This Lasagna Recipe is so delicious I can’t believe it’s vegan! Filled with roasted vegetables and a creamy cauliflower béchamel, it’s our family’s “go to” for weeknight dinners!
In my late teens, I was fearless and completely indestructible. I never considered for a moment I could die, after all, death was only for the elderly. What I didn’t realise was that illness or mortality did not discriminate on age. It was inevitable.
The first time I was fearful for my life was in my early twenties. I was sitting at the Royal Women’s Hospital. My legs were spread wide apart, my womanhood exposed to the doctor sitting in between my thighs. For some, this position would be uncomfortable, but for me, it was now common practice. In the past two years, I had seen more gynaecologists and received more biopsies than I could count.
“Six months after the operation and you are in the same state as you were before...” The doctor looked troubled and rubbed the top of his brow. The conversation led to treatment options, radiation therapy. If left untreated, it could spread to my kidneys. His sentence was left unfinished as if a black cloud had filled the room.
It was a difficult choice to make. But, I don’t think it gets easier with any age.
Although I received the official “all clear” two years ago, I rarely consider this time and how grateful I am to be alive. To feel the grass between my toes, to taste a delicious morsel of food or to snuggle into the protective arms of my partner. That is of course, until last week.
In an attempt to read more, I began reading the memoir When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi. Diagnosed with lung cancer before the age of 35, Dr Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon, lover of literature, husband and father records his transition from doctor to patient. Although inevitably the story outlines what it means to die, more importantly, it emphasises the question; what does it mean to live? The book is as haunting as it is beautiful, and while reading it, I have reassessed what I consider a “meaningful life”. What brings meaning to my life? How would I like to be remembered? What do I want to achieve?
For me, a meaningful life is one where I wake up with purpose. Where I enjoy going to work and surround myself with empowering and respectful people. To learn and discover new things, and where I find satisfaction with what I have, not with the things I want. Finally, I want to go to sleep smiling knowing I’ve influenced somebody in a small but beautiful way. I don’t think success, or even happiness for that matter, should be measured in having that x job, x friends, x money because it might never be achievable. On the contrary, I think it should be measured by those small perfect moments where you find yourself curious, filled with wonder, or by laughing from the depths of your stomach. It’s those moments that I strive for.
What do you consider a “meaningful life”?
- 3 x capsicum, seeded and roughly sliced.
- 2 x aubergine, thinly sliced 5mm lengthways.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
- 65g spinach, washed.
- 250g of gluten free lasagna pasta sheets.
- 1 large cauliflower, florets chopped.
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
- 1/4 cup of plant-based milk.*
- 500g of mushrooms, washed and finely diced.
- 1 tablespoon, extra virgin olive oil.
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced.
- A small bunch of basil, the stalks finely diced and the leaves left aside for garnish.
- 2 x 240g can of Italian Plum Tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon of capers
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius, while preparing the ingredients.
- On two pre-lined baking trays, place the capsicum and aubergine. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously. Place in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are golden and caramelised.
- To make the Cauliflower Béchamel: Place the cauliflower florets in a medium to large saucepan of salted boiling water and simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until tender. Set Aside.
- Once tender, ake 1/4 cup of the “cauliflower water” and pout it into a blender. Drain the cauliflower florets and include it to the blender with the nutmeg and plant-based milk. Blend until smooth.
- To make the Tomato Sauce: In a large saucepan over a medium high heat, cook the diced mushrooms until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are golden. Include the sliced garlic and basil stalks stirring until fragrant. Include the cans of Italian Plum Tomatoes and capers. Simmer for 10 minutes. Set Aside.
- Construct the Lasagna: In a 3-litre capacity baking dish, spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom, cover with some lasagna pasta sheets, a layer of roasted vegetables, a layer of spinach and then a layer of cauliflower béchamel. Repeat for 2 or 3 times ensuring the final layer is the béchamel sauce.
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve with basil leaves and fresh a side salad!
- Bon appétit! 🙂
- * we used soy milk.
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