If you’re looking to add a unique twist to your regular lasagna recipe, look no further than this Kabocha Squash Lasagna. This plant-based lasagna combines the velvety goodness of Kabocha squash, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and your favorite greens, with a “cheesy” Bechamel sauce, all crowned with a crunchy layer of buttery panko breadcrumbs.
This Kabocha Squash Lasagna is an absolute winner for any occasion. Whether you’re planning a cozy family dinner, hosting a lively party, or celebrating a special holiday, this dish has got you covered. Its genius lies in its incredible make-ahead capabilities. Just like classic lasagna or moussaka, the flavors of this dish deepen and intensify as they mingle overnight. And here’s the best part – it’s a crowd-pleaser. Take it to potlucks or gatherings, and be prepared to bask in the glory of your vegan cooking prowess as guests clamor for second servings.!
Kabocha squash, also known as Japanese pumpkin, has very creamy flesh and a nutty, slightly sweet flavor. (Any type of squash or pumpkin you like will work well for the lasagna, however.) The squash is layered with fragrant sage, mushrooms which add a rich and earthy taste, and caramelized onions to bring a touch of sweetness that pairs perfectly with the squash. Adding a few handfuls of any greens you enjoy, add extra nutrients and a pop of vibrant color.
One of the advantages of not pre-cooking the lasagna noodles is that it saves time and effort in the kitchen. When the lasagna is baking, the noodles will absorb the moisture from the sauce and the other ingredients, becoming tender and flavorful. This means you can skip the extra step of boiling the noodles, which can sometimes be a tedious process.
Not pre-cooking the lasagna noodles also helps to prevent them from becoming overly soft or mushy. By allowing them to cook in the oven, the noodles retain a slightly al dente texture, adding a pleasant bite to your lasagna.
Instead of using cheese, a smooth and “cheesy” Bechamel sauce brings the whole dish together. Made with nutritional yeast, this plant-based alternative provides a pleasingly creamy texture, reminiscent of the classic cheese sauce, but without any dairy.
To add an irresistible finishing touch, we crown this flavorful creation with a generous layer of buttery panko breadcrumbs. These crispy crumbs not only provide a delightful contrast to the creamy layers underneath but also add an excellent textural element to the overall dish. The golden-brown crust that forms as it bakes in the oven is the cherry on top.
Pair this scrumptious Vegan Squash Lasagna with a fresh salad or a side of garlic bread for a well-rounded and satisfying meal.
So, next time you’re in the mood for lasagna, why not take a detour and try this Kabocha Squash Lasagna recipe? This vibrant and tasty dish will not only impress your taste buds but also your guests. It will surely earn you rave reviews from friends and family alike.
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Kabocha Squash Lasagna
- 1 medium Kabocha squash peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion sliced
- 12 oz mushrooms sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 6 oz chopped greens such as swiss chard, spinach or kale
- Kosher salt & pepper to taste
- 9 lasagna noodles
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter
- 10 sage leaves
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups plant-based milk such as unsweetened soy or oat milk
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- salt & pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
For the vegetables:
- Preheat the oven to 375℉. Toss the squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil on a baking sheet; season with salt.
- Roast, rotating the baking sheets once, until the squash is tender, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and saute until soft and light golden brown about 10 minutes.Add the mushrooms and saute until they release all their liquid and turn golden.Add the garlic and cook a couple of minutes more.Sprinkle with thyme and season with salt & pepper. Set aside.
For the Bechaamel sauce:
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sage leaves and cook 1 minute. Whisk in the flour until smooth. Gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the nutritional yeast, ground nutmeg, salt & pepper to taste.
For the breadcrumb topping:
- Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the panko breadcrumbs and toss to coat. Set aside.
Assemble the lasagna:
- Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
- Evenly coat the bottom of the dish with 1/2 cup of the Bechamel.
- Lay 3 noodles side by side on top.
- Cover with half of the onion & mushroom mixture, half the squash, and half of the greens. Cover with one-third of the remaining Bechamel.
- Arrange 3 more noodles on top and repeat the layers – onions & mushrooms, squash, greens, and ⅓ of Bechamel.
- Top with the remaining 3 noodles, then cover with the remaining Bechamel. Sprinkle evenly with the buttery breadcrumbs.
- Bake the lasagna for approximately one hour until golden brown and bubbly. Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Leftovers can be reheated in the oven at 350℉, for about 10 minutes, until heated through and the top is crunchy.