As you know, I’m naturally drawn to spices; Indian and Middle Eastern food is what makes my belly happy and my soul excited, so I tend to fill my days with nothing but these delicious dishes (why not check out my favourite Indian
Inspired Fluffy Chickpea Omelettes created with Spiced Tomatoes) but it also means that sometimes I can forget just how delicious Mediterranean food can be. I particularly love Italian flavours – they are renowned for not only their quality cooking but by their ultimate passion and communal rituals and love they pour into every dish. They also utilise home-grown produce, (which is something that is super close to my heart) that is just bursting with fresh farm-to-table flavour and authenticity.
My heart (and belly) is often fond of a really good and rich tomato sauce, you know the kind, the ones that make you want to lick the plate clean and savour every last bountiful flavoursome forkful – especially when paired with a drizzle or two of a high quality olive oil and fresh sourdough – and… pizza… all the pizza… of course.
But it’s been absolutely years since I last ate or even made lasagne, so I just knew that had to change ASAP. Like a lot of Italian dishes, they are often evoked with fond memories, my mum used to make the most delicious lasagne and as I recreated that layer by layer, it reminded me just how therapeutic and delicious the combination of soft but with a slight bite al dente style pasta, melting and oozing ‘cheese’ sauces and a whole variation of seasonal veggies could be.
So I present to you my homage to the Italian classic – my own Vegan version of Lasagne packed with lots of vegetables, red lentils, a creamy ‘cheese’ sauce and to make it even more special I’ve layered it with the most deliciously fresh and zingy spinach and walnut pesto, that you are going to want to put on EVERYTHING!
I made this for my friends the other night after telling them all about my newest creation and they loved it just as much as I did! Phew! I can always rely on them to give honest (sometimes too honest) feedback, so I’m counting this one as a winner! This dish does take a little bit of time to make each component right, from the delectable and rich tomato and lentil filling, to the oozzzy cheesey sauce, but each step is super simple and oh so worth it.
You can even make this dish the night before – the flavours improve overnight as they soak into all the wonderful vegetables. Feel free to cook all the different elements the night before and assemble and bake on the day, or bake the day before and re-heat, both work just as well as each other. Unlike the majority of my dishes, this one doesn’t freeze that well. But portioned in the fridge and re-heated the next day works amazing, especially when served with a light and fresh salad.
And another bonus about this recipe is there are so many variations and substitutions you can make depending on your likes, preferences and available ingredients. If you are unable to eat or find onions, swap for leeks. Add in courgette, peppers or your favourite vegetables to bulk out the meatier sauce and get your five a day in one hit.
Swap the red lentils, for green, black or your favourite pulse. Swap out fresh basil, for any other fresh green leafy herb, or use spinach instead. And, of course, the dividing ingredient – mushrooms! This works just as well with or without them, personally I love the texture they give, but feel free to omit or replace with aubergine for the same textural mouth-feel if you aren’t a fungi fan.
I’d recommend making extra of your spinach and walnut pesto and to keep in the fridge. You can stir it into gnocchi, pasta or risotto, generously slather on top of freshly baked sourdough, or use as the base on a pizza bread. Or just eat it straight out of the jar, it can be our little secret!
If you like this recipe, why not give one of my other Italian inspired recipes a try?
My Pesto Risotto with Mushrooms and Roast Tomatois a delicious zingy dish packed full of sweet flavour and rich goodness.
Try this Spring Green Pizza with Kale Pesto and Purple Sprouting Broccolifor your next pizza night – it’s an absolute game changer, and makes eating greens so much more fun for the whole family.
I really hope you love this delicious dish as much as I do; make sure to post and tag with @rebelrecipes #rebelrecipes if you make this dish so I can see and repost your gorgeous creations!
Did you know that I have a new cookbook?
It's called Rebel Recipes and I'm so proud of it. If you like my recipes I know you'll love my cookbook - It took me over a year to develop (and years in the making) and it's packed with deliciously vibrant veg packed recipes!
Here's a sneak peak...
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