Vegan Lasagne

There are so many reasons why somebody may choose to stop purchasing and consuming animal products, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they dislike the taste of these things.  Particularly in the early days of veganism, the cravings for a sausage roll or cheese sandwich may be very strong.  While not a vegan myself, I’ve always found the “if you want a sausage just eat a sausage, why fake them?” argument particularly weak for this exact reason.  While there are many vegetable lasagne recipes out there, the point of this one is to be as close to the experience of a beef and cheese lasagne, but without any animal products.

The trick, of course, is to utilise that wonderful flavour type – umami.  While it’s taken a long time for umami to reach mainstream understanding but it’s almost there – perhaps better understood as “savoury,” it’s that unctuous, back of the tongue kind of taste.  Not salty, exactly, it’s the taste associated with things like mushroom soup, pastry and fish.  Importantly, it’s also very present in meat and cheese…oh dear, just those things you can’t really use in a vegan lasagne.  Luckily, there are plenty of other foods out there with glutamates (the compounds that help us to detect umami flavours) that we can use to simulate this meaty, cheesiness.

Ingredients

  • Dried Lasagne sheets
  • Vegan mince – 300g or so
  • Approx 400g lentils
  • 1 onion
  • 3-5 garlic cloves
  • Dried Oregano/basil/parsley (I forget to say, but add this to the sauce along with the lentils)
  • 5-6 small mushrooms
  • 1 carrot
  • 3-4 sundried tomatoes (plus oil)
  • 1kg passata/chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 2 tbsp sugar (preferably brown)
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil (sunflower, rapeseed, vegetable etc.)
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 300ml Vegan milk alternative (I used soya)
  • 300-400g vegan cheddar (I used coconut based)
  • 3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Black Pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tsp english mustard powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • Fresh parsley

 

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