A Cheergerm gluten free roasted vegetable lasagna

There is a raging battle of supremacy in our family for the grand title of ‘Queen of the Veggie Lasagna.’ It’s not as if we have any other ruling status to aspire to, unless of course it was The Precious Princess of Dunny Cleaning or The Lady of the Laundry. Perhaps we should aspire to the title of The Duchess of Finding Lost Shoes and Spare Socks?

Battles aside, all of our vegetable lasagna versions have a different twist and they are all scrumptious. A lasagna is such a practical ‘big gathering’ dish as you are able to prepare it the day before you need it. Come the day of the party, you can smugly swan around the house preening and cleaning. Safe in the knowledge that the lasagna resides in stately grace, awaiting to be baked. In this case, we were enjoying a joint birthday celebration for Kid 2’s eighth birthday, as well as my birthday. (Thanks, turning 21 was tonnes of fun.) As such, I had prepared my Cheergerm veggie lasagna the day before.

It ain’t traditional Italian, more a mixed breed of an old school lasagna and a hippy vegetarian version. I know that the grated apple and carrot in the tomato sauce is based on a vague memory I have of a Julie Stafford recipe from the healthy eating cookbook, The Taste of Life. This was a 1980’s cookbook that was well used by Mum back in ‘the day’. This lasagna is unctuous and hearty. The use of the ricotta in the white sauce gives it a lighter taste. Yes, it does contain a shedload of veggies and whilst it looks overwhelming, it really isn’t as much work is it at first appears. ( Ah, who I am kidding but it’s worth it!) There are a lot of photos in the post, I took the ‘step-by-step’ approach quite figuratively. Go figure.

CHEERGERM GLUTEN FREE ROASTED VEGETARIAN LASAGNA

WHAT YOU NEED
Roasted vegetables
2 medium eggplants
1 large sweet potato
4 medium zucchini
1 red pepper
1 head garlic
Tomato sauce
1 onion, diced
400 g mushrooms, diced
700g bottle sugo (or passata, which is basically a tomatoey sauce)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 large carrot, grated
1 green apple, grated
Fresh basil, a big handful, torn
Ricotta sauce
2 tbl Butter
2 tbl gluten free plain flour
1 1/2 cups milk
400g Ricotta
Other
1 box 200g gluten free instant lasagna sheets
Grated mozzarella (2 cups, 200g)
40g Parmesan, grated
Lots of Olive oil
Salt and pepper

HOW YOU DO IT

Roast Vegetables
Preheat the oven to 200C (180 fan forced).
Cut the eggplants (I peel mine), sweet potato (peeled) and zucchini into one cm thicknesses. Place on trays lined with baking paper, oil both sides of the vegetables and season with salt and pepper lightly.
Place halved red pepper and head of garlic onto a tray and drizzle with olive oil.
Put the trays into the oven, turn the veggies over after 15 minutes, cook for another 10 minutes until the veggies are tender. You may have to leave the head of garlic in for another five minutes.
Allow the vegetables to cool.
Once the capsicum has cooled down, peel and cut into thin strips.
Take the head of roasted garlic, peel and squash up the peeled cloves. (This is to add to the red sauce.)

The tomato sauce
SautΓ© onion in 2 tbl olive oil over medium heat until they start to soften, add the mushrooms and fry them until most of the moisture is evaporated.
Add the sugo, tin of tomatoes, grated apple and carrot. Season with 1 tsp salt and some generous grinds of black pepper.
Cook for about 45 minutes until the mixture has thickened and reduced. Check again for salt, it may need more.
Take off the heat, add the torn basil and squashed up roasted garlic, stir gently.

Ricotta Sauce
Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan over a low to medium heat.
Add the flour and cook for 3 -4 minutes until the mixture (roux) starts to bubble.
Take off the heat and whisk in the cold milk. (This method of adding cold liquid to a hot roux helps to reduce the risk of a lumpy sauce.)
Put the sauce back on the heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to thicken. Cook the white sauce for a few minutes, continuing to stir constantly.
Add the ricotta cheese, pepper and taste for salt before adding any.
Take off the heat.

Assembling the lasagna
Oil your lasagna dish. I use a Pyrex, 3 litre dish.
Place approximately five big spoons (a serving spoon size) of sauce on the bottom of the dish.
Place 4 lasagna sheets on top and spoon on more tomato sauce, about 4 spoonfuls.
Put all the eggplant in a single layer, place the red pepper strips on top then layer on half of the ricotta sauce. Smooth it out.
Place 4 more lasagna sheets on top of the ricotta sauce, you will probably need to snap one sheet in half to add as well. (Press down gently.)
Place another layer of tomato sauce, around 4 spoonfuls.
Add the sweet potato and zucchini. (It’s looking full by this point.)
Place a few more spoons of tomato sauce and spread it out. (I usually have some left, which I freeze.)
Spread the remaining ricotta sauce on top, then sprinkle with the combined mozarella and grated Parmesan.
At this point you can place the lasagna in the fridge and cook later that day or the next. (When doing this, make sure you bring the uncooked lasagna out of the fridge for an hour before cooking, so it isn’t stone cold going into the oven.) If you are eating straight away, place in a 180C oven for approximately 45 min to one hour until golden brown and bubbling.
Let stand for 20 minutes before serving. This helps the lasagna to re-solidify a bit and will be easier to portion and serve.
Now you can lie down and rest for a day or two.
It really is worth the effort.
Truly.
Serving Notes: Serves 12. Best served with a simple green salad and crusty bread of some kind.

A Cheergerm creation.

http://www.juliestafford.com.au/about-julie.php

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37 thoughts on “A Cheergerm gluten free roasted vegetable lasagna

  1. hip hip hoooray! Hope you stuck a candle in this incredible lasagne and made a wish – looks soooooo good. Intrigued by the apple in the sauce, may try this next time πŸ™‚

    • Thanks lovelh Mrs Hungry! A birthday is better than the alternative hey? This is really tasty, I think the apple adds a modicum of sweetness to counterbalance the acid of the tomatoes? That could be malarkey, just a guess! Peace out. 😊

  2. Love lasagne and this looks like a beauty! And I’m totally with you on the entertaining — the less I have to do after people arrive the better. BTW, am known in our household as the curry queen. πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks Mrs France! I adore a good curry as well. What’s your most popular? Now I have a lovely vision of us both swanning around before our guests arrive, knowing that the curry/lasagna/casserole/soup has already been prepared. In this vision we look gorgeous and we are wearing Gloria Swanson type turbans and gowns. Daaahhhhling……

      • Drinking bubbly out of a coupe? I love it! As for the curry, it’s according to my mood. My family enjoy the classic chicken masala but I like doing variations with fish, lamb, pork….veggies. We don’t get many authentic ingredients in our parts (like fresh curry leaves) so I’m faithful to Patak’s curry paste!

  3. There is nothing like a dish that is good for you yet temptingly unctuous πŸ™‚ I am enchanted by the lovely browned cheese on top. Looks like someone was treated to a lovely chocolate torte as well…

    • Oh yes, LM, melty cheesy goodness. It’s true, cheese can be enchanting. Luckily, one of my lovely sissies baked a gluten free cake and topped it with ganache. ☺️

  4. What a celebration! And massive efforts made on behalf of someone’s hugely lucky and truly loved little boy–plus some self-love thrown in. Necessary, indeed. I hope there was a crown in the pile of gifts you surely received. There is no doubt, I’d have you ruling over my kitchen kingdom in a heartbeat.
    Love the addition of the green apple – I’m curious to give it a try. Bet it brightens the sauce beautifully.
    Happy b-day, Cheergerm, to you and yours! Hands down, it looks as though it was wonderfully worthy.

    • Thanks a motza Mrs P! It was a lovely joint celebration….strangely enough, no crown, better go buy myself one. Too true, the Apple (why does my iPad insist on capitalising the word ‘Apple?’) does add a zing and a tad of sweetness. I think you are already Queen of the Kitchen….but I would be happy to visit and be your Royal Aide for a day! πŸ‘‘

  5. Lovin’ the idea of the added apple, not heard of that before. We’re well overdue a lasagne, will try to remember when the time comes. 🍏 Totally sold by the whole bulb of garlic, too! Have never roasted the veggies first, we fry, but roasted looks, and I bet tastes, so much better. Overall, looks like a truly delish dish, especially for joint birthday meal. And lucky you, having a fabuloso sister ready to contribute the table with a GF ganache cake. Yummy yummy, nom nom!!! Hope your weekend was as good as your meal!? (Wow, you’re 21 now? Heck, so old, you don’t look it!!! ☺️) xxoxx

    • Yes dearest, I hold my age well. Roasted garlic is the bomb, it loses any harshness and has a lovely mellow softness. It was a lovely birthday and the cake was super delicious as well. Lucky me! Hope you get to try this recipe (using vegan cheese of course!!) It is a very tasty lasagna, yes indeed you. Xxx 😘😘

  6. Ahhhh, yet another recipe that looks lovely, and I would love to make it and eat it, but the whole rest of my family will rebel. It’s my husband’s fault. He was raised on soggy broccoli and canned corn, with no salt, butter or garlic… nothing to make his veggies tasty. Now he sets the example for my children that it’s totally okay to eat no vegetables. I have to chop them up really tiny and put them in places they’ll never look.
    My son is better. He has actually tried the veggies I make, broiled brussels sprouts, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, squash (no one else will eat that), and knows they taste good, but husband and daughter? They will allow nothing green past their lips. I lie to them about the ingredients in their food. To this day, my husband thinks he hates onions. Ha! They’re in everything he eats.

    • You crack me up Naptime! You sound like Yu have two ‘die hard veggie haters’ in your midst. That’s pretty darned tricky my friend. Your son sounds a bit easier, it’s about just getting them to try a little bit which doesn’t always work, of course. My boys don’t overly love this lasagna but they will eat vegetarian versions of bolognese sauce and vegetarian tacos etc. They can still reel off a list of veggies that they hate. Rest assured that I too still hide veggies….I zshoosh them up in the food processor then add them to mince for my hamburger patties. Kid 1 swears he hates onions too…but they are in everything….even my cakes….nah, not really….I once made this uber healthy version of a ‘caramel mud cake’ using roasted sweet potato. It was hideous and the boys have never forgotten or forgiven…’remember the day when…’ maybe you could cook them that cake then the next time you serve something green, they will be really grateful it wasn’t that bloody awful cake! Or just make the lasagna for yourself, eat some, freeze the rest in ‘mummy naptime easy dinner nights when the rest of you can get look after yourselves’ portions. !?

  7. Heeeeeeey!!
    Well happy belated birthday love!!
    You weren’t kidding about the pictures but for something so supremely stated, I’d accept nothing else 😊😊
    All hail the queen πŸŽ‚πŸŽ‚

  8. I remember the Julie Stafford books. I have one of them tucked away somewhere. That lasagna looks delicious, Cheery. Hard work, but as you say, worth it.

  9. Pingback: Roasted baby carrots with cumin for Easter | The Cheergerm & the Silly Yak

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