I want to start off by declaring that this is one of the best things I have made in a while. In fact, at the moment, I can’t think of anything better. It has blinded me.
It’s veggie-packed and creamy. Leeks, broccoli and spinach go particularly well with cheese and creamy sauces. The leeks in particular flavour the whole lasagna. It’s milder, sweeter and is reminiscent of chives as it doesn’t have the bite of a regular onion and ties everything together so nicely.
At this time of the year I crave comforting foods. For me that includes, bread (incl. sandwhiches), potatoes, pasta, hearty soups, and as with this recipe, creamy Bechamel and melty cheese.
I used 1% milk for my Bechamel sauce because that’s just what I had on hand, and it worked out great! I still got the perfect creamy consistency I was hoping for, with less fat. There is of course, a little parmigiano and the pinches of nutmeg and cayenne offer warmth and round out the flavour.
It really hit all the notes for me and it was tough to stop at one piece. When I was supposed to be putting the leftovers away, I basically stood there eating the scraggly bits directly from the casserole and ended up having the equivalent of another whole piece. It’s just too good!!
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!
!SEE THE RECIPE NOTES AT THE END OF THE RECIPE FOR SOME HELPFUL TIPS & MODIFICATIONS INCLUDING SOME FOR OUR VEGAN AND LACTOSE INTOLERANT FRIENDS :)!
Don’t forget to visit me on Instagram for daily meal inspo, cooking videos and easy recipes! Recipe adapted from @maxiskitchen on Instagram! Thank you Maxi!
The Ultimate Vegetable Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce
- 1 9×13 baking dish
- 1 Tbsp Unsalted butter
- 3 Cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 Leek, thinly sliced
- 2 Small or medium zucchini, cut into thin triangles
- 120 G (32 oz) Frozen spinach (You can also use fresh spinach or Swiss chard, roughly chopped)
- 2 Handfuls frozen broccoli florets (equal to 1 small head) (You can use fresh but you’ll need more cooking time or blanch them first)
- Kosher salt To taste
- 1 Tsp Dried oregano (Optional)
- 6 Tbsp Unsalted butter
- 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 6 Cups 1% or 2% milk
- 2 Tsp Kosher salt
- A few grinds of pepper
- A pinch of cayenne
- 1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Lasagna sheets
- 1 Package lasagna sheets, boiled to al dente You can use no-boil noodles to make this faster
- 1 Cup Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 1 Cup Shredded mozzarella
- 1/4 Cup Fresh basil, sliced
- Preheat oven to 350F on the convection setting if you can, otherwise the regular bake setting is fine
- In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and cook garlic until fragrant (1 min)
- Add leeks and sauté for 3 minutes, until softened
- Add zucchini and broccoli florets and sauté until softened
- Add spinach, salt, pepper, oregano and sauté until all is wilted and liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
- Boil lasagna sheets in a large pot of generously salted water. Cook to al dente.
- Meanwhile, make Bechamel sauce. Heat a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add flour. Cook whisking constantly for about 1 min. It will for a paste and will darken slightly in colour. If your heat is too high and it’s sticking, lower heat.
- Gradually add milk 1/2 cup at a time, continuously whisking
- Once all of the milk has been added, turn the heat up so the mixture starts to bubble slightly. Once slightly thickened, add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne and parmesan. Turn off the heat & set aside with the lid on, whisking from time to time until lasagne noodles are ready (if using the ones you boil)
- Butter a 9×13 baking dish and spread a thin layer of Bechamel sauce and add your first 3 sheets of pasta. Add 1/3 of the veggies in an even layer, add a sprinkle of parmigiano and add about 1/3 of your Bechamel Sauce. (It’s not an exact measurement, just do it by eye)
- Top with another 3 pasta sheets and repeat.
- Add the last layer of pasta and top with the last of the Bechamel, a little more parm and your mozzarella.
- Bake covered with foil for about 50 minutes or until all is melted and bubbly. If desired, take the foil off and bake for an additional 15 to get the cheese all golden. If you like your cheese stretchy and melty, keep it covered the whole time (total 1hr)
- Let sit 10-15 minutes before cutting into it.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Using frozen spinach and broccoli make things a lot quicker.
- Using no-boil lasagna noodles also speeds things up considerably but they do tend to soak up more liquid from your lasagna but it’ll still be great
- If using fresh spinach and broccoli, chop the spinach (Not only is it easier to get it all into the pan but I personally hate finding full leaves of spinach in a baked dish) and cut broccoli florets quite small so they cook faster.
- If you bechamel sticks to the bottom like mine did, it’s ok. Either avoid scraping the bottom when ladling it into the lasagna or strain it to remove any brown bits. I didn’t mind the few brown bits and you won’t see them once all is assembled.
- If your bechamel isn’t thickening, raise the temperature slightly until you see bubbles starting to form. Don’t worry, it’ll happen. Don’t let it come to a complete boil though!
- I read that you can make a bechamel sauce with lactose free milk. I also saw lactose free Saputo mozzarella cheese at the grocery store, so you’re all set!
- You can make this vegan by using oil instead of butter, nut milk and vegan Parmesan. I haven’t tried this but I was assured it can be done!