This aubergine lasagne is absolutely glorious. Salty, umami and flavourful – this savoury vegetable lasagne sure to be a hit in any household. It will have you coming back for seconds… and quite possibly thirds.
Let’s all agree, lasagne is the ultimate pasta bake. In my mind nothing comes close to the king of all carbalicious oven dishes. There’s nothing quite like biting through layers of smooth pasta sandwiched between tart tomato sauce. It’s almost a tradition now that I have to burn the roof of my mouth on the hot cheese topping because I can’t wait any longer.
This vegan aubergine lasagne was a mad invention of a Saturday night where i was simply craving carbs. I normally make my vegan lasagne filling the layers with my vegan bolognese recipe. But on this occasion the pantry had none of the ingredients I was after. Instead it yielded nothing a mass of aubergines I’d stockpiled for recipe testing later in the week.
Undeterred in my desire for squares of chewy lasagne I devised this delicious aubergine sauce. It’s quite heavenly and honestly I could eat it just on its own. It has to be up there with one of my favourite aubergine recipes.
I can’t recommend this recipe enough. If you’re looking for a veggie lasagne recipe that’s next level on the flavour chart, this is for you.
How to make aubergine lasagne
I often find vegetable lasagnes can be watery and bland. In general people tend to just throw a load of veggies into a tomato sauce and hope for the best. What you have to remember is that tomato sauce is quite overpowering. I mean I love it, but if you’re not careful it tends to make everything taste of … well tomato.
Why this aubergine lasagne is so tasty is that we purposely want to make the aubergine pieces super salty and umami before they go into the sauce. This way the aubergines will improve the tomato sauce and not be overpowered by it.
In order to do this we need to cook the aubergines off first with some powerful aromatics, in our case soy sauce and smoked paprika. Cooking the aubergines in a thick combination of oil, salt and spices makes it turn into something almost “meaty”. I add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to a frying pan and chuck in the cubed aubergines with some garlic to reduce and soften a little. Then tip in the tomato paste, smoked paprika, soy sauce and oregano and fry on high until they turn a wonderful spicy red. Honestly at this point if you’re to tired to make the veggie lasagne you can just have these fried aubergines on toast. They taste that good!
The next key step to making our aubergine lasagne taste 1 million times better than a normal veggie lasagne is the layering. After you’ve made your fried aubergine tomato sauce and your thick and gloopy white sauce it’s time to layer up. Now the key is to have at least 3 layers of pasta. Many people go crazy on the filling and add too much sauce and then run out to achieve a good towering lasagne. The pasta layers are key to giving you that chewy bite to the lasagne, so when I’m making lasagne I aim for 4 – 5 layers each with thin layers of sauce in between. Don’t worry if you think the sauce layer looks too thin – once it’s pilled on top of each you’ll have plenty of sauce to bathe that pasta in!
Finally we want to top off this beast with a goood helping of cheese. Now you can use vegan cheese (or dairy if you’re making it vegetarian) that you’ve bought from the supermarket. But honestly it’ll be much more satisfying and delicious if you make your own. My easy vegan cheese recipe goes perfectly as a topping and you’ll have enough leftover for a greasy pizza or two. Check out my amazing baking-tray pizza recipe here.
Other delicious vegetable lasagne ideas
So you want to dabble with other veggies in your lasagne. I don’t blame you, its a one-stop shop for making those veggies taste delicious. However, as I said at the start it’s very easy to just make those veggies all start to taste the same when you’ve put it into the lasagne sauce. So here’s a few ideas for how you can spice up your vegetable lasagnes with a few different sauces.
With all of the following sauce combos cook off the aromatic veggies (garlic/onion) first in 50 ml of olive oil then add the rest of the ingredients, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until thick and delicious.
- Spicy harissa sauce – 2 cans of plum tomato, 1 tablespoon harissa, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 head of chopped garlic, 1 onion. Works great with veggies like courgettes that are a little bland and watery.
- Miso and lemon white lasagne sauce – 2 tablespoons white miso, 100g soaked cashews blended with 200ml water, juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, 4 cloves garlic. Works great as a zany sauce that you can use with brassicas like broccoli.
- Red wine sauce – 200ml red wine, 2 cans plum tomato, 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme, 1 tsp dried oregano, 4 cloves garlic, 1 onion. Works great with root veggies like carrots that need a little oomph to bring them out.
Hopefully this inspires you to do more than just wack all the veggies into the lasagne sauce. If you come up with a new combo I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
When is aubergine in season
The quintessential summer vegetable, aubergine is in season from late July until early October. Outside these months you can switch up for other veggies. See the section above for some more ideas on different takes on the classic vegetable lasagne.
This meal is around % less polluting than the average UK meal.
- Eating this recipe will save around KG CO2e per person.
- That’s equivalent to the emissions produced driving KM in a modern car.
- 5 Large Aubergines (chopped into 1cm cubes)
- 1 Head Garlic (peeled and cloves finely chopped)
- 2 (400g) Cans Plum Tomatoes
- 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
- 4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 250 g Lasagne Sheets
- 200 g Easy Homemade Vegan Cheese (or 200g store bought vegan cheese, grated)
- 50 g Margarine or Vegan Butter
- 50 g Plain Flour
- 50 g Nutritional Yeast
- 2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- 450 ml Plant Milk
- Preheat your oven to 180°c/360°f (fan oven).
- If your are making the homemade vegan cheese for the topping go ahead an prep now, following this recipe. You can just use store bought cheese if your time poor.
- Now prep the white sauce. Melt the 50g of margarine/vegan butter in a small saucepan. Once melted add in the 50g of flour and whisk together. Cook the combined flour mixture for about 30 seconds. Now slowly pour in the 400ml of plant milk whisking into the flour as you pour.
- Once all of the milk has been tipped into the pan add the 50g of nutritional yeast and 2 teaspoons of dijon mustard. Whisk to combine into the sauce and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the sauce has nicely thickened. Remove from the heat and season to taste.
- Now we can make the aubergine filling. Heat the 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Toss in the 5 cubed aubergines, 1 head of diced garlic and 4 tablespoons of soy sauce. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the aubergine begins to soften.
- Pour in the 1 tsp of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika and 3 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir well to combine with the aubergine. Cook the aubergines for a further 5 minutes until they are very soft ad completely coated in the tomato sauce.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the plum tomatoes. Crush any large pieces of plum tomatoes so that the sauce has an even consistency. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
- Pour enough aubergine tomato sauce into a 12inchx8inch oven dish to cover the bottom. Top the tomato sauce with a generous ladle of the white sauce. Next arrange a layer of lasagne sheets to cover the white sauce. Now spoon on another layer of tomato sauce and repeat layering process until you have a further two layers of pasta.
- On the top layer of pasta spoon over the final serving of aubergine, then the white sauce and finally top with an even coating of vegan cheese. If you are using the homemade cashew cheese spoon a thick layer over the white sauce and gently smooth to ensure even coverage.
- Place the prepared lasagne into the preheated over and bake for 40 minutes until the pasta is soft and the cheese topping the lasagne has melted evenly and taken some colour.