roasted butternut lasagna with crispy sage

by Kristina Sloggett

in Dinner,Gluten Free,Meatless Monday,recipes,Vegan

Whenever I make lasagna I am reminded of my first years of cooking away from home – in college, in my own place for the first time. I learned about bechamel sauce and it became my favorite thing. I wanted to add bechamel to all the foods.

Then I made my very first lasagna. Back then I thought I was brilliant for using bechamel in place of ricotta or other soft cheese in the filling. I made many lasagna this way, as it was often requested when I hosted dinner parties or offered to bring something to an event.

I have made almost every lasagna with bechamel. Serious comfort food.

This is the first lasagna I have made in a while.

I wanted to bump up the protein without using a faux meat product, so instead of starting my bechamel with the usual butter-flour roux, I blended in cashews. Not only did I get my wanted protein, the result was a creamy sweet rich flavor.

We are in nutmeg week of Meatless Mondays A-Z, and while the nutmeg is a standard ingredient in my bechamel sauces, I also used it here to add warm spice to the butternut squash as it roasted. Wonderful depth of flavor in this dish.

roasted butternut lasagna with crispy sage

inspired by lasagne alla zucca

dairy, egg, soy and gluten free, vegan

makes 9 x 11 pan of lasagna

1 butternut squash
drizzle olive oil
pinch sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
9-10 fresh sage leaves
1 package lasagna noodles (I use these – gluten free)
cashew bechamel sauce (recipe follows)
7 ounces jack cheese, sliced

Prepare cashew bechamel sauce (see recipe below).

Peel, remove seeds/innards, and cut butternut squash into cubes. Arrange in single layer on (parchmented) baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and nutmeg. Arrange sage leaves on same sheet, brush with olive oil. Roast in 300 degree oven – 5 minutes for sage leaves, 30-35 minutes for squash. Remove from oven and cool.

Transfer cooled squash cubes to food processor and purée until smooth.

Assemble lasagna layers: Pour a small amount of bechamel in 9 x 11 baking dish. Add noodles. Spread a layer of squash purée, top with cheese.

Cover with foil (especially important if using no-boil pasta noodles) and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes, to set – you get even slices of lasagna layers this way.

gif maker free

cashew bechamel sauce

1/2 cup raw cashews
3 cups almond milk, divided
4 tablespoons butter (Earth Balance soy free)
4 tablespoons gluten free all purpose flour
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt 

In high speed blender or food processor, process cashews until crumbly. Add 1 cup milk while processing, until a smooth cashew cream forms – this will be much thinner than traditional cashew cream.

In saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to darken in color – a light tan. Continue to stir while adding cashew milk. Mixture will thicken. Whisk in remaining two cups milk, and the salt and nutmeg, remove from heat. 

This to me is the epitome of cold weather comfort food. Brightly flavored squash between layers of rich sauce and boldly flavored cheese. The crispy sage adds an earthy flavor perfect for winter foods. We will be enjoying this again soon.

Visit Heather to see what others did with nutmeg:

What is your favorite cold weather comfort food?

 

{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit November 12, 2012 at 4:10 am

Wow, ya that’s some serious comfort food! I love your play by play images. Very cool to watch the layers being built up.

My favorite comfort food would have to be stew. I haven’t had it in ages, really. My Mom makes the best stew and no matter how many times I make it, it just doesn’t taste the same!

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2 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 8:44 am

I love those gifs… layers are fun. stews are another great cold weather comfort – my African peanut stew is on the list this week! :)

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3 Mizzzzz November 12, 2012 at 4:11 am

Im
so
boring.

OATMEAL :-)

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4 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 8:43 am

Miz, you are many things, and boring is NONE of them! :) XXO!

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5 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table November 12, 2012 at 4:55 am

Cashew bechamel?! You never cease to amaze me. My favorite comfort food is super simple from childhood – grilled PB & J. But I’m certain if you fed me this it would become my new favorite.

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6 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 8:42 am

well, thank you my friend! :) and I wish I could feed this to you!!

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7 Heather (Where's the Beach) November 12, 2012 at 5:17 am

This looks insane. I’ve actually never made a bechamel sauce. The flavors in this just sound perfect!

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8 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 8:41 am

bechamel is just so good…

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9 the 3volution of j3nn November 12, 2012 at 5:32 am

That looks crazy delicious! I love creamy veggie lasagna. Comfort supreme!

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10 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 8:41 am

exactly – this one definitely fits that!

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11 Kate@Diethood November 12, 2012 at 7:05 am

That was me in college, too!! I made lasagna with cream cheese instead of ricotta and everyone thought I was master chef! :)
But, now, this take on lasagna could really be a master chef creation… yummo!

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12 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 8:37 am

oooh, cream cheese? you ARE a genius! I use cream cheese in my enchiladas – people always love that! :)

and hmm… Master Chef IS coming to Portland for auditions… ;)

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13 Heather @ Better With Veggies November 12, 2012 at 8:12 am

Mmm…this sounds so comforting! I actually made lasagna this weekend too, since we had an 8-person dinner party last night. It’s such a great “bulk” cooking option and everyone seems to like it. Love your vegan bechamel sauce with the nutmeg. And I need to learn how to make an animated graphic like you did – that’s so cool!

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14 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 8:35 am

I think that’s why I made lasagna so much for my college dinner parties – lots of guests and it was pretty easy – add a big salad, a crusty bread and some wine, you’ve got a great dinner!

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15 Kelly Senyei (Just a Taste) November 12, 2012 at 8:24 am

I absolutely LOVE anything involving butternut squash, but I’ve never tried it in a lasagna! Cannot wait to make this!

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16 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 8:33 am

hi Kelly! you will love this then – a very different lasagna, but oh so good – enjoy!

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17 Adventures in Dressmaking November 12, 2012 at 8:46 am

Yum! I loooove butternut squash, think it’s my fave. I went to the Hillsdale farmers’ market over the weekend and was in awe over all the amazing kinds of squash (and other veggies) they had… have no idea how to cook some of the huge ones, though! Now I feel bad for buying squash at Winco the other day. Bet local ones would taste better!

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18 Laima @womensendurancegear.com November 12, 2012 at 9:21 am

Looks delicious – this one we’ll have to try:)

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19 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

thanks, Laima – enjoy!

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20 purelytwins November 12, 2012 at 9:45 am

we will be right over for our plates :)
now that is one good looking lasagna!!!

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21 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

come on over, girls! :)

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22 Lora @cakeduchess November 12, 2012 at 10:19 am

When the temps drop I could eat a comforting lasagna every day. Love the cashew beschamel sauce and want to make it for my next one. Happy my lasagna inspired you:)xx

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23 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I hope you do try the cashew sauce – it is even more decadent, if that is possible? thank you for the inspiration!

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24 Lora @cakeduchess November 12, 2012 at 10:20 am

oh! forgot to say-it looks incredible and I love the flash with direction photos-really cool:)

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25 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 2:20 pm

thanks sweets!

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26 Eileen November 12, 2012 at 10:42 am

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever made a lasagna with a bechamel! All red sauce all the time around here. It does sound perfect with winter squash and sage, though. :) Thanks for the great idea!

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27 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm

even when I make a red sauce lasagna, I still add the bechamel ;) you are welcome – enjoy!

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28 Carrian@ohsweetbasil November 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm

I am with everyone, I can’t wait to try this awesome take on Lasagna, so excited!

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29 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm

oh good, Carrian! enjoy!

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30 jobo November 12, 2012 at 12:16 pm

you are blowing my mind with these combinations lately!! I LOVE butternut squash and this looks freaking unreal. Yummmm!

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31 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm

ah, thanks girl! I so love to get creative in the kitchen, you know…

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32 Leah November 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Yum! I only wish my husband was a squash lover :( I’ll have to make this when he is out of town. Do you think it would freeze well? I am waiting with baited breath for the African peanut stew!

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33 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 2:15 pm

same here, Leah! I made another dinner for Jason while I enjoyed this. not sure if it would freeze well, I sent some of this to Dad’s house and ate the rest over a few days… you could make a half batch for yourself? or a half pan of this flavor and using the rest of the noodles, cheese, add a tomato based sauce in place of the pumpkin? (I do this sometimes too – making a ‘Jason half’ and a ‘Kris half’…

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34 Kovas - 50 States Of Wine November 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Love butternut squash ravioli, but this sounds even better! Also a big fan of Daiya cheese.

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35 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

I am loving the new Daiya wedges, it was perfect for this! and lasagna is so much easier to make than ravioli, right?

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36 Jenn November 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I cannot stand squash but I agree about Bechemel being added to EVERYTHING!

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37 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm

:D that is good enough for me!

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38 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) November 12, 2012 at 5:12 pm

You know I’ve never made a lasagna with a bechamel sauce…I know, shocking. I make my mac and cheese with it, so why not lasagna. I think I need to change this soon! That looks amazing!

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39 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm

oh, my friend, you NEED to make this. or I will make it for you;)

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40 Liz November 12, 2012 at 5:18 pm

A piping hot bowl of soup!

Wow, this is pure comfort food…love the squash and sage combo…classic and delicious. And your layering video is so darn impressive…you rock, my friend!

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41 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm

aw, thank you, Liz – you just made my day! :)

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42 Susannah November 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Ooo… Yummy! I love butternut squash!

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43 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 9:33 pm

I do too – I cannot wait to make this one again…

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44 Jeanette November 12, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I’m always so amazed by the vegan cheese and cream sauces you come up with! This looks so good!

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45 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 9:32 pm

thank you, Jeanette! I suppose I love my comfort foods… ;)

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46 Alyssa (Everyday Maven) November 12, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Yum! The crispy sage puts it over the top and the addition of cashews is inspired!

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47 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm

thanks, Alyssa – I was very happy with this one…

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48 Peggy November 12, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Looks awesome! I can’t wait to try it…that is if I can find that cheese here in Hawaii?? I stumbled upon your blog today as I was searching for recipes for a 30 day meal plan I am making for my family. I’m so glad I found it! Looks like you have some yummy stuff on here! :)

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49 spabettie November 12, 2012 at 10:18 pm

hi Peggy! I am not sure, I hope you can find this cheese in Hawaii? I am so happy you found me, keep in touch and let me know if you have any requests… Mahalo!

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50 Rachel @ Bakerita November 12, 2012 at 11:07 pm

This sounds amazing!! Yummy – never thought of putting butternut squash in lasagna, but it seems like a wonderful idea.

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51 spabettie November 13, 2012 at 7:21 am

thanks Rachel! I am definitely looking forward to making this again!

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52 agnès November 12, 2012 at 11:23 pm

this looks amazing ! too bad my dear boyfriend can’t stand the butternut & cheeze combination… i’ll have to make it when he’s away ;)

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53 spabettie November 13, 2012 at 7:19 am

I am in the same place – Jason is not a fan… I made him his own lasagna this day (in the other half of the pan!).

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54 Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies November 13, 2012 at 12:59 pm

I hardly ever make lasagna anymore either and there’s really no good reason for it other than laziness. But the last lasagna I made, I used a cashew sauce in it! It really does work well–this looks delicious!

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55 Kristina Sloggett November 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I know, and really? lasagna is so very easy, we shouldn’t be avoiding it! I cannot wait to make this one again – I think cooler months are more lasagna friendly for me anyway…

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56 anne November 13, 2012 at 2:07 pm

This may sound like a stupid question but ———— I have lots of raw almonds. Would the sauce be compromised if I used the almonds rather than cashews? If so, note to self – buy cashews.

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57 Kristina Sloggett November 13, 2012 at 2:18 pm

hi Anne! that is absolutely a valid question – and I almonds will definitely work, as far as consistency goes. The taste may be a bit different, but it would still be good! Enjoy!

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58 Natasha November 13, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Now you’ve done it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Arg!!!!( said with a clenched fist to the heavens) – must make, must….thank you for the inspiration!!!
Miss ya girl – hope your Daddy is good…Basil, and Jason too.
xo
Natasha

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59 Kristina Sloggett November 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm

ah, hello my long lost friend!! how ARE you?? I miss our chats, I know you are busy extreme, I hope you are well? think of you often XXO

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60 vegantester May 26, 2013 at 11:05 am

if i’m using ground nutmeg (ie not fresh), would i use a lot less than the 2 tsp in the recipe?

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61 Stephanie October 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Oh, Spabettie!!!!! I made this last night, and it is one of the best and most impressively delicious dishes ever! I cannot believe that béchamel sauce-it was so very yummy, the nutmeg in this recipe worked so well. I gave some to the doctor I work with, and he could not understand how it could be so full of flavor and vegan at the same time-and he’s a vegan! I’ve just discovered your website, and I want to thank you so much. Amazing!

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62 Diane February 5, 2014 at 11:10 pm

Sorry, but this is not vegan because it has butter and cheese in it (two animal products). It is vegetarian, however.

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63 Kristina Sloggett February 6, 2014 at 6:19 am

hello Diane.

if you see the link for the cheese, you will see it links to Daiya, a dairy free/soy free vegan cheese product. if you read the note in the ingredient line for butter, it says “Earth Balance soy free” – which is a vegan butter product.

I have not used animal products for years.

thanks!

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64 Diane February 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I didn’t think of that because I live in a remote region without vegan products. My apologies.

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