vegetable lasagne

lasagne tends not to be thought of as a summery dish, but this vegetarian version is light enough, and full of fresh zingy flavours, to work really well if you’re enjoying warm weather but still fancy something a little bit comforting.

the fact that it’s a vegetarian lasagne and the use of three different layers of vegetables all adds to the lightness of the dish. i also keep the tomato sauce quite fresh – just onion, garlic and tomatoes with a little fresh basil; no wine to add body – and use crème fraiche in place of a white sauce. lots of grated cheddar on top though, some things really shouldn’t be messed with.

the dish is based on a cranks recipe but i varied my vegetable layers from those suggested so i could use up things i had in. the first layer in the cranks recipe is peas and fennel but i used courgette in place of the peas which worked incredibly well as they soak up the buttery fennel juices beautifully. a dash of cream is added for a touch of richness.

second was mushrooms – a mix of white and brown button mushrooms were cooked with garlic and a small amount of reconstituted porcini; a shake of soy sauce bought up the mushroom flavours (this is a clever trick that the cranks recipes often use) and a dash of tabasco added a slight kick.

finally, a layer of wilted spinach with a little nutmeg and crème fraiche – this is the only layer true to the original recipe, which calls for aubergines in place of the mushrooms and, as mentioned above, peas instead of the courgette.

the end result is light, summery and really delicious- it also keeps well in the fridge for a few days if you have any leftovers.