I've lamented in previous posts that lasagne can be a bit of a faff to make, and whilst it is one of my top five all-time-favourite meals, I can't always muster up the energy to make it. But now and again I have a burst of enthusiasm and make a batch of individual vegan lasagne for the freezer, ready to pop in the oven when I haven't got the time or inclination to cook.
Here's a recipe for just that sort of lasagne - this Roasted Squash & Creamy Pesto Vegan Lasagne freezes really well, and is a fun cooking project for a rainy Saturday afternoon, making you 8 individual dinners for cold winter nights to come.
Layers of sweet roasted butternut squash, a creamy (and vegan) pesto béchamel, and roasted cherry tomatoes pack this with flavour between the sheets, and a breadcrumb and pine nut topping give it a lovely crunchy top without the need for cheese.
Make & Freeze - Vegan Lasagne
These little foil trays are ideal for freezing individual portions. Make sure you label and date them clearly, (don't assume you will remember what is in them - having just had a freezer spring clean I wish I had been a bit more diligent on labelling!!).
The lasagne will take about an hour to oven cook from frozen, or 20-25 minutes from fresh/defrosted, (if you're organised enough to take one out of the freezer one the night before). Perfect with a crisp green salad and some garlic dough balls!
'Make & Freeze' Roasted Squash & Creamy Pesto Lasagne (Vegan)
- 2 large butternut squash (about 3kg)
- 800 g cherry tomatoes
- rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 2 tsp ready-chopped garlic or garlic purée
- 2 medium onions
- 1 courgette
- 50 g dairy-free margarine
- 5 tbsp plain flour
- 1 litre dairy-free milk (nut, oat or soya)
- handful spinach
- 3 tbsp dairy-free pesto
- 300 g lasagne sheets (check they are egg-free)
- 100 g breadcrumbs
- 8 tbsp pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 200°C / 390°F / gas mark 6.
- Halve the squashes, scoop out the seeds, then peel (I use a potato peeler), and chop into chunks. Divide between two large baking trays, drizzle with oil, scatter with salt, pepper and 1 tsp garlic per tray, then toss together until all the pieces are evenly coated, and roast in the oven for 35 minutes until soft.
- Meanwhile, halve the cherry tomatoes, place on a third baking tray or roasting tin, drizzle with a little oil and scatter with salt and pepper, and roast for 20 minutes until soft. (If like me you don't have space in your oven for a third tray, you can roast these once the squash is ready).
- Whilst the vegetables are roasting, make the creamy pesto sauce. Peel and chop the onions. Heat the margarine in a large saucepan and add the onion. Cook gently for 3-4 minutes until starting to soften. Grate the courgette and add to the saucepan, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the courgette has released most of its liquid, and it has bubbled away.
- Stir through the flour, then pour in a little of the dairy-free milk and mix well. Cook over a medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the rest of the milk, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer until it becomes a thick, creamy sauce.
- Use a hand blender to blitz the sauce until smooth, then add the spinach and blitz again until it is finely chopped through the sauce. (If you don't have a hand blender, just skip this step and finly chop the spinach by hand). Finally, stir through the pesto, then taste, add more salt if required, taste again and keep adjusting until you are happy.
- When you are ready to assemble the lasagnes, take the trays of roasted squash, and mash them roughly with a potato masher or fork. They don't need to be smooth, it just makes them easier to spread.
- Take 8 small foil trays, then layer them with butternut squash, (1 tray of squash divided between the 8 trays), followed by a lasagne sheet (snapped down to size), followed by a layer of creamy sauce, then another lasagne sheet, more butternut squash, 6-8 roasted tomatoes per tray, another lasagne sheet, a final layer of creamy sauce, then a sprinkle of breadcrumbs and pine nuts.
- If you are cooking one or two of these straight away, cook for 25 minutes, or if cooking from frozen they will take about 1 hour.