couldn’t be bothered to get some from a shop!
While the bolognese mixture was simmering, I made some garlic bread with a ciabatta loaf and also the cheese sauce. For the cheese sauce I warmed up a pint of semi-skimmed milk and added some plain flour. I used a whisk to incorporate the flour and then added some cubed Red Leicester cheese and stirred in until melted and when the sauce had thickened up. Then I assembled the lasagne in a large dish. I only make use one layer of cheese sauce for the top rather than adding a layer in the middle, just to make it that little bit healthier.
The lasagne went in the oven at gas mark 5 for 30 minutes, and the garlic bread went in for 20 minutes at the same temperature.
It was the first time I used Worcestershire sauce in any meal, and it tasted pretty good! Next time I make a meat bolognese I will try adding the sauce. Overall the vegetables I used in the vegetarian lasagne worked. That’s the beauty of cooking; you can add anything you like and if it doesn’t work, you can change it next time!
Happy reading and blogging!