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Vegan Butternut Squash and Lentil Lasagne

A delicious lasagne, full of goodness. Enough to serve 8 people. Prepare 1 large lasagne, or 2 smaller lasagnes, or half the recipe and prepare 1.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Servings 8 people

Equipment

  • 1 or 2 baking/casserole/lasagne dishes. I used an 8 x 8 inch casserole dish and an 8 x 6 lasagne dish, and still had enough lentil filling left over for a couple of potions of lentil-butternut squash soup the next day for lunch!
  • Large saucepan for preparing the lentil-vegetable mix
  • Medium saucepan for preparing white sauce
  • Small sauté/fry pan for toasting the cumin seeds, although this is optional

Ingredients
  

  • 400 grams dried red lentils, washed or about 2 and a 1/4 cups
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, chopped
  • 1 packet fresh cherry tomatoes, chopped in half, these are optional. I found a reduced punnet of tomatoes and decided to use them up with this dish. Glad I did!
  • 1 inch bit of fresh ginger, fine chopped or grated alternatively, use 1 tsp dried ginger
  • 2 tins of 400 grams chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped or use 1 tablespoon of dried garlic. My family likes a lot of garlic so I would use about 6-8 garlic cloves for this recipe.
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds or 2 tbsp of cumin powder
  • 2 whole bay leaf's
  • 2 vegan stock cubes or use stock powder, paste etc.
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1750 ml (millilitre) boiling water, 0r 1.85 US quarts/ 3 UK pints
  • 1 whole butternut squash, peeled and rough chopped into bite size pieces alternatively use 2-3 cups of pumpkin, or 2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes, scrubbed and skins left on (remove any blemishes).
  • 2 medium carrots, grated I leave the skins on, just peel off any blemishes.
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained or use 1 can chickpeas/garbanzo or butterbeans
  • salt and pepper to taste, a squeeze of lemon juice is also a tasty additional seasoning.
  • White Sauce
  • 600 ml plant-based milk 1 and a 1/16th pint/0.63 US quarts
  • 2 tablespoons plant-based margarine
  • 3 tablespoons plain flour either wheat or gluten-free plain flour. I've made the sauce with gluten-free plain flour and it is fine.
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Handful plant based cheese, grated. Or nutritional yeast flakes. this is optional and is used to sprinkle over the finished lasagne. I usually just use nutritional yeast but also add in some plant-based cheese if I happen to have it.

Instructions
 

  • Toast the cumin seeds to release more flavour.
    However, this is optional. The seeds can just be used untoasted or use cumin powder.
    Heat a small fry/sauté pan over a medium heat.
    Add the cumin seeds and shake the pan constantly until the seeds begin to brown.
    To prevent burning, I usually take the pan of the heat and shake the pan, turning the seeds around, until they look toasted.
  • Add the toasted seeds to a large saucepan.
    Add the onion, celery, carrots, butternut squash, and garlic.
    Tip in the lentils and stir.
  • Pour in the boiling water. Crumble the stock cubes with your hand into the saucepan. Or pop in your stock paste or powder.
  • Tip in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and kidney beans.
    Add the bay leaf's, ginger, and garam masala.
  • Give everything a good stir.
    Bring to the boil.
    Lower the heat and gently simmer for about 30-40 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent lentils sticking to the saucepan bottom.
    If the lentil mix becomes too dry and the lentils and vegetables are not yet soft just add a little splash of water and simmer until everything soft and mix is thick.
    Letting the cooked mix sit for 10 minutes off the heat will also help thicken up the mix if needed.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 Fan/200 Celsius/ 400 Fahrenheit /Gas 6.
    While the lentil mix is cooking, prepare the white sauce.
  • Melt 2 tbsp of plant-based margarine in a medium saucepan over a low-medium heat.
  • Once melted, add the flour a little at a time and mix well.
    Cook the flour paste for a few minutes, stirring all the time.
    Slowly add in the plant-based milk a splash at a time, whisking well to combine the flour paste and break up lumps.
    Don't panic if you have lumps, just keep whisking, as you can always strain the sauce through a sieve before adding to the lasagne.
  • Once all the milk is added, gently simmer for a about 5 minutes.
    Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    Take off the heat and let it sit until needed. but give it a stir every now and again to avoid a 'skin' forming.
    If a skin does form just whisk it away.
    If your sauce needs to sit for awhile you can cover it with a circle of scrunched up greaseproof/baking paper. Just press the paper onto the surface of the sauce and it will help prevent a skin forming.
  • Once the lentil mix and white sauce is prepared its time to layer up the lasagne.
    (Remove the bay leaf's from the lentil mix. Check the seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste. A squeeze of lemon juice is also tasty.)
    First add some lentil mix to cover the bottom.
    Followed by lasagne sheets to cover.
    Then another lentil layer and so on until you reach near the top of your casserole dish.
    I snap bits of lasagne sheets up to fill in the gaps that tend to form at the sides.
    I usually have room for 3 layers for my lasagne.
    Add the whole cherry tomatoes to the top layer so that they will sit under the white sauce.
  • Pour over the white sauce. If making 2 lasagnes share out the sauce evenly.
    Spread out the sauce to cover the lasagne sheets.
    Sprinkle vegan cheese or nutritional yeast, or do what I do and sprinkle both, over the top.
    Bake in the oven for around 40-50 minutes until the top is golden, the cheese melted and the sauce bubbling.
  • Serve.
Keyword Butternut Squah, Comfort food, lasagne, lentil