Blog of Dad is over a year old. I’m pretty happy with that, but what I am more astounded by is that every word on this website has been written by me (except for perhaps a few quotes). It is time that changed, it’s time I introduced you to some new talent.
The following is my first ever guest post – I went looking far and wide for my first ever guest writer. Okay, not really, she was sitting next to me on the couch. Introducing my wife, Emma!
Why did I want Emma to write my first ever guest post? Because she makes an amazing vegetable lasagne. That’s right, no meat, not even a little bit. And yet, it tastes incredible! Now you know that if I’m willing to say that about something without any meat in it, it must be exceptional.
How? Find out what the secret is below (SPOILER ALERT – IT’S CHEESE. LOTS OF CHEESE).
Emma’s Modern Australian Vegetable Lasagne
My vegetable lasagne may bear little resemblance to an authentic Italian lasagne. I don’t really know what an authentic lasagne is, to be honest. I’m Australian. We have a time-honoured tradition taking a dish from one of the world’s great cuisines (or several at once) and bastardising it beyond recognition. Australians call modern Australian cuisine.
In any case, my lasagne is delicious (if I do say so myself). It consists of layers of pasta, garlic and herb-laden passata, paper thin slices of zucchini and eggplant, and homemade cheese sauce.
I like to a have a few meat-free meals each week, and this lasagne fits the bill while still being a hearty and comforting meal. Hannah, James and I all love it! It is one of the few formats in which Hannah with happily scoff a bucket-load of vegetables, though that may have something to do with the copious quantities of cheese it is covered in.
Although it is vegetarian, this dish is most definitely not vegan. The quantity of cheese I use in this thing must contain enough milk to feed 10 calves for a year. Hmm, possibly the reason James has been told to cut back on dairy due to kidney stones…
Want to give it a go? Here’s what you need to know.
I tend to assemble the vegetable lasagne a half or whole day in advance, cover with cling wrap and leave it in the fridge to allow the dried lasagne sheets to soften.
The quantities below makes enough to feed the three of us (two adults and a ravenous toddler) for three meals. We usually eat it for dinner two nights in a row and freeze the third lot for another day.
I serve it with a salad and sometimes also home-made sweet potato chips if I have sweet potatoes at home, since I can just chuck them in the oven to cook at the same time as the lasagne.
2 packs of dried lasagne sheets
2 jars of passata
About 3 zucchinis, very thinly sliced*
1 medium eggplant, very thinly sliced*
2 cups of grated Tasty cheese**
2 Tbs of plain flour
1 Tbs butter
1.5 cups full cream milk
1-2 Tbs garlic powder (don’t judge me for using the dried stuff, it is so much easier to get it spread evenly in this dish than fresh garlic)
Herbs (finely slice however much of whatever suitable fresh herbs you have in your garden or fridge – we often use about 1/3 cup any combination of basil, parsley, oregano, thyme – or use a few Tbs of dried mixed herbs)
Baby spinach, finely chopped (optional)
*If you have a food processer that does thin slices, use it. It will be your best friend for this recipe.
**If the food processor also has a grating attachment than all the better.
To make the cheese sauce melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and stir over medium heat for a minute before slowly adding the milk. Stir on medium heat until it starts to thicken. Hope that it doesn’t get lumpy. If it does get lumpy, panic slightly while trying to press the lumps between the spoon and the edge of the saucepan in an attempt to get rid of them. If this is in vain, hope that you have a forgiving family (Hi James!). Once the sauce has thickened, add in about 1 cup of the grated cheese and stir until melted. Remove from heat.
Place a thin layer of passata in the base of a large family-sized lasagne dish, then place a layer of lasagne sheets. Follow this with a layer of zucchini, then passata topped with a sprinkling of garlic powder and herbs, as well as the spinach if you are using it. Carry on placing layers of lasagne sheets, herb and garlic passata, zucchini and eggplant in any order you fancy. Somewhere in the middle of all these layers remember to pour the cheese sauce layer. When you getting towards the top of the dish finish with a layer of lasagne sheets then a layer of passata and top with the remainder of the grated cheese.
Bake in a 200ºC oven for about an hour. I think. I don’t know, just keep an eye on it.