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Vegan Lasagne

Vegan lasagne
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Try this virtuous main idea from Áine Carlin

RED LENTIL & SPINACH LASAGNE

Serves 4-6

YOU WILL NEED
For the lentil layers
* 1 tbsp oil
* 1 onion, finely diced
* 1 carrot, finely diced
* 1 parsnip, finely diced
* 1 sprig rosemary leaves, finely chopped
* 250g red lentils
* 1 vegetable stock cube
* salt and freshly ground
* black pepper

For the pasta and spinach layers
* 200g spinach
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 9 lasagne sheets
* freshly grated nutmeg, to season

For the béchamel sauce
* 30g vegan butter
* 4 tbsp flour
* 300ml soya milk
* 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
* 1 tsp Dijon mustard
* 1 tsp cider vinegar

METHOD
1
Heat the oil in a medium, heavy-based saucepan. Season and cook the vegetables gently for several minutes until soft. Add the rosemary and cook for a further 5 minutes.
2 Stir in the lentils and cover with cold water. Add stock, bring to a gentle simmer and stir frequently to prevent the lentils from sticking. Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, top up with water until the lentils are cooked (15–20 minutes). Set aside.
3 Preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas mark.
4 Blanch the spinach for several minutes until it is just wilted. Remove with a slotted spoon and press firmly to release any excess water.
5 In the same pan, add the olive oil before dropping in the lasagne sheets. Cook the sheets until they are al dente, but be careful not to overcook. Drain, rinse with cold water and set aside until needed.
6 For the sauce, melt the butter in a pan and add the flour, stirring until it thickens. Add half the soya milk, stirring constantly until smooth. Season, add the nutmeg, mustard, vinegar and remaining milk. Cook until smooth and glossy, stirring occasionally – add a little more milk or water if it becomes too thick.
7 To assemble the lasagne, arrange the spinach in the base of a lightly greased 19cm baking dish. Season with pepper and nutmeg and pour over one-third of the béchamel sauce. Place three lasagne sheets on top, then half the lentil mixture, a further three lasagne sheets, the remaining lentils and finally the last sheets of pasta. Pour over the rest of the béchamel and a generous grating of nutmeg.
8 Bake for 20–25 minutes until the top begins to bubble and turns golden. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe from Keep it Vegan by Áine Carlin, out now and published by Kyle Books. Photography by Ali Allen.

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