Veganissimo: Lasagne and Thai curry recipes for vegans

Vegan recipes: Thai-style yellow curry with coriander dressing (from Veganissimo! by Leigh Drew).
Vegan recipes: Thai-style yellow curry with coriander dressing (from Veganissimo! by Leigh Drew). Photo: Arbon Publishing

Sydney-based Leigh Drew is a cooking teacher and cafe manager and has been a vegan for 10 years. Veganissimo! is her third cookbook and has been written with both the novice vegan and longer-term vegan in mind. Here are two sample recipes from the book, launched this month.

Thai-style yellow curry with coriander dressing

This flavoursome curry can be served with or without rice.

For curry:

340g extra-firm tofu, frozen then defrosted

3 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons gluten-free, salt-reduced tamari or salt-reduced soy sauce

Veganissimo! By Leigh Drew, Arbon Publishing, $34.99.
Veganissimo! By Leigh Drew, Arbon Publishing, $34.99. 

1 large onion, finely sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 large red chilli, finely chopped


Stems and roots of 2 bunches coriander (approx. 200g), washed well and lightly crushed

2 heaped teaspoons ground turmeric

2 heaped teaspoons ground coriander seeds

1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 cup water

1 3/4 cups (420ml) coconut milk

1 3/4 cups (420 ml) salt-reduced, “chicken-style” vegan stock

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 medium carrot, sliced into 0.6cm thick pieces

20 snow peas, topped and tailed

1 cup (155g) frozen peas

For dressing:

1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce

1/3 cup lime juice

1 bunch coriander leaves roughly chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Squeeze out the liquid from the defrosted tofu, and then tear it into bite-size pieces. Place the tofu into a medium bowl, and toss it with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and the tamari or salt-reduced soy sauce.

Pour the tofu mixture onto a baking tray that has been lined with kitchen baking paper, and bake it, tossing it once, for 20 minutes or until the tofu is dry and beginning to colour. Set the tofu aside.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large wok over medium heat. Saute the onion, garlic, red chilli, and coriander stems and roots for about 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Sprinkle in the ground turmeric, ground coriander seeds, and ground cumin, and mix the ingredients well. Add the water to make a loose paste, and stir the mixture well for 2 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and stock, as well as 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

3. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer the mixture for about 20 minutes. When the curry sauce has darkened a little and cooked down slightly, remove the wok from the heat and stir through the remaining lemon juice, the baked tofu, carrot, snow peas, and frozen peas. Place the wok over low heat for a further 5 minutes or until you are ready to serve the curry.

4. To make the dressing, mix together the sweet chilli sauce, lime juice, and coriander in a small bowl.

5. To serve, divide the curry into four bowls. Pour a couple of generous spoonfuls of the dressing over the top.

PREPARATION TIME 30 minutes, plus overnight freezing and defrosting
COOKING TIME 45 minutes
Gluten Free


Tempeh, eggplant, and sweet potato lasagne

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

340g tempeh, grated

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried marjoram

1 teaspoon ground pepper

400g tinned tomatoes

1 tablespoon vegan, gluten-free Worcestershire sauce

1 cup salt-reduced, vegetable stock

1 large eggplant, sliced into 1.2-cm thick pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large sweet potato, sliced into 1.2-cm thick pieces

* 1 1/2 batches bechamel sauce (see below)

8–10 gluten-free or standard lasagne sheets


1. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the tempeh, and stir for 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste, dried oregano, dried marjoram, and ground pepper, and stir for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, vegan gluten-free Worcestershire sauce, and salt-reduced vegetable stock, and stir to combine the ingredients. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20–30 minutes.

2. While the sauce is cooking, preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with kitchen baking paper. Brush the eggplant pieces on both sides with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and place them on the baking tray.

3. Bake the eggplant pieces, turning them once, for about 20 minutes or until they are well cooked and beginning to colour.

4. While the eggplant pieces are cooking, place the sweet potato pieces into a steamer and steam them over high heat for 5–7 minutes or until they are tender.

5. Pour a 1/2 cup of bechamel sauce into a 23cm x 30cm casserole dish. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets, then 1 1/2 cups of the tempeh sauce, followed by a layer of eggplant pieces and a layer of sweet potato pieces. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets, then 1 1/2 cups of tempeh sauce, followed by a drizzle of bechamel sauce. Top with a layer of lasagne sheets, then the remaining eggplant and tempeh sauce, and sweet potato.

6. The final layer consists of lasagne sheets, followed by bechamel sauce to cover the lasagne.

7. Place the lasagne into the oven. Bake it for about 40 minutes or until it is starting to colour and the lasagne sheets have softened.

Gluten Free
COOKING TIME 1 hour 20 minutes (plus 1 hour for the bechamel sauce)

Vegan bechamel sauce

2 cups (480ml) non-dairy milk

4 cloves

1 onion, peeled

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup (30g) chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour

1/2 cup (120ml) salt-reduced vegetable stock

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon white pepper


1. Pour the non-dairy milk into a medium saucepan. Push the cloves into the onion, and place the onion into the saucepan with the non-dairy milk, along with the bay leaves. Bring the non-dairy milk to a simmer over low heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.

2. Set the saucepan aside to allow the flavours to continue infusing for another 15 minutes. Remove and discard the onion, cloves, and bay leaves.

3. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, and whisk in the chickpea flour. Pour in the salt-reduced vegetable stock, and whisk the mixture to form a paste. Add in the flavoured non-dairy milk 1/2 cup at a time, whisking after each addition to make sure the sauce is smooth.

4. Continue adding the flavoured non-dairy milk until the sauce is smooth and coats the back of a spoon. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and whisk in the salt and white pepper.

COOKING TIME 50 minutes
MAKES 6 portions