Greetings, foodies! Are you a lover of Italian cuisine like me? Then today’s recipe is definitely for you. I am thrilled to share with you my Northern Italian Style Lacto-Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe. This dish is loaded with the flavors of Italy, and it is beautifully layered, hearty, and satisfying.
When I first created this dish, I experimented with different types of ingredients, and just about all lasagnas contain meat or meat products. However, I came up with this delicious lacto-vegetarian version that substitutes ground beef with firm tofu. Believe me; you won’t even miss the meat. Instead, the lasagna is packed full of fresh veggies such as celery, carrot, and onion. You will enjoy a mouthful of flavor in each bite.
What makes this dish even more appealing is its versatility. The ingredients can be substituted for other ones if necessary without sacrificing flavor. The recipe can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free-specific lasagna noodles. Further still, by replacing the regular mozzarella cheese with vegan “mozzarella,” this recipe can become 100% vegan!
One of the characteristics of dishes from Northern Italy is that they use milk or cream in their recipes. Our recipe uses milk and butter to create a creamy béchamel sauce accompanied by nutmeg to achieve Northern Italy’s favorite flavor profile.
With this hearty dish comes a side dish representing an extensive range of vegetables dishes in the garden vegetable lasagna that would be perfect for pairing with our lacto-vegetarian lasagna! Whether it’s a night in with friends or an afternoon meal at home, make it complete by serving it alongside a glass dry white wine.
We are on track for superior health options leading up to summer; there’s never been a better time than now to enjoy high spirits and low fat recipes designed to delight your taste buds! Keep reading to see just how easy it is to make vegetarian lasagna Italian style along with ways to make a delicious
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
My dear friend, allow me to tell you why this Northern Italian Style Lacto-Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe is one of the most delicious, satisfying and healthy meal options out there.
Firstly, let’s talk about the ingredients. This recipe is loaded with fresh vegetables such as celery, carrot, onion and tomatoes that are bursting with flavor and nutrients. Not only that, but the tofu cheese layers create a creamy and indulgent texture without any dairy products involved. All these flavors come together with a robust tomato sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan, Romano and mozzarella cheese on top give this dish just the right amount of cheesy goodness.
But that’s not all. The recipe includes a few secret ingredients like white wine and nutmeg that elevates the dish to a whole new level. The white wine adds a depth of flavor to the tomato sauce that will make your taste buds dance. The nutmeg gives the tofu cheese layers a subtle sweetness – almost like magic!
For those who are watching their waistline, fear not! This recipe is hearty but also low in fat, thanks to the use of quark instead of ricotta or cream cheese. Besides, lasagna noodles made out of whole wheat create an extra fiber-packed layer between your deliciously healthy veggies.
This Northern Italian Style Lacto-Vegetarian Lasagna is not only full of vitamins and minerals but also flavorful and comforting for both meat-eaters and herbivores alike! It’s easy to make for special occasions or even on an average weeknight when you crave some warm heartiness – don’t forget to double up so you can have it for leftovers.
In conclusion my friend, if you’re looking for a healthier twist on a classic Italian favorite, look no further than this recipe. I guarantee this Northern Italian Style Lacto-Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe will become a staple in your household that everyone will love!
Here is a list of quality ingredients that you’ll need in order to make this northern Italian style lacto-vegetarian lasagna recipe. Don’t worry if you don’t have access to some of the ingredient, I’ll give some alternative options as well.
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 1 pound firm tofu, drained and crumbled
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping
- 1/4 cup romano cheese, plus 1/4 cup for topping
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- Sauce Bottom:
- Olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- Ground black pepper
- Red pepper flakes
- Pinch of sugar
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- Pinch of vegetable bouillon granules
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Two cans (28 oz each) of chopped tomatoes
- Ricotta/Mozzarella Filling:
- 8 oz Ricotta Cheese
- 8 oz Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- Fresh Parsley or Basil, finely minced
For a vegan version replace milk with soy milk or almond milk. For gluten-free version use rice flour instead of all-purpose flour and gluten-free lasagna noodles.
The Recipe How-To
Cooking the Vegetables and Making Tomato Sauce
Firstly, I begin by heating some olive oil in a large pot. Once hot, I throw in chopped celery, carrots and onions to sauté for 10 minutes until their flavors are fully developed. Then, I add canned diced tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable bouillon granules and dry white wine to the mix. I let everything simmer for 20-30 minutes on medium-low heat while continuously stirring so that the sauce doesn’t stick to the pot.
Making the Cheese Filling
Next, it’s time to create the cheese filling for the lasagna layers. In a food processor, I blend firm tofu until it’s smooth and has a similar texture to ricotta cheese. Next, I add milk, ground nutmeg, white pepper and a dash of salt to the blended tofu mixture – this creates a savory yet subtle sweetness that pairs well with the tangy tomato sauce.
Assembling this Northern Italian-style Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe is easy after all preparations are done. You will need some lasagna noodles; then you layer up ricotta-mozzarella mixture and vegetable puree-tomatoes mixture alternately onto each noodle. The sauce plumps up these noodles well so be generous with your layers!
Once all layers are created and filled with cheese filling & vegetable puree, cover with mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese, adding more if you love an extra cheesy touch! Bake at 375°F / 190°C for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown & bubbling in your oven.
This recipe takes quite some time but trust me: it’s absolutely worth the wait. Enjoy!
Substitutions and Variations
“Variety is the spice of life.” That statement holds true even in cooking. There are plenty of ways to make this Northern Italian Style Lacto-vegetarian Lasagna recipe your own. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try:
1. Gluten-free option: Use gluten-free lasagna noodles instead of regular ones. Or replace the noodles altogether with thinly sliced zucchini or eggplant.
2. Vegan option: Omit the milk, butter, and cheese from this recipe to make it vegan-friendly. Instead, use plant-based cheese substitutes, almond milk or soy milk, and vegan margarine.
3. Meaty option: If you’re a meat lover, add some ground beef or turkey to the marinara sauce for a traditional meat lasagna flavor.
4. Vegetable variation: Add more veggies to the recipe for additional color and nutrition. Try roasted red peppers, butternut squash or spinach in addition to the veggie mix listed in the recipe.
5. Cheese options: Swap out one of the cheeses listed in the recipe for a different type of Italian cheese. Grana Padano or Gorgonzola would make excellent substitutes for Parmesan or Mozzarella respectively.
6. Homemade sauce: Instead of using store-bought tomato sauce, make your own by blending fresh tomatoes, onion and garlic.
Be creative when experimenting with substitutions and variations, but be mindful that certain ingredients add richness and depth of flavor while others may dilute or distract from the overall taste profile of the dish.
Serving and Pairing
Darling, this Northern Italian Style Lacto-Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe is perfect for any occasion, from a cozy family dinner to a fancy dinner party. The dish pairs well with a garden salad, Italian bread, and a dry white wine. I recommend serving it hot and fresh out of the oven.
If you’re looking for something to impress your guests, try pairing it with asparagus lasagna or vegetable lasagna on the side. You could also add some premium deli meats and cheeses, like Boar Head’s, to create an enticing charcuterie board.
For those who wish to keep things healthy but still flavorful, there are plenty of options out there! You can pair it with dough balls with quark dip or serve it alongside a bowl of hearty minestrone soup. For dessert, I recommend sticking with an Italian classic like tiramisu.
So don’t be afraid to get creative with your pairings! Whether you decide to go for something classic or take an adventurous route, this lacto-vegetarian lasagne will make any meal a hit. Mangia!
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Oh me, oh my! This luscious Northern Italian Style Lacto-Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe can be made ahead of time to ensure you have a scrumptious meal ready when you want it. Simply prepare as usual and store it in the fridge until needed. Perfect for those busy evenings when your hands are tied.
When it comes to storing and reheating this dish, it’s important to keep a few things in mind to get the best results. Firstly, always allow your lasagna recipe to cool down to room temperature before storing it. Then cover with cling wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
When reheating the lasagna, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Remove the cling wrap and cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil then pop in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the desired temperature is reached. Check occasionally by inserting a bread knife in the center of the lasagna to check if it’s thoroughly heated through.
Another great option is freezing your vegan lasagne which will last up to three months. When you’re ready to reheat it simply remove from freezer and defrost overnight. Once defrosted, follow the same steps for reheating as mentioned.
Take note though, that if you decide to freeze one layer at a time instead of a full batch – you may need to adjust cooking times when reheating as they will vary based on how many portions you decide to cook at a time.
Voila! You now have a hearty lasagna recipe that can be easily stored and reheated whenever your stomach rumbles!
Tips for Perfect Results
If you want to achieve perfection when making this Northern Italian-style lacto-vegetarian lasagna, I have some tips and tricks for you. Bear in mind that the little things can make all the difference, and that applies exactly in the kitchen. Here are some tips that will guarantee you a mouth-watering result every time.
Firstly, don’t overcook your lasagna noodles. Pre-cook them according to the instructions on the package, but then remove them from the boiling water a minute or two before they reach al dente. They will finish cooking when baked in the oven with your savory sauce and cheeses.
Secondly, make sure your sauces are not too runny. Using a good amount of tomato paste along with crushed tomatoes will give your tomato sauce the perfect consistency for layering without becoming too liquidy. Likewise, making béchamel sauce just thick enough is crucial; add more flour or butter as needed.
The third tip is about cheese. The combination of ricotta and mozzarella cheese is traditional for lasagna, but adding a sprinkle of parmesan and romano cheese on top of each uncooked layer can bring an extra flavor that your palate will appreciate. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different cheese blends to see what you enjoy most!
Next up: using veggies to enhance flavor! If you prefer extra veggies in your lasagna (like a garden vegetable or asparagus lasagna), sauté diced onion, celery, and minced garlic together along with your preferred vegetable like sliced zucchini or eggplant before layering them into the lasagna. This pre-cooking method brings out their sweetness and ensures they’re perfectly soft to the bite once baked.
Fifthly, let your lasagna rest for at least 10 minutes prior to serving. This step may seem minor, but it’s crucial in allowing all the flavors to meld together and keeping it from falling apart upon serving.
Lastly: presentation matters! Adding fresh parsley leaves on top doesn’t just deepen the flavor, but also makes it more visually attractive. Be creative with garnish ideas to level up the visual appeal of your dish!
Following these simple tips will guarantee that your lacto-vegetarian lasagna will stand out among all other pasta dishes!
Now that you’ve learned how to make this delicious Northern Italian-style lacto-vegetarian lasagna recipe, you may have some questions or concerns. In this section, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions to ensure that you can make the best lasagna possible.
What is the difference between northern and southern lasagna?
Southern and northern regions in Italy have different approaches to making lasagna. In the south, lasagna is commonly composed of dried pasta sheets, ground meat sauce, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. On the other hand, the preferred version in the north, especially in Bologna, is to use green spinach egg pasta as the base and layer it with ragú, bechamel sauce, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
How do you keep veggie lasagna from getting soggy?
To improve your lasagna’s taste, the vegan chef advises increasing the oven temperature slightly and incorporating a thickening agent in your sauce. If your lasagna does not contain meat, consider adding more tomato paste instead. It is not necessary to skip the first layer of sauce at the base. Furthermore, adding more meat or tomato paste will benefit the dish’s flavor.
How to make vegetarian lasagne Jamie Oliver?
For this recipe, we will need three aubergines, three cloves of garlic, a few sprigs of fresh thyme, six tablespoons of olive oil, one dried red chili, two tins of quality plum tomatoes (each weighing 400 grams), one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and one bunch of fresh basil.
Is lasagna a northern Italian dish?
This classic Italian dish is known for its layers of broad, ruffled noodles and either a tomato or white sauce. It is worth noting that “lasagna” is the singular form, whereas the plural form is “lasagne,” as referred to by northern Italians.
In conclusion, this Northern Italian Style Lacto-Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe is not to be missed. With its rich and flavorful tomato sauce and layers of zesty vegetables and creamy cheese, this lasagna has everything you could want from an Italian dish. And with the ability to easily substitute and vary ingredients to your taste, this recipe is versatile enough to make vegetarian lasagna a staple in your kitchen.
Whether you’re an experienced cook or just beginning, this lacto-vegetarian lasagna recipe is sure to impress. So why not try it out tonight? You’ll love the mix of Italian flavors and hearty ingredients. Not only will it satisfy your taste buds, but it also has vegetables that are sure to indulge your appetite in a healthy manner.
Additionally, if you’re looking for other delicious Italian recipes or meatless dishes, don’t hesitate to check out some of the other great suggestions in our keyword list. From asparagus lasagna to garden vegetable pasta, there’s something for everyone.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your apron and get cooking! You won’t regret it.
Northern Italian Style Lacto-Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe
- 12 ounces lasagna noodles
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese or 1 1/2 cups romano cheese
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 1/2 cups milk
For the Tofu meat filling
- 1 3/4 cups crumbled firm tofu (drained)
- 1 (28 ounce) can cut tomatoes
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped carrot
- 1/4 cup chopped celery
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon vegetable bouillon granules
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/3 cup light cream (optional) or 1/3 cup milk (optional)
- In a large saucepan (or Dutch oven) cook tofu until browned. Add undrained tomatoes, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, tomato paste, bullion granules, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper to tofu. Stir. Stir in wine and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 45 to 60 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Cook pasta in boiling water just until tender; drain. Rinse with cool water.
- Combine cheeses.
- For the sauce melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour, pepper, nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon salt. Add milk; cook and stir until thick and bubbly (don’t let burn!).
- Arrange a single layer of the pasta in the bottom of a greased 13”x9”x2” baking dish. Spread 1/3 white sauce over noodles. Spread 1/3 Tofu “meat” filling over white sauce. Spread 1/3 cheese over tofu. Repeat layers of pasta, sauce, tofu mix and cheese 2 more times.
- Cover with foil and bake at 350degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.
- Remove from over. Let stand 10 minutes.
Add Your Own Notes
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Jolo is a talented chef and food blogger with a passion for vegan and Caribbean flavors. From savory vegetarian dishes to tropical smoothies, Jolo’s Kitchen has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for meat-free meals or creative Caribbean recipes, Jolo’s Kitchen is the perfect place for you.