The amazing thing about being plant-based is trying to figure out how to replicate your favourite meat dishes and then tasting the plant-based version and not even thinking about meat!!
Thanks to Woolworths for stocking Beyond Mince, and my uncle Pete for sharing his vegan béchamel recipe. If you can’t find Beyond Mince, you can substitute soya mince or lentils.
For the Vegan Bolognese:
2 tbsp cooking olive oil
400g of Beyond Mince
2 brown onions, chopped
2 large carrots, grated
2 large celery sticks, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 bay leaf
1 red chili, chopped
1 sachet of tomato paste
1 cup (250ml) of red wine
180 ml of veg stock
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tins of Italian whole tomatoes
1 tsp of sugar (Xylitol, coconut)
Sea salt and Black pepper
Small bunch of thyme and rosemary
1 small handful of Basil, torn
3 baby marrows, grated
1 Box Gluten free lasagna sheets
For the Vegan & GF Béchamel:
125ml Olive Oil
125g flour (I used brown rice flour)
1 Litre Plant-based milk (I used soya)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic power
Generous amount of ground black pepper
Serves 4 people (enough for 2 big meals)
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 4 hours
In a food processor (with the blade attachment) chop the onions, garlic, chili and celery, then grate the carrots. On high heat, place the pot and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add all the vegetables- fry for 5-10 minutes or until they are nice and soft and the kitchen is smelling beautiful (make sure they don’t burn). Add the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the mince in stages- this makes it more manageable and stops the mince from boiling. Use a wooden spoon and break up the mince until there are no big chunks. Cook for 7 minutes . Then add the wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the stock and cook for another 3 minutes. I like my sauce quite liquidy, so add more stock if need be. Then add the tinned tomato, sugar, balsamic, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary and turn the heat down, simmer for 1-3 hours (the longer the meat cooks the richer the flavour). Don’t forget to taste and stir continuously and adjust seasoning to your taste. Once cooked, add the grated baby marrow and turn off the heat.
When the mince has 20 minutes left to cook, turn the oven onto 180 degrees celsius and place a sauce pan on medium heat. Add the olive oil and the flour and stir continuously for 3-5 minutes, until there are no lumps. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly – a great arm workout! Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, black pepper and sea salt and stir until combined. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to a simmer until the béchamel thickens to the consistency of custard. It should stick to the spoon.
Now for the fun bit – layering the lasagna.
In a rectangular oven-proof dish, lay the sauce, then béchamel, then lasagne sheets. The recipe makes enough for 3 layers, make sure you leave enough béchamel for the top layer. Sprinkle some paprika on the béchamel layer.
Place in the middle of the oven and cook for 50 minutes. Top with fresh basil and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast and enjoy with a nice glass of red wine.