The Ultimate Vegetarian Lasagna

Lasagna was a big favourite in my household growing up. Rich meaty sauce, layered with pasta and topped with a creamy white sauce and plenty of cheese....not quite what I consider a wholefood meal these days however. So I decided I needed to make one just as delicious but packed full of veggies and a bit on the lighter side to avoid feeling like a nap straight after you've eaten it! It does take a bit of effort in the kitchen to get all the layers ready but it's damn tasty and great for serving a big group of people with a salad on the side.

Serves 6-9 with side salad

Ingredients

½ large butternut pumpkin, cut into thick wedges
800g tinned tomatoes
½ large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
8 basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup button mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 cup lentils cooked until tender or 1 can brown lentils, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
1 large eggplant, sliced into thin rounds
4 cups spinach/kale/silverbeet leaves
400g ricotta
Pinch of nutmeg
4 tablespoons mozzarella/cheddar/parmesan cheese

Side Salad: Rocket, shaved fennel, pear, walnuts and a drizzle of balsamic and oil.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200°C and roast the pumpkin with a drizzle of oil and pinch of salt and pepper until very tender (approx 45 mins - 1 hour). Meanwhile prepare the sauce by sautéing the onion and garlic for 5 minutes until soft. Add the tinned tomatoes, mushrooms, lentils, basil, oregano, and bay leaf. Simmer, breaking up the tomatoes, until lasagna is ready to be assembled. Remove bay leaf when ready.

Blitz the ricotta and nutmeg and a food processor until smooth and set aside (you do not need to wash food processor here). Place the eggplant strips on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 15minutes. Remove and set aside.

Steam the greens until wilted. Drain and then squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Set aside.

When your pumpkin is ready place it in the food processor and process until smooth. Now assemble the lasagna. Line a baking dish with eggplant rounds, top with pumpkin puree, then greens, then the tomato sauce. Repeat eggplant, pumpkin, greens, tomato sauce and then a final layer of eggplant. Spread the ricotta over the top and sprinkle on the additional cheese.   

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until browned on top and bubbling at the sides.