Crunchy, cheesy and intensely savoury this Aubergine Lasagne with puy lentils & walnuts is an attractive alternative to the traditional meat-laden lasagne. Complete with a crunchy golden mozzarella topping.
We'll start with a little nugget of information. My sister informed me that this dish is "delicious, but not really a lasagne". Her reasoning? Because it was round?! How's that for some ridiculousness, as least she enjoyed eating it.
It's been a little while since I've popped up a recipe for an outstanding (if I may say so myself, which I DO) vegetarian take on a meat dish. The recipes for my whole roasted cauliflower and vegan doner kebab are my two most popular by far, so I'm glad to be adding this vegetarian lasagne recipe to the collection. This recipe is probably my favourite recipe of the lot on The Accidental Chef so far.
On we go with this eggplant lasagna, shall we?
This vegetarian lasagne is full of flavours that firstly, I love and secondly work wonderfully together. Of course, it's not a meaty beef lasagne, and there's not bechamel insight, but this take on the lasagne is absolutely fabulous. To make it, you'll need:
From the fridge:
- 2 aubergines
- half a lemon
- 125g mozzarella
- 200g cheddar
From the pantry:
- A large splash of olive oil
- 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1 finely chopped onion
- half a tablespoon chilli flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme (see note below about this),
- 2 tins plum tomatoes
- 280g packet of ready-cooked puy lentils (I use, and highly recommend Merchant Gourmet* brand. I've included an affiliate link meaning I will earn a small commission if you choose to purchase these lentils, at no additional cost to you)
- 6 lasagne sheets (although that will really depend on the size of your dish)
- Salt + Pepper
This recipe is QUITE thyme-y, but I think it works really well. If you're less of a fan of thyme than I, then you could replace half a tablespoon of the dried thyme, with dried oregano or basil.
This aubergine lasagne is high in protein, calcium and zinc. It's pretty low in fat too, considering we're layering cheese. This recipe serves six people and will come in around 492 calories per portion. Cost-wise you're looking at about £1.12 per portion if shopping at Tesco (prices correct at time of publishing).
Top Tips + FAQ
Steam the Aubergines for 25 minutes before you get on with the rest of the recipe. Suppose you don't have a steamer place a colander or sieve over a pan of boiling water and rest a pan lid on top to trap the steam. Allow them to cool slightly before slicing in half lengthways and scooping out the flesh.
Listen, you can make a bechamel sauce or white sauce if you really want, but layers of cheddar work wonderfully in this, and it saves on the washing up. I've also tried this with cottage cheese, as suggested in the comments by a reader. It worked an absolute treat alongside the cheddar and mozzarella
Pre-cooked puy lentils make this recipe an absolute breeze. Of course, you could cook your own ahead of time and use those for this recipe instead.
I love PASTA (as mentioned over in my recent Prawn Linguine recipe), but there's no need to be a pasta snob. If you have fresh lasagne sheets kicking around, use them, they will make layering much prettier. Having said that, dried sheets work perfectly here. There is no need to pre-cook them, snap and layer up.
The best way to layer is aubergine, tomato, lentil mix, cheddar, lasagne sheet and then back to aubergine. When you reach the top, arrange any remaining cheddar and then all of the mozzarella. The mozzarella will go golden and delicious.
In short, yes. You can assemble this a day or two in advance, and it will keep fine. It will also keep well after cooked; the flavours really meld together well as it cools - so you can cook a day in advance and reheat. Just make sure it's hot all the way through before serving.
This veg lasagne recipe has become something a rarity in our house, as it's now in a meal rotation that doesn't ordinarily exist when you're constantly developing new recipes. Each time we make it, we make little tweaks, to try and improve it, which isn't easy because it's delicious. What we have found though is that you can make additions to the cheese layers. Ricotta cheese or cottage cheese (as suggested in the comments below) make fabulous additions to this puy lentil lasagne, adding just a little bit more creaminess in the middle layers.
More Meat-Free Dinner Recipes
- Creamy, Vegan Cabbage Pasta
- Super, Speedy Prawn Linguine
- 20-minute Lentil Balls
- Satay Sweet Potato Curry
- Vegan Chilli Con Carne
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- 2 Aubergines
- 4 tablespoons oil
- 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 onion finely chopped
- ½ tablespoon chilli flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 2 cans plum tomatoes
- 280 g puy lentils already cooked
- ½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- juice of half a lemon
- 50 g walnuts
- 6 dried lasagne sheets*
- 125 g Mozzarella
- 200 g Cheddar grated
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Put the aubergines in a colander, place a pan lid on top, and place the colander over the water. Steam the aubergines for 25 minutes, turning halfway through.
- Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
- Allow the aubergines to cool slightly, cut in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh. Finely chop the flesh and set aside.
- Heat oil over medium heat, add finely chopped garlic, onion and aubergine, add thyme** and chilli flakes. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add plum tomatoes and break up with a spoon. Add lentils, balsamic vinegar, juice of half a lemon and chopped walnuts.
- Season well, stir and let simmer for 15 minutes.
- While the sauce is simmering grate the cheddar and slice mozzarella.
- In an ovenproof dish layer sauce, grated cheese and then lasagne sheets. Repeat until you're out of the sauce.
- Scatter mozzarella on top, and cook for 25 - 30 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and golden.
- Remove from the oven, scatter over a few more chilli flakes and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.