Vegan Butternut Squash & Sage Lasagna

 Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna Recipe

This is the perfect dish to serve at a special occasion. It's looks beautiful and indulgent, is loaded with rich flavors, and it's warm and filling. It's vegan, but I doubt anyone would think about that unless you told them. It does take about an hour to prepare if you count cook time and prep time so keep that in mind, but I say it was totally worth the effort!

Ingredients

Pasta Base & Filling 

1 medium butternut squash, roasted whole
6-8 gluten-free lasagna noodles (You can use the no boil but I think they come out tough and chewy. I prefer the boil first noodles, especially for a dish you're already putting effort into, like this one.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 bag chopped walnuts (the original recipe called for roasted chestnuts, but I couldn't find any so I used walnuts and it was amazing)
1 bunch of fresh sage leaves, chopped

Béchamel Sauce

1 (12 oz) package organic firm tofu
1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon pink himalayan sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Topping

1/2 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Earth Balance or coconut oil, melted
Sprinkle with pink himalayan sea salt, ground black pepper and paprika

Directions

Grease a 2-quart casserole dish and set it aside.

Preheat the oven to 425. Place the whole unpeeled squash on a baking sheet and pierce with a knife. Bake 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce oven heat to 350.

Par-boil your lasagna noodles, while the squash is baking. Follow the package directions and don't over boil. Just enough to get them flexible. Drain and rinse with cold water and set aside for assembly.

Heat a medium frying pan over medium-high heat, drizzle with olive oil and add the onion. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the walnuts and the sage and cook until the sage begins to crisp, about 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Cut your cooled squash in half, scoop out the seeds and add the flesh of the squash into the frying pan with the onion-walnut mixture. Coarsely mash the mixture with a fork, leaving some chunks. Set aside.

Prepare the béchamel sauce by combining all of the ingredients in your blender and blending until smooth.

Mix up the topping by combining the breadcrumbs, butter spread, and seasonings in a small bowl and tossing until the crumbs are evenly coated.

Now, you're ready to assemble and bake. Coat the bottom of your baking dish with about 1/2 cup of the béchamel sauce. Layer 3-4 lasagna noodles across the bottom. Top with half the squash mixture and spread it out with your hands. Pour half the remaining béchamel sauce over the top and spread to cover the squash mixture. Repeat the layers of noodle, squash and sauce one more time. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the top top and dust with paprika.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes, until the top layer is browned and the edges appear bubbly. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing. Freezes and reheats well so you can make this ahead for a party or event. 

*Recipe adapted from Simply Gluten Free Magazine.