This vegetarian version of the classic recipe was a hit at vegetarian feast Rosemary Ferguson and I hosted at The Groucho Club
this week. This recipe first featured in my latest cookbook At My Table
. The cheese and eggs are a good source of B12, or if using a vegan cheese and plant based milk you can try adding a tablespoon of B12 rich Nutritional Yeast Flakes
to the white sauce or a spoon of marmite to the red wine sauce. Our dinner guests found this warming and satisfying, it is one of my favourites too!
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 30 – 40 minutes
Gluten Free option
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
100g mushrooms, with any grit brushed off, then thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tamari sauce (for gluten free) or soy sauce
200ml red wine
400g tin chopped tomatoes
200g tinned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
200g cooked lentils, for ease I use tinned drained of any liquid and rinsed
2 bay leaves
2 large potatoes (approx. 500g)
2 large aubergine (approx. 600g)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley and thyme, or 2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon Marmite (optional)
For the sauce:
50g olive oil
50g buckwheat flour (for gluten free option) or plain or spelt flour
600ml milk of your choice e.g. almond, organic dairy or soya, unsweetened
150g mature Cheddar, grated
100g feta cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast Flakes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180℃/gas mark 4 and lightly oil a 30 x 20 cm oven dish or non-stick roasting tray.
- In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, then add the sliced onions and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic and tamarin (or soy sauce) and allow to cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in the wine and simmer for 1 minute to allow the alcohol to cook off. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas, lentils and bay leaves, stir well and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes, adding a little water – around 2 tablespoons at a time – of the sauce gets too thick.
- Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into rounds about 1cm thick. Put into a medium pan of cold water, bring to the boil and parboil the, for 10 minutes, then drain.
- Prepare the aubergines by trimming off the woody ends and then slicing into approximately 1cm-thick rounds. Lay the potatoes and slice aubergines on two greased non-stick baking trays, brush them with the remaining oil and sprinkle with the herbs. Bake for about 30 minutes, turning them once halfway through cooking, until golden.
- Now turn to your white sauce. Melt the butter (or oil) in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Add the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon to form a paste. Take the pan off the heat and gradually add the milk a little at a time, stirring with a hand whisk to keep the sauce smooth and lump-free. Put the pan back over a medium heat, bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 2-4 minutes, stirring continuously, until the sauce has thickened. Add two-thirds of the grated Cheddar and crumble in the feta cheese, then stir until the cheese has melted. Add the nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper to taste and allow to cool slightly before finally beating in the eggs.
- To assemble: pour half the tomato sauce into the prepared oven dish, followed by a generous layer of roasted potatoes and aubergines (about half the vegetables) repeat with another layer of tomato sauce and the rest of the vegetable slices. Top with the white sauce and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbly.