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- 30-45 ml / 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 4 fat garlic cloves, finely diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1-1½ tsp sambal oelek (chilli paste), adjust to taste
- 2.5 kg / 5.5 lb ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced*
- ¾ tsp salt, adjust to taste
- generous amount of black pepper, adjust to taste
- 2-3 tsp sugar or other sweetener (depending on how tangy the tomatoes are)
- 1 tsp dry oregano
- 1 tsp dry thyme
- egg-free (and GF if required) lasagna sheets (8-12 sheets)**
- 4 large aubergines / eggplants (enough for 2 layers)
- parsley to garnish
BECHAMEL (SEE NOTES)
- 225 g / 1½ cup raw cashews (soaked overnight OR in boiling water for 1 hr)
- 1 large garlic clove
- 1 level tbsp white miso paste
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- grated nutmeg, to taste
- ½ tsp salt, adjust to taste
- ¼ tsp white pepper, adjust to taste
- 4 tbsp / ¼ cup tapioca starch
SAUCE (makes about 1.2 l / 5 cups)
- Heat up a heavy-bottomed pot (a frying pan will be too shallow for this amount of sauce) and pour 2-3 tbsp of olive oil on the bottom.
- Once the oil warms up and starts simmering gently, add finely sliced onion. Saute on low-medium until softened, stirring from time to time (about 5 minutes total).
- Stir in chopped garlic. Saute for a few more minutes until garlic gets fragrant, but not browned.
- Stir in tomato paste and chilli paste (if using).
- Next, tip in chopped tomatoes and 500 ml / 2 cups of water. Cover with a lid and allow the sauce to come to a gentle simmer.
- Simmer covered for about 1 hour, until the tomatoes lose their firmness and become mushy.
- Next, take the lid off and simmer for another hour or so, giving the sauce a good stir every 20 minutes or so, especially towards the end as the sauce thickens and can therefore burn more easily.
- Season with salt, pepper, sugar and dried herbs. Take off the heat when the sauce has still retained a little bit of moisture (don’t let it dry out too much) and allow the sauce to cool before assembling your lasagna.
AUBERGINES / EGGPLANTS
- Cut aubergines / eggplants into 2 cm / 0.75″ thick slices lengthwise.
- Salt each slice (especially where the seeds are) with salt and place in a colander in a sink or over a large dinner plate / tray. Allow to sit for 30-60 minutes. The salting step is not always necessary as these days aubergines are hardly even bitter, but it is a precaution you may want to take just in case, especially when cooking for guests.
- Rinse the salt off under the tap and pat aubergine / eggplant slices dry with a kitchen towel.
- Heat up the oven to 225° C / 435° F and line a baking tray with a piece of baking paper.
- Place dry aubergine / eggplant slices on a tray (you may need to do that in two batches) and bake for about 30 minutes – until they get softer and lightly golden.
- Place rinsed cashews in an upright blender with approximately 240 ml / 1 cup water. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Add garlic, miso paste, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, salt and pepper and process until super smooth and creamy.
- Just before assembly, transfer cashew bechamel to a medium pot and place on a hob. Whisk in tapioca starch with a wire whisk. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer whisking the whole time. Simmer until the bechamel thickens. If the sauce is too thick (it should be thick but still pourable) whisk in a bit more water.
- Heat up the oven to 180° C / 355° F fan forced (or 200° C / 390° F regular setting).
- Line the bottom of the dish with aubergine / eggplant slices. Choose the meatier / thicker pieces if you haven’t managed to make them all identical.
- Next, spread about a cup of tomato sauce followed by lasagna sheets.
- Spread about a cup of tomato sauce followed by another layer of aubergine / eggplant.
- Spread about a cup of tomato sauce followed by lasagna sheets.
- If you have leftover sauce, do another layer of sauce followed by either more lasagne sheets or another layer of aubergine / eggplant.
- Finally, spread bechamel on top.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until your bechamel is golden brown in places. If the top is browning too rapidly, cover it with a piece of kitchen foil to stop it from browning any further.