This Hearty Chickpea and grilled Vegetable Lasagne is one of those cornerstone plant based meals I have been searching for. Have you ever thought about eating more veggies and plant based food? With all the chatter out there that we are eating way too much meat I have been wanting to add more plant based meals to my weekly menu. My vegetable lasagne makes me realise vegan food can be totally satisfying eating any day of the week.
This grilled vegetable lasagne will truly show you how easy it is not to miss meat in a meal. Once you discover a few core hearty plant based meals you can easily add them to your weekly menu. Eating plant based is not about missing out or eating rabbit food every day. It is all about discovering the the great flavours and textures of plant foods, legumes, nut, seeds and herbs and spices. Discover and learn one meal at a time.
Where to Find Perfect Vegetables for Vegan Cooking
This morning we went to the local farmers market in my home town of Richmond in the awesome Hawkesbury Valley at the base of the Blue Mountains. My local veggie farmer had some of the best vegetables for grilling and roasting; Eggplant, zucchini, sweet potato and capsicum. I love to throw mushrooms into this grilled vegetable lasagne but he did not have any this week. Use whatever vegetables you like. I love to grab whatever veggies are in season and add it into the mix.
This hearty vegetable lasagne will become a family favourite from its crunchy topping of ground cashews, cauliflower and nutritional yeast. Then down through those rich grilled vegetable and classic Italian tomato sauce. Then that creamy vegan rue and activated chickpeas. The flavours and textures in this awesome meal will help you see what is possible with plant foods.
Did you notice there are a lot of elements to this meal. To make this plant based lasagne you will be making my 5 vegan cooking basics. These are core when you want to learn how to make a plant based cooking easy. Each of these is a basic cooking staple can be made one day and used another in a wide rage of recipes. Master these simple parts and you can make a world of great food.
When I make this chickpea and grilled vegetable lasagne I do each of the elements separately. My tip is to make extra of the tomato sauce and the grilled vegetables to use in other meals. The tomato sauce is a great one to make in a big batch. Portion it up and toss in the freezer for later.
The Classic Elements of a Hearty Vegetable Lasagne
The 5 elements can all be made before and ready to assemble. See our Vegan Cooking Basics and tips category to learn the basics and get some handy tips :
- Activated Chickpeas – Activating your legumes (and even all your rice and other grains) makes them fast to cook. It also removes most if the physic acid that causes bloating or gas in some people. TIP OF THE DAY: I activate and cook the entire 500g bag at a time. Most recipes call for 250g and the other 250g I put back in the bag and freeze for another recipe. I try to always have at least one or two bags of cooked legumes in by freezer.
- Grilled Vegetables – I slice all my grilling vegetables length ways about 7mm thick then throw then on the BBQ in batches. It is great to get a bit of a char to they as this brings out the rich flavours. I make loads of these, use in my lasagne, slice up and toss into a salad. They are great on a wrap or tossed with pasta and some of the tomato sauce.
- Classic Italian Tomato Sauce – Enough said. Classic. Make a massive put full, put 500g batched in bags or containers in your freezer. I keep all my ingredients zip bags for storing extras and leftovers as well.
- Creamy Vegan Rue – A great rue is the base to so many meals, this lasagne, add a creamy sauce to a pasta or the base to a creamy gravy.
- Nut Cheese and Cauliflower Topping – Love this the perfect topping on a load of meals. Great when you what a grilled top to add some crunch and texture.
Roast Vegetable and Chickpea Lasagne
- Sharp knife
- Chopping Board
- Heavy Sauce Pan
- Deep Baking Tray
- 250 g dried chickpeas
- 2 tblsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 bunch rainbow char or silverbeet or other leafy green
- 1 large eggplant
- 2 large sweet potato
- 4 large zucchini
- 4 tblsp olive oil
- 1 tsp pink hymilayan salt
Creamy Rue – White Sauce
Activate the Chickpeas
- Activate and cook the chickpeas. Do this at least a day or more ahead. Use canned chickpeas if you like but try to do from scratch. See full details in our cooking basics and tips.
- Soak you chickpeas at least 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse. Leave in the colander covered with a damp teatowel for another 8-12 hours. Your chickpease are now activated.
- Add the activated chickpeas to a pot and cover well with water. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until tender, about 45 mins to 1 hour. If you do not activate first, cook for about 1 1/2 hours.
Classic Italian Tomato Sauce
- Add oil to a medium-hot saucepan. Add diced onions and cook for 5 minutes or untill translucent. Do not brown for this sauce. Add the garlic and cook a further few minutes.
- Add the canned tomatos to the pot with the water, Italian herbs, tamari and rapadura sugar with the salt and pepper. Bring the sause to the boil then reduce to a slow simmer and cook slowly for at ease half an hour to reduce to a thick rich sause. Add additional salt and pepper to season if you feel more is needed. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Slice the eggplants, sweet potato and zucchini length ways about 7mm thick to great vegetables steaks and put into a large baking dish. Pour the oil over the vegetables and rub through with your hands.
- Preheat a grill or you BBQ to a medium-hot heat. Place the oiled vegetable in a single layer on the grill. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes each side until well cooked, soft and with a lttle charing. Set aside to cool.
Creamy Rue – White Sauce
- Add cracked pepper, salt and garlic granuals to a saucepan. Add the oil to the pan add heat at a medium-high heat until the garlic granules start to float to the top of the oil. Add the flour and nutritional yeast and stir through then allow to fry off for a few minutes. This adds more flavour.
- Add the milk in one go. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to gently stir. The rue will start to thicken as it heats and cooks. Cook until you reach the desired thickness. If the rue get too thick add a little extra milk a bit at a time to reach the desired thickness. Set aside until needed.
Nut Cheese and Cauliflower Topping
- Set up a food processor. Add the cauliflower, cashews and nutritional yeast with a pinch of salt and process in short bursts to create a gravely texture. Make sure it does not become a paste. The texture will give you the cruchy top.
Assamble the Lasagne – Get creative and enjoy the biuld.
- Put a thin layer, about 1/4 of the tomato sauce on the base of the pan and then add a layer of the grilled vegetables, about 1/3 of the vegetables.
- Add 1/3 of the Creamy Rue and spread over the vegetables followed by another layer of the grilled vegetables
- Spread another layer of 1/2 ther remaining tomato sauce over the vegetables. Sprinkle half the nut cheese mix over the tomato sauce layer. Toss 1/2 of the chickpeas.
- Lay a generous layer of Chard of silverbeet leaves and top with the rest of the tomato sauce. Spread the leaks and remaining chickpeas and cover with half the remaining creamy white sauce.
- Spread out the remaining grilled vegetables then to with the remaining white sauce and top off with the remaining Nut Cheese topping.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Put the finished lasagne into the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes or into the top is a strong golden brown. Remove and rest when cooked. It is best to allow to cook for 15 minutes for easier cutting. Cut into 8 portions and serve.