I always feel like making lasagne is such a palaver: you have to make a meat ragu from scratch, make a cheese sauce, assemble the whole thing, and then bake it in the oven. I usually give up at the ragu stage and go with spaghetti bolognese instead. But with my easy, ‘deconstructed’ healthy veggie lasagne, you simply roast the vegetables, make an easy tomato ragu, cheat with a shop-bought cheese sauce (keep life simple where possible, I say) and layer with fresh lasagne sheets. It’s easy and delicious.
This is a great dish to make in stages, as it doesn’t matter if each component cools down, as you assemble and cook the whole thing at the end. So you could do the veg in the morning, say, leaving them, covered, on the side once cool, make the sauce at lunchtime, and then get the whole thing in the oven at supper time. It’s easy to do, and what’s more, it’s great for using up any leftover veggies. For example, other veg that are good for roasting and would work well in this dish include aubergine, mushrooms, butternut squash and sweet potato.
My kids devoured it when I made it for them last weekend. I didn’t even have time to take a photo of the finished dish!
EASY VEGGIE LASAGNE
What you need
a good lug of olive oil
3–4 carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
2 courgettes, thickly sliced
handful of baby sweetcorn, chopped in half
handful of asparagus spears, stalks snapped off
½ red pepper, roughly chopped
½ green pepper, roughly chopped (or any combo of peppers)
sprig of rosemary
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tins good quality chopped tomatoes
1tsp caster sugar
freshly ground black pepper
fresh basil leaves
½ tub cheese sauce (I used Waitrose Essential Cheese Sauce which comes in a 350g-size tub); of course you can make your own if you wish. I have a recipe here.
1 pack fresh lasagne sheets
freshly grated Parmesan
What to do
- Preheat the oven to 190˚C (170˚C Fan).
- Chuck all the vegetables and the rosemary into a large roasting tray. Drizzle over some olive oil, season well and then toss the veg using your hands, so the pieces are lightly covered.
- Roast for approximately 30 minutes – you want them all nice and soft. If you are using carrots, these may need another 15 minutes or so to soften up – if this is the case, remove the other veg and leave the carrots in a bit longer.
- Meanwhile – or later on, depending on your schedule – make the tomato sauce. Heat about 1tbsp olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and add the garlic. Keep an eye on it, as you don’t want it to burn. Let it cook for a minute or two.
- When the garlic starts to go golden, add the chopped tomatoes, the sugar and the black pepper and bring to a simmer with the lid on.
- Remove the lid and let it simmer away for a good 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Once it’s thick and smells delicious, stir in some torn-up basil leaves and remove from the heat. It can cool completely if needs be.
- It’s time to assemble your lasagne! Use an oven-proof dish that’s a couple of inches deep, and start with a layer of veg, then tomato sauce, then lasagne sheets, then veg, tomato sauce, lasagne sheets, and so on until you end with a layer of lasagne sheet. Cover the top with cheese sauce and sprinkle generously with grated Parmesan and give it a final twist of black pepper.
- To cook, heat oven to 200˚C (180˚C Fan) and bake for 35–40 mins until brown on top and crisp around the edges. Serve with peas or green beans.