Lasagne with pesto and red lentils

An Italian favourite gets a vegetarian twist with this delicious lasagne recipe. Combining pesto and hearty red lentils, the dish is perfect served for a comforting family meal

  • 50 mins cooking
  • Serves 6
  • Print
This recipe first appeared in Food magazine issue 58.
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Vegetable sauce
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium aubergine, cut into 1.5cm cubes
  • 1 capsicum, chopped
  • 800 gram can chopped tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup basil pesto
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cheese sauce
  • 2 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon plain flour
  • 2 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • lasagne sheets, fresh or dried, sufficient for 2-3 layers in dish


  • 1
    Place the lentils in a medium-sized saucepan with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for around 10 minutes, or until the lentils have softened and begun to look fluffy. Drain, rinse and set aside.
  • 2
    While the lentils are cooking, heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat and cook the onion and garlic until they are soft. Add the diced aubergine and capsicum and continue cooking gently until the vegetables are soft.
  • 3
    Add the canned tomatoes, lentils, tomato paste, pesto, oregano, sugar and salt and simmer gently for 5 minutes. If you are using already cooked vegetables instead of the aubergine, add them at this stage.
  • 4
    For the cheese sauce, heat the butter or oil and whisk in the flour. Add a dash of the milk and whisk to form a lump-free paste. Add more of the milk and whisk. Repeat until you have added all the milk. Stir the sauce with a wooden spoon until it begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. When the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add three-quarters of the grated cheese.
  • 5
    To assemble, preheat the oven to 180ºC. Spread a quarter of the vegetable sauce over the base of an ovenproof dish, drizzle over a quarter of the cheese sauce and top with a layer of lasagne. Continue to layer in this manner until all the ingredients have been used and finish with a layer of the cheese sauce. Scatter over remaining grated cheese and bake the lasagne in the oven for 35 minutes until it is golden and bubbling. Leave the lasagne to stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.


  • Serves 6-8.