While I enjoy few meals more than sitting down to a juicy steak or pork fillet, there are some incredible vegetarian dishes out there which I love. Case in point; today’s recipe, inspired by my friend Sabine’s incredible Pumpkin Seed Lasagne. This is such a fantastic dish, with a base of pumpkin and sunflower seeds delivering a rich and satisfying chew. Smothered in creamy béchamel sauce and layered between lasagna sheets, it is an ideal dinner for vegetarian guests or meat-free days.
This makes a decent-sized lasagne, big enough to feed 6 people. If you are not cooking for so many, make it all anyway! It freezes brilliantly, and just like it’s meat counterpart, it tastes even better heated up the next day. I make this as a vegetarian dish, so it still has milk and cheese in it. If you want to take it fully vegan, you’ll just need to sub the milk and cheese for vegan alternatives.
Reading down the list of ingredients, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce might jump out at you as unlikely bedfellows, but trust me on this, they add just the right amount of tanginess and savoury umami flavour, without being overpowering. I use a 50/50 mix of seeds here, as pumpkin seeds can be expensive, but you can play around and see what you like the taste of best. Just remember to pulse the seeds in the food processor rather than blending them, as otherwise, you may end up with seed paste.
Pumpkin Seed Lasagne can be made in advance and reheated, so it’s ideal if you are having guests for dinner or bringing it along to a friend’s house. I’ve spiced it here to suit what I like, but this is a fantastic base for adding your favourite flavours to. I’ve not tried it yet, but I have a suspicion the pumpkin seed mix would make a truly delicious vegetarian moussaka.
What’s your favourite vegetarian meal? Let me know in the comments below. Take care out there and happy cooking, xJ
Let me know if you try this recipe in the comments below, or using the hashtag #daysofjay on Instagram. Happy cooking!
for the filling:
- 250g pumpkin seeds
- 250g sunflower seeds
- 100g mushrooms
- 2 red onions
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 400g tin of tomatoes, chopped
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 250ml red wine
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- pinch of chilli flakes
- sea salt and black pepper
for the béchamel:
- 750ml milk
- 60g butter
- 75g plain flour
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 100g cheese, grated
- nutmeg, to taste
- 12 lasagne sheets
- 3 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 Tbsp olive oil.
- Combine the pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds in the bowl of a food processor with the blade attachment fitted. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly and broken up - don’t run the mixer constantly or you will end up with seed paste! Remove to a bowl and set aside. Repeat with the mushrooms and onions, keeping them separate.
- Heat the oil in a large, high-sided frying pan. Add the onions and sauté until softened but not browned, 5-6 minutes. Add the seeds and mushrooms and cook, stirring often for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a further minute.
- Pour in the tomatoes, whisk together the vegetable stock and tomato paste and add to the pan, stirring to combine. Pour in the red wine and balsamic vinegar, then bring to a simmer. Stir through the soy sauce, oregano and chilli flakes, season with salt and pepper, then simmer until the liquid has almost entirely evaporated, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6.
- To make the béchamel, warm the milk in a medium saucepan until hot but not boiling. In a separate saucepan cook the butter and flour together, stirring until the butter is melted and the flour starts to lightly brown. Pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly, then simmer until the mixture is thick. Remove from the heat, stir through the salt and grated cheese then taste and add nutmeg and black pepper.
- To assemble the lasagne, spread a layer of the filling onto the bottom of a deep-sided casserole dish. Spoon over some béchamel, spreading it across the filling, then top with lasagne sheets. Repeat the layering, ending with a thick layer of béchamel. Top with sliced tomatoes, drizzle over the olive oil then bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until puffed, golden brown and beginning to scorch.
- Allow to stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I make Pumpkin Seed Lasagne in advance?
Yes, absolutely. It is delicious reheated and freezes brilliantly.
Can I use different seeds to make this lasagne?
I haven’t tried! You can use all pumpkin or all sunflower, though the taste will be different. Adding a few pinenuts would taste good.
Can I make Pumpkin Seed Lasagne a vegan dish?
Yes, you need to swap out the milk and cheese for vegan alternatives.