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No Oven, Veggie Lasagna with Béchamel

If you’re making it out in the big city, then you and I can talk at length about the challenges of solo living let alone cooking for one. I stayed in a studio apartment for over four years, where the kitchen was a modest counter top and nothing more. My soul craved for veggies on baked sheets, a warm oven with a fresh batch of cookies, or even cheesy layers of lasagna to go with a comfort movie on weekends. Here’s how you can bake yourself this indulgent No Oven, Veggie Lasagna with Béchamel using just a casserole.

 

Prep Time:15 minutes Cook Time:45 minutes Serves:2

 

Ingredients

  • Lasagna sheets - about 7-10

  • Garlic - 1 bulb

  • Carrots - 2-3 medium sized

  • Tomatoes - 4 medium sized

  • Spinach - 250 gms

  • Basil - 6-7 sprigs

  • Onion - 2 medium sized

  • Bell peppers - 1 large

  • All purpose flour - 2 tbsp

  • Cheese - 200 gms grated mozzarella

  • Butter - 2 tbsp

  • Milk - 1 cup

  • Pepper - 5-6 peppercorns

  • Oregano - as preferred

  • Chili flakes - as preferred

  • Oil (Olive / cooking) - as needed

  • Salt - to taste

Method (for the veggie filling)

  • Heat oil in a wide pan, and sautee finely sliced garlic along with diced onions

  • Once golden, add carrots, bell peppers and cook on low flame

  • Add salt and continue to cook until the veggies are firm but not too soft

  • Add washed spinach and basil, roughly chop them and add to the wide pan

  • Wash tomatoes, remove stalk and blend to a puree with pepper corns (Alternatively, you can use store-bought puree but the taste will change)

  • Add to the mixture and cook into a homogenous mixture

  • Season with herbs and spices as preferred

Method (for the Béchamel sauce)

  • In a shallow frying pan, add butter over low heat

  • Add salt, pepper, and all purpose flour and mix gently until smooth (be careful not to brown the mixture, it will change the taste profile)

  • Switch off the stove, add milk regularly while mixing it into the mixture

  • Heat pan again and bring to a boil (not more than 2-3 minutes)


mid cooking wine drinking
Get all the elements together over a glass of wine

For the casserole

  • Keep the three layers that form the lasagna ready - the grated mozzarella, veggie filling, Béchamel sauce. Make sure your pasta sheets are the oven ready type (no pre cook needed) and if not, cook the sheets as done with pasta in boiling salted water

  • Grease the casserole with butter / cooking oil / olive oil and top up in the following order:

    • Béchamel Sauce (Thin layer)

    • Pasta sheets (just to cover the area of the casserole, no double layers)

    • Veggie filling (gracious amounts please!)

    • Grated mozzarella

    • Repeat this order until the casserole is filled

    • Make sure you end with the grated cheese (I like to add more cheese to the top layer for the browning)

  • Place the casserole over medium flame and cook for about 20 minutes with regular checks. If you feel that the bottom of the lasagna is sticking to the casserole, grease from the top along the edges with olive oil

  • Let the lasagna cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing into it, else the whole assemble will topple with the melted cheese

  • Serve on shallow plates, pour leftover Béchamel sauce if any, garnish with basil

  • Pair up with a fresh salad, breads, or wines.

Casserole with cheese
Stick into an oven for an extra layer of browned cheese



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