I came across this delectable lasagna concoction whilst working as a masseuse at a health resort in Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges many years ago. The chef kindly let me in on her secret – a layer of golden mashed pumpkin instead of béchamel sauce – and I’ve been making it like that ever since. I’ve adapted it considerably over the years and here’s my latest version:
Approximately 8 sheets of instant lasagna
500 grams pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped
8 large tomatoes, chopped
2 cans brown lentils, drained
2 onions, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, grated
3 carrots, grated
2 zucchini, grated
2 cups passata (you can buy this at the supermarket)
3 cups water
500 grams feta cheese, grated
1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 small container of ready-made pesto (from deli or supermarket)
2 vegetarian stock cubes
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 180 Celsius
- Place chopped pumpkin in a steamer and cook until tender. Then mash it with a few teaspoons of butter, a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Set aside whilst you make the vegetable sauce.
- In a large saucepan, gently fry onion and garlic until soft.
- Add chopped tomatoes, lentils, grated carrot and zucchini, passata, water and stock cubes.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Grab a large baking dish and place half the cooked vegetable sauce over the base
- Place a layer of instant lasagna sheets over the sauce and spread them with the pesto mix
- Spread the mashed pumpkin evenly over the pesto layer
- Sprinkle the grated feta cheese over the pumpkin layer
- Place another layer of lasagna sheets over the feta cheese
- Place the remaining vegetable sauce over the top and sprinkle it evenly with the grated parmesan.
- Cook on middle shelf of oven for 50 minutes to an hour.
Serve with a crisp salad and crusty bread.