It’s a wonderful feeling to bite into a lasagne – and know that it’s gluten-free and dairy-free! This is a vegetarian one made with earthy sweet spinach and pine nuts, with a nutmeg-flavoured cheese sauce and a layer of dairy-free pesto to add zing. Packed with nutrition from the antioxidant-, calcium-, magnesium- and iron-packed spinach and the pine nuts, this is comfort food at its very best.
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, citrus-free
Serves 4–6 Preparation time 5 minutes Cooking time
- 50g/1¾oz/⅓ cup pine nuts
- 500g/1lb 2oz baby spinach leaves
- 100g/3½oz dairy-free soya cheese, grated
- 8–12 no-pre-cook gluten-free lasagne sheets
- a few basil leaves, torn, to serve
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup dairy-free soya milk
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 85g/3oz dairy-free margarine
- 60g/2¼oz/⅓ cup rice flour
- 30g/1oz/⅓ cup gram flour
- 30g/1oz/scant ⅓ cup maize flour
- 1l/35fl oz/4 cups gluten-free and dairy-free vegetable stock
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 300g/10½oz dairy-free soya cheese, grated
- 30g/1oz basil leaves
- 1 heaped tbsp pine nuts
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 25g/1oz dairy-free cheese
- To make the cheese sauce, put the soya milk, onion and bay leaves into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a high heat. Turn the heat down, cover with a lid and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the pesto. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts for the pesto and dry-fry until just starting to turn golden. Remove from the heat, remove the pine nuts and divide and leave to one side. (This is made without any oil, because it would be too oily for the lasagne with oil.) Wash the basil and pat dry in a clean kitchen towel. Put the ingredients into a mini-food processor and blend until a paste forms.
- Melt the dairy-free margarine in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the flours and gradually stir in the infused milk mixture and then the vegetable stock, stirring all the time. Bring to the boil and stir as it thickens. If it goes lumpy, beat with a whisk until smooth. One the sauce has boiled, stir in the dairy-free cheese, turn the heat down and leave to simmer gently for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. If needed, stir in another 125ml/4fl oz/½ cup stock to make a smooth sauce that is fairly thick but runny. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
- Wash the spinach thoroughly and put in the frying pan. Cook over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes until the spinach has wilted, stirring occasionally. Put the spinach into a fine sieve and push all the juice out of the leaves with the back of a spoon. Drain the liquid from the pan and return the spinach to the pan. Add the pine nuts and the soya cheese. Season lightly with salt and pepper and mix together.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Spread a third of the cheese sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish. The best shape is a square shape, ideally about 23 x 18cm/9 x 7in size, although I’ve used a circular dish in this picture. Put half of the spinach mixture over the top and cover with a layer of 4–6 lasagne sheets, depending on the size of your dish. Spread the pesto over the top. Layer again with the a third of the cheese sauce, the remaining spinach mixture and 4–6 lasagne sheets. Cover with the remaining cheese sauce, making sure that the cheese sauce covers everything on top.
- Bake for 50–60 minutes, depending on the type of lasagne sheets used, until the cheese sauce is golden brown and the pasta is soft. Sprinkle with basil and serve hot.