The Best Vegetarian Lasagne

The best vegetarian lasagne

The Modern Mediterran DietRecipe courtesy of Modern Mediterranean Diet by Dr Catherine Itsiopoulos &  Vivienne Koutsis, Macmillan Publishers, RRP $44.99

Although lasagne recipes can be fiddly, there is a reason this is called ‘the best’. This is the best comfort food for a Sunday afternoon (there are always leftovers for my sister and me to fight over for the coming days). And this is the best lasagne recipe for those trying to cut down on their red meat consumption but who miss the deep, rich sauciness of bolognese. – Vivienne For a meat lasagne, use 500 g of pork and veal mince in place of the plant-based mince.

The best vegetarian lasagneSERVES 10-12


  • 350 g fresh lasagne sheets
  • 2 2/3 cups (400 g) grated mozzarella
  • 2 cups (200 g) grated parmesan
  • 250 g stracciatella cheese

Vegetarian Bolognese Sauce 

  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 500 g plant-based mince
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 small or 1 large eggplant (500 g), finely diced
  • 300 g mushrooms, finely diced (or pulsed in a food processor)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 x 400 g can brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) red wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
  • 700 ml tomato passata
  • 1 x 400 g can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried or 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1.25 litres boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Large handful finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bechamel Sauce

  • 75 g butter
  • 1/3 cup (50 g) plain flour
  • 3 cups (750 ml) milk


To make the vegetarian bolognese sauce, heat half the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the mince and sear for 1 minute to form a crust, then break it up with a wooden spoon. Transfer to a bowl. To the bowl, add the onion, eggplant and mushrooms and a good pinch of salt and sauté for 15 minutes until the vegetables are softened.

Return the mince to the pot, add the lentils and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Pour in the red wine and simmer until the liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic, chilli flakes, passata, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika and oregano and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the bay leaves, sugar and 1 cup (250 ml) of the boiling water. Reduce the heat to low, cover with the lid and simmer for 2 hours, adding a cup of boiling water every 30 minutes so the sauce doesn’t dry out.

Stir in the balsamic vinegar and parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes or until the mixture bubbles.

Gradually add the milk, stirring until thickened before adding more. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes until the mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

To assemble the lasagne, spread a very thin layer of the bolognese sauce over the base of a large rectangular baking dish. Cover with a layer of lasagne sheets, then add one-third of the bechamel sauce, one-third of the remaining bolognese sauce and one-third of the mozzarella, parmesan and stracciatella. Repeat the layering process with the remaining ingredients, finishing with a layer of lasagne sheets, bechamel and cheese.

Bake the lasagne for 40 minutes, then cover the dish with foil and bake for a further 20 minutes to prevent the top from burning. Set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

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