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Harissa-spiced Veggie Lasagne
October 2023
Reading time 2 Minutes
This is a lasagne for when you have a little spare time to get the tunes on, don your apron and cook up a storm. It makes enough for a good meal with leftovers for the next day. For a vegan-friendly version, replace the butter, milk, cheddar and parmesan with plant-based alternatives.
  • 800g tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable, sunflower or rapeseed oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled, halved and cut into half moons
  • 2 red peppers, tops removed, deseeded and sliced
  • 250g mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 courgette, diced
  • 1 aubergine, diced
  • ½ tsp Harissa
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 8–10 lasagne sheets (or more, depending on the size of your dish)
  • For the pesto
  • 75g shelled pistachio nuts
  • 30g (basil leaves and stems, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 20g parmesan cheese, grated
  • Zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½
  • ½ tsp salt
  • For the cheese sauce
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 50g butter
  • 150g mature cheddar cheese
  • For the topping
  • 1 big tomato, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (or firm mozzarella if you have some)
  • ½ tsp Italian seasoning
  • To serve
  • Garlic bread

Gently warm the tomato sauce in a large saucepan. When it comes up to heat, set aside.

To make the pesto, simply put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. You can add a splash of water if you need to loosen things up a bit.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion, and fry for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the red peppers, mushrooms, courgette, aubergine, harissa, salt and pepper. Cook over a medium-high heat, stirring regularly, for about 10 minutes or until the veggies take on some colour. Stir in the pesto and mix thoroughly. Set aside.

For the cheese sauce, pour the milk into a large saucepan and add the flour and butter. Set over a medium heat and begin to whisk. As the milk warms through, the butter will melt and the flour will disappear. Keep whisking as everything combines and thickens. Once it starts to bubble, add the cheese. Once it has melted turn off the heat and set the pan aside.

Preheat the oven to 190C fan/210C/gas mark 6½ and grab a large ovenproof baking dish: it’s time to build your lasagne! Start with half the pesto-veggie mix, then half the tomato sauce, followed by a layer of lasagne sheets. Top with half the cheese sauce and repeat, finishing with a final layer of lasagne sheets and the other half of the cheese sauce on the top. Arrange the sliced tomatoes and shake over the parmesan and Italian seasoning.

Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. After the cooking time is up, take off the foil and return the dish to the oven for a final 10 minutes to get the cheesy topping bubbling and brown. Place on the middle of your table with a big spoon so that everyone can dive in. Serve with a green salad and garlic bread.

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