Vegan versions of comfort food classics lasagne and shepherd's pie

Vegan-friendly lasagne.
Vegan-friendly lasagne. Photo: Lizzie Mason

The Bosh boys from Britain share two vegan takes on classic dinner bakes from their second book Bish Bash Bosh!.

Lasagne

Lasagne will always be one of our favourites, and this simple mushroom ragu with a rich, creamy bechamel is a real classic. We don't think you should mess with perfection, but you could add a few chilli flakes if you like. The ragu and bechamel can be made the day before and kept in the fridge, so on the day you just have to build and bake the final dish.

INGREDIENTS

Bish Bash Bosh! by Henry Firth & Ian Theasby.
Bish Bash Bosh! by Henry Firth & Ian Theasby. Photo: HQ

2 onions

100g sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced, plus 1½ tbsp oil from the jar

3 carrots

3 celery sticks

1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish

2 sprigs fresh thyme

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4 garlic cloves

700g chestnut mushrooms

300ml red wine

3 tsp tomato puree

3 tsp red miso paste

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

½ tsp dried oregano

2 tsp soy sauce

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

800ml water

500g dried lasagne sheets

salt and black pepper

salad leaves, to serve

For the bechamel

125ml olive oil

125g flour

1.25 litres unsweetened plant-based milk

1½ tbsp nutritional yeast

salad leaves, to serve

METHOD

Peel and quarter the onions and blitz them in the food processor until finely chopped. Add the sun-dried tomato oil to a large pan on the heat and sauté the onions, stirring, for five to six minutes.

Meanwhile, peel the carrots and pulse them in the food processor with the celery until minced. Remove the leaves from the rosemary and thyme and finely chop.

Peel and grate the garlic and add it to the pan. Stir for one minute.

Add the carrot, celery, rosemary and thyme, reduce the heat slightly and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 12 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, pulse the mushrooms in the food processor until finely minced. Add to the pan along with the sun-dried tomatoes. Stir, increase the heat slightly and sauté, stirring, for eight to 10 minutes.

Pour in the wine, increase the heat and stir constantly for five to six minutes, until nearly all the liquid has evaporated. Add the tomato puree, miso paste, balsamic vinegar, oregano and soy sauce and stir for one minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes and water. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and season.

While it is simmering, make the bechamel. Put the second pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the flour and stir for three to five minutes.

Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Add the nutritional yeast and stir until smooth. Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer until the bechamel thickens to the consistency of custard. Taste and season. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Now, layer up your lasagne. Spread a quarter of the ragu into the lasagne dish. Spoon over a quarter of the bechamel. Cover with lasagne sheets, breaking them if necessary to make a complete layer with no gaps. Repeat three times, reserving some bechamel to cover the top completely. Garnish with a few rosemary leaves and cover with foil. Bake for 50 minutes on the lowest shelf of the oven.

Remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving with the salad leaves.

Serves 6-8

Tip: The leftovers will taste amazing the next day – simply bring back to piping hot in the oven or microwave.

Vegan shepherd's pie. Vegan recipe extract for Good Food online from Bish Bash Bosh by Henry Firth & Ian Theasby (HQ Non Fiction, $39.99). Single use only. photography Lizzie Mason.

Vegan-friendly shepherd's pie. Photo: Lizzie Mason

Shepherd's pie

This is perhaps one of Ian's favourite dishes: the British classic, shepherd's pie. Served with garden peas it is perfect for a cold winter evening. You can prepare the filling and mash the day before and keep them in separate airtight containers in the fridge, then assemble the pie when you're ready to cook it. Note: It might take a few minutes longer if you're cooking it from cold.

INGREDIENTS

2 medium red onions, finely diced

1 celery stick, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, grated

4 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped, plus 1½ tbsp oil from the jar

1 sprig fresh rosemary

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 large carrot, finely chopped

500g mushrooms

1½ tbsp tomato puree

3 tsp yeast extract (eg. Vegemite)

3 tsp balsamic vinegar

250ml red wine

100ml vegetable stock

400g pre-cooked puy lentils

salt and black pepper

For the potato topping

1.2kg floury potatoes

40g dairy-free butter

150ml unsweetened plant-based milk

3 tsp Dijon mustard

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180C.

First make a start on the potato topping: Peel and chop the potatoes into large chunks, put in a saucepan, cover with cold water and add a generous pinch of salt. Over a high heat, bring to the boil and cook for 12 to 15 minutes. Drain into a colander and leave to dry then tip back into the pan.

Now to the filling: Remove the leaves from the rosemary and thyme by running your thumb and forefinger from the top to the base of the stems (the leaves should easily come away), then finely chop. Put the mushrooms in the food processor and blitz to mince.

Put a second saucepan over a medium heat. Pour in the sun-dried tomato oil. Add the onion and a small pinch of salt. Fry for five minutes, stirring, then add the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary and thyme and cook for two minutes. Add the carrot and celery and stir for four to five minutes.

Add the mushrooms, turn up the heat slightly and stir for two to three minutes, until the mushrooms start to sweat. Reduce the heat and cook for five to seven minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir the tomato puree into the pan, then add the yeast extract and balsamic vinegar and stir for one minute. Add the red wine, stock and lentils, turn up the heat and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated (about 10 minutes). Taste, season and take off the heat.

Mash the potatoes. Add the dairy-free butter, milk and mustard to the potatoes and mash until really smooth. Season to taste.

Spread the filling over the bottom of the lasagne dish. Spoon the potato into a piping bag, if using, and pipe tightly packed walnut-sized whips of potato all over. Alternatively, spoon over the potato and spread it out with the back of a spoon, then drag over a fork to make rows that will catch and brown in the oven.

Put the pie in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until starting to crisp and turn golden brown. Remove and serve.

Serves 4-6

This is an edited extract from Bish Bash Bosh! by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, HQ Non Fiction, $39.99, photography by Lizzie Mason.