500 gram seitan
3 to 4 vegan sausages
5 large ripe tomatoes
1.5 cans diced tomatoes (or use 3 more tomatoes)
3 large onion
5 garlic cloves
1/3 cup red wine
Pepper paste or paprika
3 bay leaves
1 handful fresh basil
For the bechamel:
4 tablespoon vegan butter or vegetable margarine
9 tablespoon flour
500 ml soymilk
For the pasta:
1 (500 gram) packet lasagna pasta from wheat semolina
Fill a large pot with water enough to cover the tomatoes, a pinch of salt, and bringing to a boil.
Chop seitan into small cubes. add 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 tablespoon of pepper paste (or paprika), 2 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon oregano, and a generous squirt of ketchup.
Set the seitan aside and let it marinate.
Chop onion and garlic into small pieces, putting 2 onions and 3 garlic cloves in a large pot (not the one with the water), and the other onion and 2 garlic cloves in a large non-stick frying pan.
At this point the water should be boiling. Add the tomatoes and let them sit in the boiling water until you see cracks in the skin. When the skin of the tomatoes cracks, take them into a plate and peel while they're still hot. The skin should slide right off. Use a fork to aid if necessary.
Put the pan and the pot with the onions on high heat, adding a generous amount of olive oil and the bay leaves, 2 for the pot and one for the pan. Cook the onions until they start getting transparent and golden.
While the onions cook, chop tomatoes into cubes and set them aside.
Once the onion is cooked, add the tomatoes to the pot and the seitan to the frying pan.
Lower the heat on the pot to a medium to let it simmer, and cover it.
Leave the heat on the seitan at medium high. Stir for around 5min to allow the seitan to caramelize, being careful that the heat isn't too high.
While this happens boil a kettle of water, about 1 liter.
Add the canned tomatoes to the pot and stir. Season generously with salt, black pepper and nutmeg. The pot should have a somewhat watery consistency, but make sure to keep the flavor. Cover the pot and cook another 5 minutes. Remember to stir the seitan occasionally.
Get your boiling water and pour it in the lasagna dish, along with a pinch of salt and about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Then, carefully drop the pasta in the water, alternating as you do so, making the pasta cross. This will hopefully prevent the pasta from sticking together.
Add the red wine to the pot and sir. Leave the pot uncovered and bring the sauce to a simmer.
Let it cook for approximately 7 minutes uncovered, then 8 minutes with the lid on. Lower to medium low heat and keep cooking and building flavor in the meantime.
While you wait for the tomatoes to cook, start on the bechamel by placing the butter in a small pot on medium heat and let it melt.
Once the butter is sizzling, add the flour and stir vigorously for 2-3 minutes, allowing the flour to cook.
Start adding the milk in small portions, stirring vigorously and continuously. The mixture will become thick and pasty, so keep adding milk and stirring, letting it incorporate the milk, until its reaches a creamy consistency (you may not need all the milk).
Season the bechamel with 1/2 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and a bit of nutmeg until the flavor is right for you.
Continue cooking in low heat, and be stir it regularly so it doesn't burn.
Add more milk if the sauce grows thicker, and let it cook longer if it's too watery, until you reach the desired creamy consistency.
If your oven requires pre-heating, set it now to 180ºC degree.
Once 15 minutes are past turn off the heat on everything, and remove the bechamel sauce from the heat. If you have an electric stove you can leave seitan and tomatoes on the stove top, the residual heat will keep them warm.
Finely chop a handful of fresh basil leaves, and remove all 3 of your bay leaves from the tomato and the seitan.
Combine the seitan to the tomato sauce, by adding it to the pot, and stir for a few seconds.
Carefully take out the pasta, trying as best as you can not to break it, and gently separate any pasta sheets that stick together. Place the pasta sheets in a plate, roughly removing the excess water with your fingers.
Pour out the water from the lasagna dish and dry it with a paper towel so you can start assembling.
Assembling: Start with a layer of bechamel sauce and cover it with pasta.
Then, put a thin layer of bechamel over the pasta, followed a thicker layer of your tomato base, roughly covering the whole dish. Add more pasta on top of the sauce and repeat the process: pasta, bechamel, tomato base. How much you put is up to you but try not to make the layers too thick and over-do it. When you're done layering, you should finish with pouring the remaining bechamel sauce on the top, hopefully enough to make a thicker layer. The bechamel will gain color in the oven.
Cooking: Set your oven to 180ºC degree if you haven't yet, and put the lasagna in the middle position. Make sure the heat is distributed evenly and not too intense on the top. Let it cook for 25 to 30 minutes. After the time is up, if your lasagna doesn't have the desired golden brown color, move it to a higher position and set the oven to brown it for 5 minutes, keeping constant watch.
Lastly, take your lasagna off the oven and serve it.
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