The best vegetable lasagna with white sauce. Lots of vegetables, a creamy bechamel, and cheese, a vegetarian 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?
I have been making lots and lots of different lasagnas over the years: classic with meat or its lighter version with yogurt, meatless recipes, some with roasted vegetables, some with lentils, chicken or turkey, noodle-free, and many other recipes I didn’t even get to post yet.
Lasagna was one of the first more elaborate dishes I cooked myself after moving to Germany. I am saying elaborate not because it’s difficult to make, it is really really easy, but because it does involve a few more steps than making just regular noodles.
You will indeed need a little more time and dedication than when making spaghetti with tomatoes, but the results are really worth it! This vegetable lasagna (or any other lasagna, as a matter of fact) is just wonderful!
How to make vegetable lasagna?
Prepare the vegetables, you will need roughly 750 g/ 1.6 lbs:
- 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 lasagna recipe uses veggies 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.
So, although I absolutely love to have mushrooms in this vegetarian lasagna with bechamel, mushrooms are still rather optional, use them if you have and like them or replace them with more of the other vegetable sorts.
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 for about 10 minutes.
- If using mushrooms, cook them in a separate pan, about 5 minutes or until golden.
Make white 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.
- Place a few tablespoons of bechamel into a buttered casserole dish and spread it all over the dish.
- Add no-boil pasta sheets.
- Spread 1/3 of the veggies to cover the pasta 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 + veggies + cheese and repeat once more.
- Finish with a layer of Parmesan or vegetarian hard cheese.
- Cook the in the preheated oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the cheese is golden, the pasta 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.
More hearty noodle bakes:
- Chicken and Bacon Pasta Bake
- Cheesy Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Leftover Turkey Noodle Casserole
- Baked Tortellini with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
- Light Cream Cheese Lasagna with Leftover Turkey
Vegetable Lasagna with White Sauce (or Bechamel Sauce)
- Casserole dish of about 30x20 cm/ 12x 8 inches
- 3 shallots
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 3 medium carrots the total weight of about 200 g/ 7 oz (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
- 1 1/3 cup frozen peas
- 3 cup chopped cremini mushrooms optional (See note 2)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes 400 g/ 14 oz each
- 1/2 cup water
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 9 no-boil lasagna sheets See note 4
- 2 mozzarella balls 125 g/ 4.4 oz each
- 1 cup freshly grated hard cheese Parmesan or vegetarian hard cheese
- a few gratings of nutmeg
- fine 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.If using mushrooms, wipe them clean with kitchen paper and slice them thinly. Set aside separated from the other vegetables.
- Defrost the peas.
- Cheese: Chop the mozzarella into cubes and grate the Parmesan. Set aside separately.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Saute: Heat 2 tablespoons of 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.
- Simmer: 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.
- Fry mushrooms: 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.
- White sauce: Place a few tablespoons of white sauce in the prepared casserole dish. Spread them all over the bottom of the dish.
- Pasta sheets: Add some lasagna sheets. I can use 3 sheets for each layer, but use as many as they fit in one layer without overlapping.
- Vegetable sauce: Cover with 1/3 of the vegetable sauce.
- Cheese: Add ½ of the mozzarella and 1/3 of the hard cheese on top. Cover with white sauce.
- Repeat twice. End with the last layer of grated hard cheese.
- Bake the lasagna in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and golden. Check if the noodles are cooked through by inserting a fork into the lasagna.
- Rest for about 10 minutes, cut into 12 squares, and serve with a green salad.
- You will need a total amount of about 750 g/ 1.6 lbs of vegetables
- You can vary the vegetables and the amounts you use according to what you have. For instance: eggplants, cauliflower, green beans, small fennel, parsnips, pumpkin or butternut squash, some celeriac, etc.
- The mushrooms can be replaced with more of the other vegetables if desired.
- 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.