A quick tomato lentil sauce, layered with mozzarella, cheese, and pasta, makes a vegetarian lasagne that meat eaters love!
This idea for this simple lasagne recipe originally came from my mother in law, who sent a cheese and mozzarella lasagne recipe to me over via WhatsApp one morning. I happened to have most of the main ingredients in, and so made it that evening. Since then I have made a number of adjustments. It always proves to be a winning dish, so I had to share it with you!
There is a quick tomato sauce made from scratch, but don’t be put off – with only a handful of ingredients and minimal preparation time, it is quite easy to do one handed. Believe me. I had to try it one day with a toddler on my hip. There is no béchamel sauce in this lasagne, which not only means a less laborious dish (and one less pan to clean) but I personally think it makes the lasagne lighter.
Despite the whole cooking time of just over an hour, this vegetarian lasagne is one I think of as easy to cook, with a demanding toddler on my leg. The sauce takes 5 minutes to prepare then can be left to simmer for 15 minutes. Then another 5 minutes of assembly and the lasagne is in the oven for 30-40 minutes, leaving you free to do all those other tasks on your list.
This vegetarian lasagne smells so amazing whilst cooking in the oven, and I can promise you that even the most avid meat eaters in our family love this dish!
I love adding red lentils to many of my dishes, such as this lasagne. They are rich in iron, folate, dietary fibre and a great source of protein. Red lentils don’t require soaking before use, which make them an easy addition when you just want to boost the nutritional profile of a dish.
As you will see from the picture above, lorries are an optional addition. If you have been following me on Instagram and/or Facebook you may remember a posting of the first time I cooked this and Mini Jones deciding to add one of his toy lorries on top of the dish whilst I was trying to photograph it.
If the idea of a lorry accompaniment doesn’t appeal to you, a simple salad of baby spinach and fresh tomatoes with olive oil and vinegar vinaigrette is all thats needed.
Can I Make This Cheese and Tomato Lasagne Ahead of Time?
I wouldn’t recommend reheating this lasagne, as there is not much sauce and when fresh from the oven the edges are crispy and delicious, but on reheating they can go a little rubbery. You can make the sauce up to three days beforehand though.
Cheese and Tomato Vegetarian Lasagne
½ tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
2-3 spring onions, finely sliced
400g tin tomatoes
1 tbsp red lentils
Couple sprigs fresh oregano, finely chopped (or ½ tsp dried oregano)
Handful fresh basil
200g mozzarella, sliced
6 sheets lasagne – dry or fresh
75g cheddar cheese, grated
Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat and add the spring onions and garlic. Fry for 2-3 minutes until soft but not coloured.
Add the tin of tomatoes and a tin’s worth of water (400ml), red lentils, oregano and season with a little salt and some black pepper.
Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Check and stir after 15 minutes, as the lentils can stick to the bottom of the pan.
Preheat the oven to 170˚C/340˚F.
In a 20cm x 27cm ovenproof dish, spoon half the sauce into the dish and spread out to cover the base.
Lay 2 sheets lasagne over the sauce, then sprinkle over half the mozzarella, one third of the grated cheese, and a few torn basil leaves.
Lay another 2 sheets of lasagne on this, then top with the rest of the tomato lentil sauce, 2 more sheets of lasagne, the rest of the mozzarella, grated cheese and basil.
Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, until lightly golden.