Vegan Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce
If this lasagna were a person, we would definitely be best friends. Why? She is reliable, multi-faceted, flexible and uncomplicated. So it's no wonder that we're often found having dinner together.
But besides that, there are numerous ways to prepare lasagne, whether with spinach, pesto, sweet potatoes, or vegetable slices instead of lasagne sheets. Nevertheless, I prefer to stick to the classic version with vegan „minced meat“ sauce. My casserole dish, therefore, only contains onions and carrots (Isa also includes celery, for example), a tomato „minced meat“ layer with a little red wine (and ketchup as a secret ingredient), and, of course, vegan béchamel sauce.
The preparation is super simple. Prepare the tomato sauce, mix the béchamel and then layer both sauces alternately with lasagne sheets in the baking dish. Of course, you can also use other minced meat alternatives for the sauce, such as soy granules (soaked in vegetable stock) or tofu. You don't need to worry about preparing the vegan béchamel sauce either; despite the complicated-sounding name, it's easy to make: melt the vegan butter in a pan, stir in the flour, pour in the plant-based milk, simmer, and season. If the sauce thickens a little too much, you can simply add a little more plant-based milk.
Once all the steps have been completed, the lasagne can go into the oven. As the delicious smell wafts through the apartment, we have to pull ourselves together so we don't eat the lasagne when it's half-cooked. Finally, here's a little service tip from us: Leave the lasagne to rest for at least five minutes before cutting to keep its shape and not fall apart when served.
Vegan Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce
For the „minced meat“ layer:
400 g (1 lb) vegan (fresh) minced meat
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp agave syrup
100 ml (0.5 cup) vegan red wine
400 g (1 lb / 1 can) chopped tomatoes
200 g (7 oz) strained tomatoes
2 tbsp ketchup
0.5 tsp dried basil
0.5 tsp dried oregano
0.25 tsp cayenne pepper
0.5 tsp paprika powder
For the béchamel sauce:
3 tbsp vegan butter
3 tbsp flour
250 ml (1 cup) plant-based milk
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
vegan lasagne sheets
vegan shredded cheese (optional)
vegetable oil for frying
Peel and finely dice the onion for the tomato and „minced meat“ layer. Coarsely grate the carrots or cut into small cubes.
Heat vegetable oil in a pan over medium heat and fry the vegan „minced meat“ for approximately 5 minutes until browned. Add the onion and carrot to the pan and fry everything together for 4–5 minutes. Then add the tomato paste, soy sauce and agave syrup and heat for approximately 3 minutes so that the tomato paste darkens slightly.
Deglaze with red wine and simmer for approximately 5 minutes. Then add the chopped and strained tomatoes, ketchup, dried basil, oregano, cayenne pepper and paprika powder and mix well. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and simmer over low heat until the vegan béchamel is ready.
To make the béchamel, melt the vegan butter in a small pan. Then, stir in the flour and sweat for approximately one minute over low heat. Slowly add the plant-based milk and stir in thoroughly so that no lumps form. Season the béchamel with nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and nutmeg. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more plant-based milk.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C / 355 °F (convection heat). First, spread a thin layer of the tomato and „minced meat“ sauce in a baking dish. Place the vegan lasagne sheets on top and cover with another layer of the tomato sauce. Spread some of the vegan béchamel sauce on top and place a second layer of lasagne sheets on top. Repeat the layers until all the ingredients have been used up. Then, spread a final layer of vegan béchamel on top. Optionally, mix the vegan shredded cheese with a bit of vegetable oil and water and spread over the casserole.
Bake the lasagne at 180 °C / 355 °F (convection heat) for approximately 40 minutes until the lasagne sheets are soft and the vegan cheese layer is golden brown. Then remove from the oven and leave the lasagne to stand for a few minutes to cool and firm up before cutting.