Homemade Vegetarian Lasagna is one of our favourite meatless Monday meals but let’s face it, it isn’t all that quick or easy to make. So I created this Easy Vegetarian Lasagna Casserole for days when I’m craving the taste and comfort of lasagna but don’t want a lot of hard work.
It does take a bit of time to cut up and roast the vegetables but other than that, this dish is very straight-forward. In fact, I regularly roast a big batch of vegetables all at once and keep them on hand for easy meals so it’s often a case of simply retrieving the roast veggies from the fridge and putting the Easy Vegetarian Lasagna Casserole together.
The beauty of this recipe is that you can roast whatever combination of vegetables you have on hand. While my Easy Vegetarian Lasagna Casserole tastes great with eggplant (aubergine) and mushrooms, just one of the two works perfectly well. You can use any combination of coloured peppers depending on what is available at a good price. All you need is a nice big tray of any combination of roasted vegetables and you are all set to go.
You can vary the flavour of my Easy Vegetarian Lasagna Casserole by using different cheeses. I like to combine vegetarian mozzarella-style cheeses with cheddar or sometimes I even add a cheese called Spitfire (similar to Pepper Jack) for a bit of heat.
Remember that if you want to keep the dish strictly vegetarian, it is important to use a vegetarian cheese. (Many cheeses are made with rennet which is produced using animal by-products.) There is a great variety of vegetarian cheeses made with a vegetarian rennet on the market now so it’s easy to find one (or two or three!) that you like. Equally be sure that your pesto contains a vegetarian Parmesan-style cheese to keep this dish strictly vegetarian.
My Easy Vegetarian Lasagna Casserole is the perfect dish for keen meat eaters because the texture of the roast eggplant and/or mushrooms is so much like meat. It’s a great first dish to try if any members of your family are reluctant to embrace the Meatless Monday movement.
Serve my Easy Vegetarian Lasagna Casserole with a nice big salad and/or some hot crusty bread or rolls for a Meatless Monday feast. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and are great warmed up for an easy lunch the next day.
- 1 large onion, peeled and cut in chunks
- 1 eggplant (aubergine), sliced and cut in approximately one inch cubes
- 1 cup of mushrooms, cut in half if large
- 2 to 3 peppers, assorted colours if possible, de-seeded, sliced and cut in roughly one inch squares
- 1 large or 2 medium zucchini (courgettes) cut in half and then in half moons roughly half an inch thick
- 2 to 3 tablespoons mild olive or other vegetable oil
- 2 cups pasta shapes
- 2 cups passata (sieved tomatoes) or plain tomato pasta sauce
- 2 to 3 generous tablespoons basil pesto
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup grated cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C or 190°C for fan ovens).
- Spread the prepared vegetables on a large baking sheet.
- Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the oil and toss to coat.
- Roast the vegetables for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and carefully turn the vegetables in the oil. Drizzle on the remaining tablespoon of oil if the vegetables seem at all dry.
- Return the vegetables to the oven and cook for a further 15 - 20 minutes until nicely roasted but not too brown.
- (At this point the vegetables can be cooled and chilled for 3 to 4 days if you want to make them ahead of time.)
- Lower the heat in the oven to 350°F (175°C or 160°C for fan ovens).
- Warm the passata or tomato sauce in a medium saucepan over low heat.
- Stir the pesto, oregano and pepper into the tomato sauce and continue to heat, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water according to package directions. When cooked to al dente, drain and return the pasta to the cooking pan.
- Stir the passata or tomato sauce into the pasta in the large saucepan, along with the roasted vegetables.
- Place half the pasta, sauce and vegetable mixture in a large casserole.
- Sprinkle with half the cheese.
- Cover with the remaining pasta and vegetables.
- Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
- Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden on top.
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