Delicious and easy to make vegetarian lasagna recipe with white sauce. Lots of vegetables, a creamy bechamel sauce and cheese, a vegetable lasagna can hardly get any better.
It is cold around here! A little snow, not much, but bitter cold. Perfect time for comfort food and what can be more comforting than a vegetable lasagna with white sauce and lots of cheese?
Vegetarian lasagna recipe with white sauce
I have been making lots and lots of different lasagnas over the years: classic lasagna with meat sauce or its lighter version, meatless lasagna recipes, some with roasted vegetables, some with lentils, chicken or turkey lasagna, noodle-free lasagna and many other lasagna recipes I didn’t even get to post yet.
I love all kinds of lasagna, I almost never had one I didn’t like. Except for the first one I have ever had: a classic lasagna bolognese I ate in the restaurant of a hotel I used to work in in my early 20’s on the island of Malta.
Lasagna noodles weren’t available in my home country Romania while I was growing up, so I had only heard of lasagna and dreamt about getting to try it myself some day.
But this “Malta lasagna” was such a disappointment. A dish that was regularly served to the hotel guests, so I was pretty shocked at how bad it was: an unrecognizable solidified noodle square on your plate, gray with streaks of brown, tasteless and somehow bready… I could not imagine how the hotel guests could take that without complaining.
But moving forward, lasagna was one of the first more elaborate dishes I cooked myself after moving to Germany. I am saying elaborate not because lasagna is difficult to make, it is really really easy, but because it does involve a few more steps than making just regular noodles with sauce.
You will indeed need a little more time and dedication than when making spaghetti with tomato sauce, but the results are really worth it! This vegetable lasagna with white sauce (or any other lasagna, as a matter of fact) is just wonderful!
The inspiration for this vegetarian lasagna recipe came from a German cooking show, where a famous German TV-cook (Frank Rosin) was teaching some rather bad canteen cooks how to cook a tasty vegetarian meal, more precisely a meal that didn’t come from a pack, can or bucket. I scribbled down some notes during the show and made the lasagna a few days later.
That must have been at least 3 or 4 years ago and I am still making this recipe, it is that good.
How to make vegetable lasagna with bechamel sauce
1. Prepare the vegetables, you will need roughly 750 g/ 1.6 lbs vegetables
- chop the shallots and the garlic clove, set aside separately
- clean and chop the carrots, bell peppers and zucchini into small cubes
- divide the broccoli into small florets (I often use only the stalk of the broccoli and keep the florets for a salad or a side dish)
- defrost the peas
- if using mushrooms, clean and slice them
This meatless lasagna recipe uses vegetables that I have in my fridge or freezer all the time: carrots, peppers, broccoli, peas and very often zucchini. I often use mushrooms, but as fresh mushrooms don’t keep that long in the fridge, I don’t always have them. Not to mention that my kids hate mushrooms…
So, although I absolutely love to have mushrooms in this vegetable lasagna with white sauce, mushrooms are still rather optional, use them if you have and like them or replace them with more of the other vegetable sorts.
2. Cook the vegetables:
- heat the oil and cook the shallots and then the garlic
- add the remaining vegetables, except for the mushrooms if using, and continue cooking until they are softer, about 8 minutes
- add the chopped canned tomatoes, stir well and cook the vegetable sauce for about 10 minutes
- if using mushrooms, cook them in a separate pan, about 5 minutes or until golden
3. Make the white sauce or bechamel sauce:
- melt the butter in a small saucepan
- sprinkle the flour on top and stir for 1 or 2 minutes or until golden
- slowly start adding the milk while whisking all the time to avoid the formation of clumps, let bubble gently for a few minutes
- adjust the taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg
4. Assemble the vegetable lasagna with bechamel sauce:
- give a few tablespoons white sauce into a buttered casserole dish and spread the sauce all over the dish
- add no-boil lasagna sheets
- add 1/3 of the vegetable sauce to cover the lasagna sheets
- add ½ of the chopped mozzarella and 1/3 of the grated Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative)
- top with more white sauce
- continue this way: white sauce + noodles + vegetable sauce + cheese and repeat once more
- finish with a layer of Parmesan or vegetarian hard cheese
Cook the vegetarian lasagna with white sauce in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the cheese is golden, the lasagna sheets cooked through and the sauce is bubbling.
Leave to rest for about 10 minutes, this will allow the layers to settle nicely and the lasagna will be easier to cut and serve.
Serve with a green salad.
- 3 shallots
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 carrots (See note 1 and 2)
- 2 red or yellow bell peppers
- 1 medium zucchini
- ½ broccoli (or use only broccoli stems if you have leftovers)
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ about 1 1/3 cup frozen peas
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ about 2 2/3 cups chopped cremini mushrooms, optional (See note 2)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes (400 g/ 14 oz each)
- 125 ml/ 4.2 fl.oz/ ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 50 g/ 1.7 oz/ scant ¼ cup butter
- 50 g/ 1.7 oz/ scant ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 750 ml/ 25.3 fl.oz/ 3 cups milk
- 9 no-boil lasagna sheets, about 200 g/ 7 oz (See note 4)
- 2 mozzarella balls (125 g/ 4.4 oz each)
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz freshly grated Parmesan or vegetarian hard cheese
- a few gratings of nutmeg
- sea salt and pepper
Peel and finely chop the shallots and the garlic. Keep separately.
Clean the vegetables. Cut the carrots, bell peppers, zucchini into small cubes. Set aside in a bowl.
Divide the broccoli into small florets and chop the broccoli stem into small cubes as well. Give to the rest of the vegetables.
If using mushrooms, wipe them clean with kitchen paper and slice them thinly. Set aside separated from the other vegetables.
Defrost the peas.
Chop the mozzarella into cubes and grate the Parmesan or vegetarian alternative. Set aside separately.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan. Cook the shallots until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the sugar and stir for another minute or until slightly caramelized.
Add the chopped vegetables, except the mushrooms, and cook for about 8 minutes or until softer. Stir well a few times in between. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, dried herbs and lemon juice. Stir well, bring to a boil and simmer the sauce for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened.
In the meantime, cook the mushrooms, if using. Heat the remaining oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms until golden and until all the juices they have released are evaporated.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir for 1 or 2 minutes until lightly golden. Slowly start adding the milk while whisking all the time to avoid the formation of clumps. Let the sauce simmer for 2 or 3 minutes while whisking or stirring continuously. Adjust the taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Assemble the lasagna:
Butter a rectangular casserole dish of about 30x20 cm/ 12x 8 inches.
You should have 3 layers of noodles and you should finish with a layer of Parmesan.
Give a few tablespoons white sauce to the prepared casserole dish. Spread them all over the bottom of the dish. Add some lasagna sheets. I can use 3 sheets for each layer, but use as many as they fit in one single layer without overlapping.
Cover with 1/3 of the vegetable sauce. Add ½ of the mozzarella and 1/3 of the Parmesan on top. Cover with white sauce.
Repeat twice. End with a last layer of grated Parmesan.
Bake the lasagna in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until bubbling and golden. Check if the noodles are cooked through by inserting a fork into the lasagna. Leave to rest for about 10 minutes, cut into 12 squares and serve with green salad.
Note 1: You will need a total amount of about 750 g/ 1.6 lbs vegetables
Note 2: You can vary the vegetables and the amounts you use according to what you have. For instance: eggplants, cauliflower, green beans, a small fennel, parsnips, pumpkin or butternut squash, some celeriac etc.
Note 3: The mushrooms can be replaced with more of the other vegetables, if desired.
Note 4: I am using 9 sheets of the standard no-boil German lasagna sheets. Use more or less according to the size of the lasagna sheets, you should have 3 layers of noodles.