Friday, 19 August 2016

My Legendary Vegetable Lasagne - gluten free (or not as you choose)


This lasagne is legendary amongst my friends. It is so good that I have literally used it as a bartering tool...... Not my suggestion I hasten to add, but so delicious is it, that people would offer me stuff in exchange for lasagne...... It is a recipe (my own) which I have been making for about 25 years.

Interestingly, since becoming gluten free, lasagne is something I make less often. Although it is one of my favourite dishes and Miss GF adores it too, commercial gluten free lasagne sheets can be a pain to use, on account of the fact that all the brands I have ever come across require pre-cooking. This adds a lot of faff to an already lengthy process. I know I should just make my own, but this would make it even more labour-intensive and alongside work, I simply haven't got the time.....


Gluten free commercial lasagne also varies considerably from one make to another, with some being way too thick for my liking. My favourites for texture, 'density' and taste are Salute (which has become increasingly difficult to source) and La Buona Vita.

I did spot last week that Barkat have started doing pre-cooked lasagne sheets....... Can't wait to get my hands on some to try..... They could seriously revolutionise lasagne-making (and eating) for me..... It could even become a weekly meal!

Either way..... if any one out there can recommend other good gluten free brands or pre-cooked versions, please leave a comment and let me know.

Back to the filling layers..... The cheese sauce is (I think) fairly standard and if you have a favourite recipe, then by all means use it. It is the vegetable sauce that makes this lasagne special! Stuffed with fresh, healthy veg and full of the flavours of the Mediterranean..... plenty of oregano, thyme and sun-soaked produce, you can make this lasagne either gluten free or not.


The vegetables work best in combination..... picked for contrasting colour, flavour and texture. Aubergine adds softness....... baby corn adds crunch....... mushrooms give an earthy backdrop...... while peppers and tomatoes bring bright sunshine sweetness and colour to the party. Throw in lots of onions and garlic for extra depth and richness and some freshly-picked garden courgettes for a subtle hint of contrasting bitterness. It really is a perfect summer season medley. And if there's a bit of veg you don't like, just leave it out or substitute for something else. Really..... anything goes!

My (no longer) secret ingredients, which take this sauce to stardom, are a splash of gluten free soy (Shoyu) sauce, a hefty dollop of honey and a sprinkle of pine nuts.

The honey works in perfect harmony against the tang of Mediterranean herbs, hitting you with a deliciously sweet, but not over-powering flavour dimension. If you can get a good thyme or floral honey, so much the better...... We were lucky to still have some incredible greek honey from our travels in Crete last year (we brought lots of it home with us).

The pine nuts (extra amazing if toasted first), give a wonderful nutty crunch and ensure little surprise bites of magic and goodness as you munch.


So there you have it...... my legendary Vegetable Lasagne is out of the bag. If you make it, please let me know what you think!

Cook Blog Share, this week with Easy Peasy Foodie. Great to see Eb hosting her first shout-out this week.

Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse






Pasta Please with Thinly Spread and Tinned Tomatoes, welcoming veggie pasta recipes.


Meat Free Mondays with Tinned Tomatoes.







Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice.

Inheritance Recipes with Pebble Soup and Coffee and Vanilla - This is a recipe that simply has to be passed on to Miss GF.... Now part of her blog-based recipe book for the future!


Vegetable Lasagne (serves 6 good-sized portions (or 8 smaller ones))

Ingredients

gluten free lasagne sheets

Tomato-Vegetable Sauce
olive oil
1 small white onion - chopped
1 small red onion - chopped
4 to 5 cloves garlic - crushed
2 small peppers (red/yellow/orange) - rough chopped
6 to 7 baby corn - cut into 1 cm lengths
1 medium courgette - sliced
1 small aubergine - cut into small cubes
100 to 150g button mushrooms (cut into halves/quarters)
handful pine nuts - toasted
1 x 142g tin concentrated tomato puree
splash gluten free Shoyu (soy) sauce
2 tablespoons runny honey
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
a few sprigs fresh parsley - finely chopped
¾ teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh finely chopped)
¾ teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped)
large handful basil leaves - chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried)
good grind black pepper - to taste
sea salt - to taste

Cheese Sauce
30g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cornflour
¾ litre milk
180g grated mature cheddar cheese - grated
good grind black pepper
extra grated cheddar and black pepper to sprinkle on top

Method

  1. Prepare a large (approx 30cm/12 inches by 20 cm/8 inches) glass or ceramic oven-proof dish by greasing with butter or olive oil.
  2. Make the Tomato-Vegetable Sauce : Prepare the vegetables and herbs (chopping etc) ready for cooking, and toast the pine nuts either in a hot oven or under a grill for a few minutes (keeping a close eye to ensure they don't burn).
  3. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan and saute the onions over a medium heat for a few minutes until they soften.
  4. Add the garlic and stir through, continuing to fry.
  5. Next add the peppers, baby corn, courgette and aubergine and continue to cook for several minutes, stirring intermittently.
  6. Finally add the mushrooms and pine nuts and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more.
  7. Add the tomato puree and a dash of gluten free soy (Shoyu) sauce and stir through. 
  8. Allow to cook for 5 or so minutes, stirring frequently and then add the honey and stir through.
  9. Add the chopped tomatoes, herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Stir thoroughly and then leave to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow the flavours to mingle and the sauce to reduce slightly.
  11. When ready, turn off the heat and set aside while you prepare the lasagne and make the cheese sauce.
  12. Cheese Sauce : In a large saucepan, gently melt the butter over a low heat. 
  13. Add the cornflour and continuing to stir, allow to cook through for a couple of minutes.
  14. Remove from the heat.
  15. Add a tiny drop of milk at a time, stirring thoroughly to a smooth paste (don't worry if at first it looks a little grainy, as you add more milk it should become smooth). As the batter loosens and becomes more liquid, you will be able to slightly increase the amount of milk you add at one go.
  16. Once all the milk is added, return the pan to the heat and stirring continuously, very gradually bring the sauce to almost a simmer. It should begin to thicken well.
  17. Add the cheese and seasoning and continue to stir over a low heat until the cheese has melted and blended into a smooth sauce. Do not allow to boil.
  18. Remove from the heat while you prepare your pasta, but stir occasionally to avoid a skin forming.
  19. Prepare your lasagne sheets as per packet instructions (I did mine in batches, to avoid sticking).
  20. Place a layer of lasagne in the base of your prepared oven-proof dish and top with a layer of vegetable sauce.
  21. Next add another layer of lasagne and then a layer of cheese sauce. 
  22. Repeat this process (lasagne - sauce), finishing with a layer of cheese sauce.
  23. Top with a good sprinkle of cheese and a good grind of black pepper.
  24. You can bake immediately or later : Pre-heat your oven to 220 C/425 F/Gas 7 and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden and the lasagne is bubbling hot.
  25. Enjoy on its own, with salad or with gluten free garlic bread.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-16 unless otherwise indicated

22 comments:

  1. I've been looking for a really good veggie lasagne for ages now and this sounds like just the one. The pictures look so inviting :)

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    1. Thanks Laura. I hope you love it as much as we do. If you do make it, let me know what you think! xx

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  2. I love lasagne too but even with pre cooked sheets I find it enough work - could not bear having to precook the sheets too. I have found that walnuts work well in a tomato sauce but I love the idea of pinenuts in a vegie sauce so will put that into my lasagne files as I love trying new lasagnes - reminds me I haven't made one for a while and should make one before winter comes to an end

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    1. Thanks Johanna. I have to admit, lasagne is quite a faff, but it is so good once it is made, that occasionally it is worth the effort! x

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  3. I love veggie lasagna but I have to admit it's something I never make, probably because of all the different components, which I know aren't difficult but they do take time. Thank you so much for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice.

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    1. Thanks Corina. You're welcome! Veggie lasagne is definitely one of my favourites. x

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  4. Hubby is a big lasagne fan and I never really make it as its hard to find a dairy/soy/glutenfree alternative but this looks so good I reckon I am going to have to treat him to it for his impending birthday!!

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    1. I hope he likes it Midge. I would be really happy if I got lasagne on my birthday! Let me know what you think!
      I imagine cheese sauce is really tricky dairy free. What do you use? X

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  5. Ooh, yes please Kate! This does sound pretty awesome. I can quite understand why it is so legendary! :-) I particularly like the idea of adding pine nuts. I can imagine that working really well. Thanks for linking up to #CookBlogShare this week. Eb x

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    1. Thanks Eb. You're welcome!
      The pine nuts are perfect. I add them into quite a few sauces and salads!! Definitely a pine nut fan xx

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  6. isn't vegetable lasagna the best and nuts are always a pleasant surprise. thank you so much for adding it to Inheritance recipes

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    1. Absolutely! There is something very special and quite decadent about a good vegetable lasagne. I just wish it was less hassle to make! Xx

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  7. I never make lasagne these days as my husband doesn't like it but this looks so good and is making me want to cook it again. #freefromfridays

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    1. Hubby doesn't like lasagne? Shame!!!
      Make a big fish all for you and enjoy!!!!!! Xxxx

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  8. I love all the vegetables you've packed into your lasagne. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for entering it into Meat Free Mondays. I featured your recipe and stumbled, pinned & tweeted.

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    1. Thank you Jacqueline. Much appreciated!
      It is an amazingly tasty dish, so I hope others will enjoy it too! Xxx

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  9. This lasagne sounds mouthwatering... pasta, cheese, pine nuts, Mediterranean herbs, aubergine, mushrooms, all my favourite ingredients in one dish! Thank you for sharing with Inheritance Recipes :)

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    1. Thanks Margot. They are all my favourites too.... but the aubergine, pine nuts and combination of herbs make it really special x

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  10. Your lasagne look ever so delicious. I have never made them gluten free, thank you for the recipe, I am saving it to try soon.

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    1. Thanks Alida. Sounds scary..... an incredible Italian cook trying out my lasagne! I am sure you have a better cheese sauce, but I would love to know what you think of my vegetable layers!! x

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  11. Hi Kate, I'm celiac and this gluten-free recipe just came super in handy for me. It's very difficult for us celiacs to have a diverse diet, but thanks to you now I have one more option. Thanks for sharing!

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