Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Main Dish Veggie Casserole #Vegan

This was supposed to be a lasagna, but I decided to make it with eggplant instead of noodles. No reason, I JUST DID, OKAY?


SO ANYWAY, this recipe started out to be Roasted Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna with a Creamy Bechamel Sauce, from SPORK-FED, a cookbook by Emily and Zooey Deschanel.

And they are dirty, rotten liars, because the Bechamel Sauce was NOT creamy, it was watery and thin, even after I added more flour. But it tasted good, so I forgive them.

It was WAY more of a production than I EVER make. I don't know what I was thinkin'. Got the Christmas Crazies, I guess.

I peeled and sliced the eggplant, soaked it salted water for 30 minutes, drained it, laid it out on parchment paper on a baking sheet, and baked it at 350F for about 30 minutes. Some of it was still soft and some of it was scorchy. Baking it in the casserole softened it up, so, if I ever did this again (ha, ha, I fancy I see myself, meaning I WON'T), I would slice it into rounds rather than strips. The crunchy bits a broke off and nibbled before putting them into the casserole were quite nice, though.

Yeah, also cut the butternut squash and roasted that at 375F for an hour and THEN took out the seeds, which I am totally always going to do.
I also didn't think their filling was vegetably enough, since all they had was baby spinach. And I was doing baby spinach in something else, so I used kale instead, and a package of frozen roasted zucchini/carrot/onion mix.

The Squash Part
1 large butternut squash, roasted
2 tablespoons vegan margarine
6-to-8 leaves fresh sage, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon agave nectar (which I thought I had, but I didn't, so I used real maple syrup)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Mash it all up.

The Non-Squash Veg Part
1 package frozen roasted veg
olive oil
chopped green onions
chopped kale

Cook it in a saucepan until the frozen veg are hot and the kale is wilted.

The Bechamel That Wouldn't Thicken
1/3 cup vegan margarine
1/3 cup flour
4 cups unflavored unsweetened almond or soymilk (I used almond)
1teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bay leaf
dash freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Melt margarine. Stir in flour. Add the rest of the ingredients. Whisk. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, for about three days, cursing steadily, then try adding five pounds more flour. Give up and use it anyway, even though it's runny.

Put It All Together
Spread a layer of runny bechamel on the bottom of a lasagna dish. This will be easy to do BECAUSE IT'S RUNNY. Add a layer of cooked lasagna noodles or, if you're me, a layer of baked eggplant. Add a layer of butternut squash, noodles, bechamel sauce. Add a layer of the veg mixture, noodles, bechamel, then -- oh, you get it: LAYER ALL THE THINGS, ending with "a thick layer of bechamel sauce," and good luck with that.
But it was DELICIOUS. Worth the trouble? Oh, HELL, no. But delicious, all the same.

Marian Allen
Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes


Cerebrations.biz said...

So, did you use almond milk? I find that its tougher to get a thicker anything with that. (It's why I use soy...)

Marian Allen said...

I did use almond milk. If soymilk thickens better, that's what I'll use in future. Thanks!