Vegetable Lasagna from Down Under
Lasagna is a classical dish, enjoyed in many variations around the world.
We are delighted to share this delicious Vegetable Lasagna recipe, wonderfully adapted to the yogic diet by Sivananda yogi Shyamala, based in Australia. Her lovely new cookbook, Serve Love: Food for the Yogi Soul, is filled with a range of inspiring recipes for each meal of the day, as well as tips on the yogic diet and stocking your pantry. Enjoy!
2 red peppers
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp oregano (dry/fresh)
1 tsp thyme (fresh)
1 tsp turmeric
1 Tbs coriander powder
2 large bay leaves
600g/4 cups chopped tomatoes
75g/2/3 cup cheese, finely grated
12 dried lasagna sheets
Small bunch of basil, leaves picked
4 Tbs unsalted butter
4 Tbs plain flour
2 cups milk, heated
1 tsp peppercorns
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ cup grated cheese (optional)
Heat the oven to 200C/400F. Prick the aubergines and put the aubergines and peppers on a lightly greased baking tray and bake for about 40 minutes until charred and collapsing in on themselves.
When the aubergines and peppers are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh of the aubergines and mash up any large pieces. Peel the peppers, remove the seeds and finely chop the flesh, then add to the aubergine.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and lightly saute bay leaf, turmeric, and coriander powder. Add the aubergine and pepper mixture and fry for about 10 more minutes, stirring fairly frequently, until you have a thick pulp, then add the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, simmer for about 10 minutes until reduced. Season with oregano, thyme, and salt to taste.
Warm the milk with peppercorns on low heat just until little bubbles begin to form at the edges. Then remove from heat.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste cooks and bubbles a bit, but don’t let it brown — about 2 minutes. Add the hot milk, continuing to stir as the sauce thickens. Bring it to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste, lower the heat, and cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
Grate ¼ tsp of nutmeg and mix through. To cool this sauce for later use, cover it with wax paper or pour a film of milk over it to prevent a skin from forming.
For cheese sauce: Stir in 1/2 cup grated cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking.
Assembling the lasagna
Reduce oven to 180C/350F.
To assemble the lasagna, spread a quarter of the aubergine mixture in the base of a shallow oven dish (about 20cm x 25cm/8in x 10in) and top with a few torn basil leaves and a layer of broken pasta sheets, cutting it to fit if necessary. Drizzle béchamel mixture and add another quarter of the aubergines, some cheese, and some more basil. Repeat these layers twice more, finishing off with a thicker layer of béchamel. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese (if using) and bake for about 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before serving.
Note from Shyamala: If you’re like me then I would double the béchamel sauce quantity and smother my lasagne with it, especially on the top layer!