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A scene-stealing Christmas various: Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for spinach, walnut and tomato lasagne | Christmas food and drinks

In the Greek language, there are eight phrases for love, however for meals there are an awesome many extra. Lasagne, nonetheless, is (in my view) one of many clearest and simplest methods to speak such an emotion. Making it doesn’t all the time should be a labour of affection, particularly once you transfer away from the normal layers of ragu and bechamel to different components. On this week’s recipe, silken tofu, shortly blended, kinds a magical, creamy bechamel that’s then stirred by spinach, layered over a wealthy and garlicky tomato sauce, and lined with nuts, breadcrumbs and “cheese” to complete.

Spinach, walnut and tomato lasagne

This may be assembled upfront, then baked forward of consuming. You’ll want an appropriate oven dish – mine is 35cm x 25cm – a blender (or stick blender) for the tofu bechamel and a big pot with a lid for the spinach. Not all vegan cheeses work effectively in lasagne – I like to recommend utilizing MozzaRisella as a result of it melts greatest; it’s simply obtainable on-line.

Prep 10 min
Prepare dinner 90 min
Serves 6

Further-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves
, peeled and crushed
2 x 400g tins finely chopped tomatoes
Tremendous sea salt and black pepper
900g silken tofu
, drained
¼ tsp floor nutmeg
1 tsp chilli flakes
1kg child spinach leaves
12 dried lasagne sheets
, appropriate for vegans
40g panko breadcrumbs
200g vegan mozzarella
– see recipe introduction
15g parsley, finely chopped
50g finely chopped walnuts

First make the tomato sauce. Put three tablespoons of oil in a medium saucepan on a medium warmth and, when scorching, add half the crushed garlic and cook dinner, stirring, for a minute or two, till golden. Add the tomatoes and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, cock a lid on prime, flip down the warmth to medium-low and go away to bubble away for 20 minutes, stirring often, till saucy and thick (and not watery). Take off the warmth.

In the meantime, make the bechamel. Drain the tofu, pop it in a blender with two tablespoons of oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and the nutmeg, then mix actually clean.

Put three tablespoons of oil in a big pot on a medium warmth, add the remaining garlic and the chilli flakes, and cook dinner, stirring, for a minute. Add the spinach leaves a handful at a time, stirring as you go to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn, and watch because it magically wilts in entrance of your eyes inside a minute or so. As quickly as all the spinach is within the pot, stir in three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt, clap on the lid and cook dinner, stirring each 5 minutes, for quarter-hour. After this time, tip out as a lot extra liquid as doable (maintain again the spinach with a big spoon), then stir in two-thirds of the bechamel. Prepare dinner, stirring, for a few minutes, till effectively mixed, then take off the warmth.

To construct the lasagne, grease a 35cm x 25cm baking dish, and warmth the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/fuel 6. Layer 4 lasagne sheets within the base of the dish and spoon over a 3rd of the tomato sauce. High this with a 3rd of the spinach combine, then cowl with one other layer of 4 lasagne sheets. High with half the remaining tomato sauce, then with half the remaining spinach, then cowl with the final 4 lasagne sheets. High with the remaining sauce, adopted by the spinach, then unfold the final of the bechamel on prime. Scatter over the breadcrumbs, mozzarella, parsley and walnuts, drizzle with oil, then bake for 45 minutes.

Take away from the oven, go away to relaxation for 10 minutes and serve, maybe with a crisp inexperienced salad.

Fiona Beckett’s drink pairing
A lighter lasagne in model than the normal model. I’d nonetheless go purple, however possibly not such a strong one: The Wine Society’s supple Ciro Rosso Gaglioppo’, Santa Venere 2021 (£10.95, 13.5%), which is appropriate for vegetarians and vegans, can be excellent.

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