I can guess what you’re thinking…a meat and dairy free lasagna? NO Thank you! But hear me out… I have made Giada De Laurentiis’ butternut squash lasagna for years, it is meatless, so all I reallly needed to change was the milk for the bechamel sauce and alter the cheese on top. You can find the original recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/butternut-squash-lasagna-recipe.
I served this vegan option to my non vegan kids and they loved it. Plant based recipes are great side dishes for meat eaters. In the past, I would rarely eat a heavy dish like lasagna, and if I did I would feel completely full and miserable. This is a great way to lighten it up – for zero misery later!
Start by peeling your butternut squash, I use a potato peeler and a knife to slice off the top and bottom. Once you’ve removed the skin, cube the squash into roughly 1 inch squares, removing the center seeds and “guts”.
Add 1 tablespoon oil(I used coconut but you could use whatever you prefer), the cubed squash, salt and pepper to a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Pour 1/2 cup water over squash, then cover and simmer until soft. Once the butternut squash has cooled, puree until smoothly blended. I use an immersion blender for this. For the bechamel sauce, I melted 1/4 cup vegan butter in a sauce pan, then gradually added 1/4 cup gluten free flour, whisking for 2 or 3 minutes. Then gradually add the coconut almond milk, whisking while bringing the sauce to a boil. Whisk in a pinch of nutmeg. Remove from heat once the sauce thickens. Giada’s recipe calls for fresh basil, but mine isn’t ready to harvest. I ended up adding a teaspoon of dried basil. Start assembling the lasagna by coating the bottom of your pan (13x9x2) with 1 cup or so bechamel sauce. Add noodles (if using the no boil version), regular noodles should be cooked prior to assembly. Then layer with squash, vegan parmesan cheese, noodle, bechamel…and repeat until you’ve reached to top of your pan or run out of ingredients. I like to end with bechamel sauce. Bake for 40 minutes covered, then remove tin foil and add vegan parmesan and vegan mozzarella cheese to the top (I used half vegan on the left side of the pan and regular for the right side).
Optional: Add a layer of kale almond pesto when assembling the lasagna. Top with truffle oil to serve.