A simple vegetable lasagne, packed with all sorts of summer vegetables, and an ultra cheesy, creamy sauce. And it only takes 30 minutes to prepare!
Hellooo, best meal ever! Lasagne is pretty much always amazing, but this... this summer vegetable lasagne was quite possibly the best I've ever made.
Heaps of different summer vegetables, a super creamy cheese sauce, layers of pasta, and a crispy cheese topping... it doesn't get better than that.
Rather than trying to mimic the meat that you usually find in lasagne, I decided to skip it altogether. This is a very veg-heavy lasagne - there's no need to add anything else, when the vegetables on their own bring heaps of flavour and texture to the cheesy pasta.
If anyone ever claims that vegetables aren't flavourful, or that they need lots of additional flavours to bring them to life... make them this summer vegetable lasagne. It shows just how varied veggies can be. When they're paired with a simple creamy pasta dish, their flavour is able to shine through. It's irresistible.
I tried to use as many different colours and textures as I could - crunchy peppers, soft courgette, sweet corn kernels, earthy mushrooms, juicy tomatoes... They add up to one delicious lasagne, let me tell you.
Summer vegetable lasagne
The recipe starts by cooking off lots of different veggies. I used:
- red pepper
- courgette (zucchini)
- cherry tomatoes
All of these vegetables are in season throughout the summer, so they pair together perfectly. These particular veg give the lasagne a slightly Mediterranean feel.
What other vegetables can you use in vegetable lasagne?
If you'd like to switch things up, there are plenty of other summer vegetables that you could add to your lasagne. For example:
- aubergine (eggplant)
- spring greens
Or, to be honest, whatever you can find in the supermarket that looks tasty. It's all good in lasagne.
How to make a white sauce
While the vegetables are cooking, prepare your cheesy sauce.
I've written a whole blog post about how to make a simple white sauce, so I won't go over it all again now, but do check out that post if you're not sure what you need to do.
Once you've made the white sauce, just melt plenty of grated cheese into it, and you're good to go. It's time to get layering!
How to layer lasagne
We have three elements to layer in this lasagne: the pasta, the veggies, and the sauce. It's really easy to just alternate the ingredients until you reach the top of the dish.
I always start by smearing one small spoonful of sauce around the base of the dish, before adding the first layer of pasta. It means the pasta doesn't stick to the dish, and also gives a bit of moisture to help cook that bottom layer of pasta.
Then, just layer up the pasta, veg and sauce in turn.
Finish with one last thick layer of sauce, making sure to cover any corners of lasagne that might be poking up. Any visible bits of pasta will burn and not soften properly, so it all needs to be covered nicely in the sauce.
I like sprinkling some extra cheese on top, to give that beautiful crispy topping. I also love adding some slices of tomato to the top of my lasagne. They roast up beautifully and taste wonderful, and they look really pretty too.
Pop it in the oven until it's perfectly browned and crispy.
Then, when you crack into the crispy crust and make your way through all the melty cheese, you get to the utterly irresistible creaminess underneath.
Once again: helloooo!
This lasagne has the perfect amount of sauce - it's gooey and oozey, but not so saucy that it stop you from cutting a nice neat slice (something about a perfectly square slice of lasagne makes me weirdly happy). It also helps if you leave the dish to sit for ten minutes or so after it comes out of the oven, so it can firm up just a little - as long as you can stop yourself from digging straight in.
How to save time when cooking lasagne
Lasagne gets a bad rap for taking a long time to make. And it's true, it's not exactly a ten minute dinner. But there are definitely ways you can speed up the process, if you're pushed for time.
- Add the vegetables to the pan as soon as you've cut them up - you don't need to have everything chopped before you begin cooking.
- Prepare the white sauce at the same time as the vegetables are cooking.
- Use no-boil lasagne sheets that don't require any pre-cooking.
- Prepare the lasagne in advance if needed, then bake just before serving.
This summer vegetable lasagne only actually takes about 30 minutes to prepare, plus baking time. So as long as you've got time to wait while it cooks, the prep time isn't at all unreasonable.
Cook your veg; prepare your sauce; layer. It's not difficult. And the result is totally worth it!
Summer vegetable lasagne
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For the vegetable mixture
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 onion
- 1 medium courgette (zucchini)
- 6 medium mushrooms
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 140 g (~ 1 cup) frozen sweetcorn
- 140 g (~ 1 cup) cherry tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian-style mixed herbs
- Black pepper
For the cheese sauce
- 45 g (~ 3 tablespoon / ~ 1 ½ oz) butter
- 45 g (~ 3 tbsp) plain flour
- 500 ml (~ 2 cups) milk
- 150 g cheddar cheese, grated (~ 1 ½ cups when grated)
- 180 g no-boil lasagne sheets (~ 9 sheets)
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- First, chop the vegetables (pepper, onion, courgette, mushrooms, and tomatoes). I cut mine fairly small, but you can make a chunkier lasagne if you prefer.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and add the chopped onion, courgette, mushrooms, garlic, and the frozen sweetcorn. Cook over a medium heat for around 15 minutes, stirring regularly, until all the vegetables are fairly soft. Add the cherry tomatoes, dried herbs, and some salt and pepper, and cook for a minute or two more.
- Meanwhile, prepare the white sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a fairly low heat, and add the flour. Mix to form a paste, and cook for a minute or so. Then add the milk a little at a time, stirring the mixture until it's smooth and well-combined each time before adding more milk.
- When you've used all the milk, and the sauce is smooth, add about two thirds of the grated cheese. Mix well, and cook for a minute or two until the cheese has melted into the sauce.
- To assemble the lasagne, begin by adding about 1 tablespoon of the cheese sauce to the bottom of a baking dish (mine measured 8 x 8 inches), and spreading it around. This just helps to stop the lasagne sticking to the dish, and gives some moisture to cook the bottom layer of pasta.
- On top of the smear of sauce, add a layer of lasagne sheets, breaking them to roughly fit the shape of the dish (it doesn't need to be exact!). Top the pasta with about a third of the vegetable mixture, and another couple of spoonfuls of sauce. Repeat the pasta-veg-sauce layers about two more times, finishing with all the remaining cheese sauce. Make sure there's enough sauce on the top of the lasagne to completely cover the pasta, as any uncovered pasta will burn and won't soften properly.
- Top the lasagne with the remaining grated cheese and a few slices of tomato. Cover the dish, and bake at 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F) for around 50 minutes, until the lasagne is tender. Uncover the dish for the last 15 minutes or so of the cooking time, to help the topping crisp up.
- Leave to stand for about 5-10 minutes before serving, as this will help you to cut neat slices of lasagne.
Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.