Weekend recipe: authentic vegan lasagna

Author Liubov Safonova
Category Columnists, Culture, Lifestyle, Town
Date April 5 2024
Reading Time 3 min.

Weekend recipe: authentic vegan lasagna

Continuing our exploration of meat-free versions of beloved dishes, we present vegan lasagna, the plant-based Italian classic. Thanks to some secret ingredients, it is really close to the original version, and its simplicity makes it an ideal dish for a gathering.

Classic lasagna is a simple meal, so it is in a vegan rendition. To make it great, find a fine vegan mince. You’ll also need onions for sweetness and texture, along with soy sauce and Marmite to impart the umami flavor: that’s why people enjoy roasted or pan-seared dishes. Active cooking time takes around 20 minutes. Then, it’s time to enjoy your creation with friends!

Details:

  • You may need to try several brands of vegan mince to find the one that yields the juiciest lasagna.
  • We recommend using dried garlic. The fresh one is challenging to sauté with onions without burning. You could also use garlic paste, or just skip this ingredient if garlic isn’t to your liking.
  •  Marmite adds pungency and roasted vegetable notes to the dish. However, if you don’t use it regularly and don’t want to buy a jar just for the lasagna, feel free to skip it as well. Generally, the soy sauce is sufficient to recreate the wow-factor.
  •  Pre-chopped tomatoes in a jar work best for this recipe. You can use plum tomatoes also, but you’ll need to dice them finely before incorporating them into the recipe.
  • Find a baking dish with high sides and the appropriate size to layer the lasagna sheets without overlapping. Dishes that match the size of the pasta sheets are also suitable, allowing you to make multiple servings in different containers. It might be even more comfortable to serve the dish directly in them.
  • Lasagna pasta sheets come with and without eggs, as well as dry and fresh varieties. Egg lasagna sheets give a slightly softer texture, while fresh ones cook faster. This recipe is written for dry sheets. 

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • Vegan mince — 1 pack
  •  Canned chopped tomatoes — 1 can
  • Shallots — 2 small bulbs
  •  Dried garlic — 1 teaspoon
  • Salt — 1 teaspoon
  • Dried oregano — 1⁄2 teaspoon
  • Dried basil — 1⁄2 teaspoon
  • Soy sauce — 3-4 teaspoons
  • Marmite — half a teaspoon
  • Olive oil — for frying
  • Dry lasagna sheets — half a pack

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place a frying pan on the stove with olive oil, set to medium heat. Slice the shallots, transfer them to the pan, and start sautéing them slowly, stirring occasionally. They should become translucent but not golden. Do not overcook it; let the onion remain slightly firm.
  2. Push the shallots to the side of the pan, add the vegan mince. Carefully break the mince into pieces; they should be fairly small. Simultaneously, mix it with the shallots. The mince should brown slightly, and any excess moisture should evaporate.
  3.  Once the mince is browned, open the can of tomatoes and add them to the pan. Mix everything together.
  4. Now, dissolve the Marmite in hot water. The easiest way to measure the needed amount of liquid is to use a tomato can: you’ll need a third of its volume. Pour this broth into the pan with the other ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Add oregano, basil, and dried garlic. Taste for salt; it should be slightly saltier than you would love to eat because some of salt will be absorbed by the lasagna sheets. The sauce should be fairly liquid; if it looks too thick, add another 50 ml of water.
  6. Assemble the lasagna. Pour a little sauce into the baking dish, lay the lasagna sheets, and top them with a layer of sauce. Repeat until the sauce runs out. Ideally, the final layer should be sauce to prevent the top layer of dry sheets from not softening enough.
  7.  Cover the dish tightly with foil and place it in the oven for 35 minutes. If you’re into cheese, you can remove the foil after this time, sprinkle the lasagna with cheese, and leave it for another 5-7 minutes for the cheese to m

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