Vegan Mushroom Lasagna
This ultra creamy and savoury vegan mushroom lasagna tastes like it requires hours of labour and love to come together, but actually requires very little fussiness, time or effort. Best of all - aside from mushrooms - it requires a minimal amount of fresh ingredients.
The secret weapon of this lasagna is the mushroom béchamel sauce. The first step calls for the cooking down of (a lot of) mushrooms in shallots, garlic, thyme and wine. The mushrooms are then stirred into a nutmeg and pepper-forward bechamel sauce, which when combined with the mushrooms create layers of flavour, creaminess and bite between each set of lasagna sheets. This filling makes up the entirety of the flavouring in the lasagna, so you want to make sure it’s heavily seasoned and deeply savoury before you start layering the lasagna. Taste, taste a little more and continue to taste as you make it.
I tend to use oatly barista when making the béchamel, as its fattiness and creaminess closely replicates whole milk here, but it does have a layer of sweetness to it which means I tend to add more salt than I would if were using a different type of plant based milk. Adjust the recipe based on which milk you’re using and again, taste as you go.
3 tbsp (45ml) olive oil
4 shallots (around 200g) finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 kg button, chestnut or portobello mushrooms, finely sliced
1 tsp salt
2 sprigs fresh thyme
80ml white wine
100g plant based butter
100g plain flour
1.2 litres plant based milk
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp (20g) nutritional yeast
⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground black pepper
500g lasagna sheets
200g plant based mozzarella, optional
40g plant based parmesan, optional
Preheat the oven to 200˚C fan/210˚C conventional.
Start by preparing the mushrooms. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan, over medium heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt to the pan, and sauté them for 7-8 minutes, until soft. Add the sliced garlic and continue to sauté the shallots for 5-6 more minutes.
Raise the heat to medium high and add the sliced mushrooms to the pan along with a big pinch of salt.
Cook the mushrooms down for 20-22 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has reduced and evaporated and some of the mushrooms have crisped. If the pan you’re using can’t fit all of the mushrooms, add as many as can fit, cook them down for 5-6 minutes and continue to add more mushrooms as they decrease in volume.
Add the thyme and white wine, and cook the mushrooms for 5-6 more minutes, until the wine reduces. Taste the mushrooms for seasoning and adjust to taste.
Next, prepare the béchamel. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour, and whisk it into the butter to make a roux. Cook the butter and flour for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
Lower the heat and whisk in 200ml of plant based milk. Once the milk has been incorporated, whisk in 200ml more of milk. Once incorporated again, whisk in 400ml of milk. Next, whisk in the remaining 400ml of milk and 1 tsp of salt.
Raise the heat to medium, and stir the bechamel constantly for 8-10 minutes as it thickens. Once thickened, stir in the nutritional yeast, nutmeg, and black pepper.
Next, fold the mushrooms into the bechamel. Taste for seasoning and adjust to taste - the mushroom béchamel should be extremely savoury, so add an extra pinch of salt or two if necessary.
Next, assemble the lasagna. Spread a large ladleful of béchamel onto the bottom of a baking dish. Top the bechamel with a single layer of lasagna sheets.
Top the lasagna sheets with two ladlefuls of bechamel and spread it evenly over the sheets - leaving no areas uncoated. Repeat the process for 4-5 layers, ending with a layer of béchamel.
Use your hands to shred the mozzarella apart and spread it evenly over the béchamel. Grate the parmesan and sprinkle it over the béchamel and mozzarella. If you’re not using plant based cheeses, drizzle the top of the lasagna with olive oil.
Bake the lasagna for 35-40 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown throughout. Let it cool for 10 minutes before slicing it and serving it.
by Valentina Concordia
Valentina is our Food Editor, who dreams up our tasty dishes and recipes for our social channels. She has loads of experience cooking up a storm in Italian kitchens, so it’s no surprise she can’t live without good-quality olive oil (don’t come between her and her olive oil) and fresh pasta.