Every now and again, it’s good to have a meat free night. A good vegetarian meal is hard to find. I’m so sick of people turning things into patties and saying “wallah, it’s vegetarian”. This is a great recipe, where every part can easily be converted over for those hardcore vegans as well. Most importantly, though, is it’s yummy.
- “Mince” Sauce
- finely minced onion
- finely minced garlic
- fresh chopped tomato
- Tomato cooking sauce
- Tomato Paste
- Shredded carrot
- chopped cauliflower florets
- chopped baby spinach
- Basil, Oregano, Salt and Pepper to taste.
- broccoli Pasta Sheets
- Eggplants – sliced lengthwise
- zucchini – sliced lengthwise
- butternut pumpkin – sliced lengthwise
- Mushrooms – sliced lengthwise
- Bechamel sauce
- mix of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
- Pre-bake vegetables (eggplants, zucchini, mushrooms and pumpkin) by laying them flat on a pan with a light spray of oil for 30 minutes in a pre-heated 200* (fan force) oven
- Make sauce:
- Fry onion and garlic until translucent
- Add chopped tomato, paste and cooking sauce and boil till thick.
- Add carrot and cauliflower florets and simmer down for ten minutes
- Add spinach leaves and remove from heat.
- In tray, start with a layer of liquid sauce to maintain moisture at bottom, then place a layer of pasta
- Begin alternating layers of vegetables and pasta, ensuring that each layer has some sauce and cheese to maintain the moisture.
- When you reach the top layer, smother with bechamel sauce & cheese.
- Cover the tray in foil and place in a pre-heated 180*C oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove the foil and return for another ten minutes or until the cheese layer is golden uniformly golden brown.
Alternatives & notes
- I like to put the spinach in the sauce, but am aware a few people I have given this recipe to in the past like to make it a feature layer of it’s own. This is purely up to you.
- Vegetables are seasonal, and everyone has their own tastes. Try sweet potato intead of pumpkin, or drop the pumpkin entirely.
- Broad beans are a nice touch to the sauce when they are in season
- If you’re wanting to vegan-ise the recipe, try mashed potato instead of bechamel sauce for the topping
- A friend has suggested utilising “nutmeat” as a mince for the sauce … but I just can’t do it.