Monday, June 4, 2012

Vegetarian Lasagna with Sage Bechamel Sauce

This sounds a lot fancier than it is.  I made this for a couple of friends who came over for dinner.  They are both cutting out a lot of meat from their diets.  One of my friends was pregnant and a little sensitive to strong tasting things; I'll tell you what I did and I'll also add in what you can do to add some more punch.  This was a big hit without the extra garlic and without any onion, so keep that in mind.  This is a very comforting, easy dish to make.  Both of my friends liked this dish a lot (which was a relief, since it was my first time making it and let's face it, I improvised).

For the lasagna:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 box (or 1 1/2 boxes) of no cook lasagna noodles (sue me, I'm lazy and I always destroy the noodles when I cook them first).
  • 1 16-oz package of frozen cubed butternut squash
  • 1 10-oz package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup of chopped fresh mushrooms or 1 cup of dried mushrooms reconstituted in hot water and chopped (save the mushroom stock for another use)
  • 1 clove of garlic (or if you want a stronger taste, use two to four cloves of garlic), minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (I left this out due to the whole "lets avoid the strong taste" thing since torturing my friends when they are gestating children is not high on my list of enjoyable activities)
  • 1 lb of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the white sauce:

  • 4 tbsp of flour
  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 4 cups of milk (I used skim)
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh or frozen sage leaves (you could probably use a teaspoon or two of dried)
  • Pinch of nutmeg

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread thawed squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil, and bake for about 20 minutes or so, until tender.  Meanwhile, saute garlic in olive oil over medium heat until translucent, add spinach and mushrooms, and allow to cook through until warm.  Set vegetables aside.

For the sauce, melt the butter over a low heat, add the flour, stir to make a paste.  Add the milk, and heat over medium heat.  Add a pinch of nutmeg and the sage.  Stir/whisk constantly until the milk gets very thick. Do not let it boil.

Spread a thin layer of the bechamel sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan.  Place noodles over it to cover.  Add 1/2 vegetable mixture and a little less than 1/2 of the cheese, then enough sauce to cover in a thin layer.  Repeat layers (this made me two layers).  Spread the rest of the sauce over the top layer of noodles, add remaining cheese.  Cook in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.

This goes well with a salad.

Dessert was basically vanilla frozen yogurt topped with homemade rhubarb and strawberry jam.



  1. Mmmm... that sounds good. I actually prefer vegetarian lasagna over a meat version. When I do use meat, I like to use the sweet Italian turkey sausage. It's lighter and allows the other flavors to come forth. And I like to substitute one layer of the pasta with sliced eggplant or zucchini, for even more veggies. Your recipe sounds delish. I'll give it a try the next time I do lasagna.

  2. God, THANK YOU for this. I have a tough time cooking for my vegetarian friends already, and now one of them is pregnant with crazy nonstop morning sickness. She's coming over for dinner tomorrow night. A mild, vegetarian, no-tomato lasagne was just what I had in mind, but the internet is NOT overflowing with options. I will try yours and report back!

    1. I'm glad to help--let me know how it goes! I made this again recently but didn't have any sage onhand and so used a cube of pesto in the white sauce.