Lasagne (with meat free mince)

I usually make a lasagne using just a variety of mostly roasted vegetables. Today, I'm giving it a whirl with a vegan mince substitute using a quicker stove top method. I'm not convinced I'll prefer it, or even like it; but we'll see. Pricewise, as vegan products (and gluten free) go, this Meatless Farm mince was a bargain at only £2 for the packet. It's the first time I've found it in my local supermarket, so had to give it a go.



I started out by gently sautéing the mince in a little olive oil, adding salt, pepper and garlic then set aside. I really do love some of the vegan burgers available, but I will need some convincing on this mince; I'm not feeling the love yet. It has broken up and is behaving as meat mince would, though it's a bit of devil or wanting to stick to the pan.




My veggies today are a mix of fresh frozen and tinned. All chopped and ready to go in the pan. I'm using some vine tomatoes and a tin of chopped tomatoes, a mix of fresh chestnut mushrooms and some frozen ready sliced, frozen sweetcorn and broad beans, a bunch of spring onions and some fresh sweet peppers.


Here's the rest of the ingredients:-



I start off by sautéing the onions with a heaped teaspoon of brown sugar in olive oil in a large pan, adding garlic once starting to soften then popping in the mushrooms for a few minutes. I don't stir yet, I leave them to sizzle away together.


Then the rest of the veggies go in with;


1/3 bottle of fruity white wine. If using a dry variety you will need to add a little sugar. I hope Tesco continues to sell this £2.99 plonk forever, it's perfect for cooking.

Half a tube or small tin of tomato puree.

A good scatter of nutritional yeast.

Basil, oregano.... be generous.

Salt, pepper and a veggie stock cube or pot.



Add in the mince and stir occasionally whilst reducing. At this point I was not impressed with the flavour so I added a big dollop of a smoky barbecue sauce I found lurking in the fridge, which by some miracle was gluten free. It then passed the taste test, so time to layer up.



With each layer of gluten free lasagne sheets, I've topped with a free from white sauce, adding a generous scattering of vegan cheese, yeast flakes and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. I've used a mix of vegan Applewood smoked, vegan mozzarella and vegan parmesan.


I popped into the oven at 200c for 30 minutes, turning down to 180 for another 10 minutes, then switched oven off and left inside whilst cooling. I find this ensures the top layer of lasagne is completely soft without catching it.


Verdict


Much nicer than expected. My non vegan husband said it was delicious and that he couldn't tell that it wasn't meat. I will agree the texture is good, in fact it looks and tastes like any ready meal beef lasagne I've eaten in the past. Personally, I think I still prefer my roasted vegetable version. I just don't understand the need to add in something that looks like meat but isn't, however with the thumbs up for this version, perhaps I can combine both next time. I think roasting the vegetables first will add a depth of flavour that (only I think) is lacking in this version.




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