Last night Man-thing and I went over to my dad’s with the hope of swimming with my little sister – alas the rain foiled our plans, but it was overall a good excuse to test out some recipes. Usually I am very hesitant to make food for my family because they are very fussy about what exactly constitutes a “full meal” when there isn’t meat in it. I decided to shore up some bravery and linked my dad to a wonderful looking sweet potato lasagna by the Mouth Watering Vegan (very appropriately named!) – something I’ve had on my mental to-do list for a long while now. I got the go ahead (with much shock) so it simply had to happen.
As always I made some changes. After reading up on what constitutes soy mince I’m a bit more hesitant to make that my first pit-stop when I can instead replace it with beans or a less “refined” form of protein. I won’t say no to a delicious spaghetti bolognese with soy mince, but if I can replace it I will, especially when I can use delicious beans and get a healthy dose of legumes, which I have to make a conscious effort to include in my diet.
Whilst I did make the “noodles” from sweet potatoes and zucchini as specified in the recipes for last night, as well as the cheeze sauce, I was left with a lot of leftovers (because I used a smaller round dish). I decided to make a sweet potato-free version for today’s lunch with the same filling, cheeze sauce, and some thinly sliced beetroot to top it off. Yum!
Therefore, please note that whilst I list the filling ingredients below because of the mass modifications, I have included the cheeze sauce ingredients for the sake of ease of reading, and not because I claim whatsoever any credit for that delicious part of the recipe. I urge everyone to bounce over to Miriam’s website and troll around for a few, bliss-packed hours. If I ever get a proper, full-time job again I am definitely buying one of her cookbooks!
Ingredients – serves 7-9 depending on who is eating
- 1/2 cup onions, finely chopped
- 1 small nib of ginger, grated (depends on how much you’d like to add, actually)
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 2.5 cups beans (I used a combination of cannelini beans and chickpeas)
- 1/2 cup woolworths vegan gravy, or homemade
- 1 TBSP nutritional yeast
- 2 large finely chopped tomatoes
- 2 cups coleslaw (that is, without the sauce – just the finely sliced cabbage and carrots)
- 1/3 cup corn kernels
- 1 cup green beans
- 2 TBSP cannelini beans
- 2 TBSP white wine
- 1 TBSP soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- cinnamon, tumeric and salt to taste
- 4 beetroot, peeled and sliced thinly (set aside for final stages)
- Blend your green beans, 2 TBSP white beans and wine until smooth.
- Add in half of your chopped tomatoes and blend til smooth.
- Keep in the blender or pour into another container – add the other half of your chopped tomatoes.
- Water sauté the onions and ginger until soft and translucent. Add in your ingredients except the gravy, coleslaw and sweet corn kernels. Simmer for 5 minutes with the lid on.
- Stir and add in the last of the ingredients, including your spices. Let it simmer for another 15 or so minutes with the lid on, stirring halfway.
- 2 cups soya milk
- 3 TBSP flour – I used 2 TBSP wholewheat flour and 1 TBSP rye flour
- 2 TBSP nutritional yeast (since I’d already used 1 TBSP in the filling itself)
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Big pinch salt
- 1 TBSP vegan margarine
- Splash of tumeric, paprika, white pepper, thyme
- 4-5 leaves fresh basil, washed and chopped finely (from our very own garden!) 😀
(Because this smaller dish wasn’t for my family I made it spicier)
- Place all ingredients in a stove-top pot and whisk vigorously
- Heat everything up, stirring constantly. Eventually you’ll feel the mixture gets thicker, after which you can lower the heat and keep stirring for a few minutes.
- I initially only used 2 TBSP flour but eventually took out a few spoonfuls of the sauce and mixed it with another 1 TBSP of flour and added that back in to thicken it up some more. Keep in mind that when the lasagna sets, if you’re not eating it straight out of the oven, then it will not be runny.
- If one eliminates spices then I find the flour makes the mixture very sweet (and obviously the milk), so taste and ensure it’s to your liking.
- Preheat oven to 180C and spray a large casserole dish (if using round, say 22cm in diameter and at least 5cm in height to negate any chances of the cheeze sauce splashing onto the oven floor)
- Spoon in the filling and pour 3/4 of your cheese sauce on top.
- Layer the top with slivers of beetroot until the whole top is covered, then pour on the rest of the cheeze sauce.
- Let bake in the oven for 45 or so minutes, until the top has become somewhat crispy.
Oh yum! 😀 Seriously. It’s not at all traditional in the sense of layers and what not, but I find the crispier top layer of beetroot gives this dish some bite. One can also layer the bottom of your dish with beetroot and fill in layers of sliced zucchini, but I wanted to keep it simple after the layered sweet potato attempt (which is equally delicious).
The best thing about beetroot is the magical colours it produces! I swirled my sauce around when I poured it over the beetroot layer and got some happy colours out of it. Vegan food usually means your eyes have something bright and festive to feast on, and this dish is no exception.
I paired this lunch noms with some tumeric-spiced quinoa and lots and lots of spinach and a salad. I am beyond stuffed (still recovering a few hours later!), so this really is a filling meal. If one also had to add actual pasta sheets to it I would be comatose from fullness! Plus I must admit lasagna sheets were never really my favourite – I always ate it just for the filling – so this hits all my spots. Rawr!