Before we get into the deliciousness of mushrooms, we must discuss their health benefits because that will entice you to make this fabulous vegan mushroom lasagna with béchamel sauce! Mushrooms have been around since prehistoric times.
Awesome Benefits of Mushrooms
The ancient Chinese believed that they imparted super-human strength while the ancient Romans considered them food of the gods. Mushrooms have been used in medicinal Chinese medicine for 3,000 years to boost immunity and fight diseases. They are rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals and studies have suggested that they may contribute to lower the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Mushrooms are high in many nutrients, including selenium, copper, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, lysine, manganese, iron, potassium, linolenic acid and B-complex vitamins. Scientific studies show that certain mushrooms can hamper growth and spread of cancer cells, protect normal cells from environmental carcinogens, reduce side effects of chemotherapy, stimulate anti-tumor and anti-microbial activity and help halt HIV proliferation. If that’s not a super food, I don’t know what is! And miraculously, cooking them does not affect their nutritional value or properties.
The most popular varieties found in supermarkets are white button, portobella, crimini (baby portobellas), shiitaki, oyster, enoki and maitake. They all have very different appearances and slightly different flavors and varying nutritional content and benefit. Mushrooms are so versatile that you can add them to many dishes you’re preparing or make them the star as I did in the following recipe.
I was watching the Food Network recently and watched Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, make a wonderful looking Mushroom Lasagna. It was laden with all kinds of dairy products (butter, whole milk, Parmesan cheese) but I craved it so much that I decided to see if it could be veganized. In place of the béchamel sauce that Ina created, I checked around for a vegan version and came upon one that looked really good at Veggieful.com. So I combined the 2 recipes and changed it a bit and it came out rather delicious, if I do say so myself.
Vegan Mushroom Lasagna With Béchamel Sauce
adapted by Ellen Francis from Portobella Mushroom Lasagna Recipe of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa, and
- Olive Oil
- 3/4 lb dried lasagna noodles (1 box)
- 2 cups of unflavored, unsweetened soy milk
- 1/4 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance)
- 1/4 cup tightly packed well-minced yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 1 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tbs nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2 lbs of portobello or crimini mushrooms
- 1 cup vegan shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- 2) Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon of salt and a splash of oil.
- 3) Add the lasagna noodles and cook according to instructions on the box.
- 4) While cooking, occasionally stir gently to prevent noodles from sticking together
- 5) Drain and set aside
- 6) For the bechamel sauce, in a medium sauce pan, add the margarine, onion and garlic
- 7) Saute for 1-2 minutes until margarine has melted and the onion is transparent
- 8) Add the corn starch and stir until it forms a paste
- 9) Add the soy milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper and nutmeg. Stir to combine.
- 10) Reduce heat to low and whisk for a few more minutes until the sauce has thickened. Be careful not to let the sauce burn on the bottom of the pot.
- 11) Take of the heat and set aside
- 12) Slice the mushrooms 1/4 inch thick
- 13) Heat 2 tablespoons of oils in a large saute pan and add half the mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and cook over medium hear for about 5 minutes, until they are tender and release some of their juices.
- 14) Toss occasionally to make sure they cook evenly. Set aside in a bowl.
- 15) Repeat with the second half of mushrooms and set aside in the bowl.
- 16) Assembling the lasagna, spread some sauce on the bottom of an 8 x 12 x 2 baking dish.
- 17) Arrange a layer of noodles, more sauce, 1/3 of the mushrooms, 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat 2 more times: noodles, sauce, mushrooms, mozzarella. Top with a final layer of noodles and sauce and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
- 18) Bake lasagna for 45 minutes or until top is browned and the sauce is bubbly and hot.
- 19) Allow to sit at room temperature fro 15 minutes and serve.
If you love mushrooms or if you love Ina Garten or if you love both, check these out: