Sunday Times number one bestselling authors Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, aka BOSH, have created a veganism food revolution and are on a mission to prove just how versatile cooking with plants can be. Their recreation of these two traditional family favourites delivers a new world of flavour and will get us cooking not just to fill, but to also help our loved ones feel fantastic…
Lasagne will always be one of our favourites, and this simple mushroom ragùwith a rich, creamy béchamel 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 ragùand béchamel 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.
100g sun-dried tomatoes, plus 2 tbsp oil from the jar
3 celery sticks
1 sprig fresh rosemary, plus more for garnish
2 sprigs fresh thyme
4 garlic cloves
700g chestnut mushrooms
300ml red wine
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp red miso paste
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tsp dried oregano
2 tsp soy sauce
2 x 400g tins chopped plum tomatoes
500g dried lasagne sheets
salt and black pepper
salad leaves, to serve
FOR THE BÉCHAMEL
125ml olive oil
1.25 litres unsweetened plant-based milk
1½ tbsp nutritional yeast
Food processor | 2 large saucepans, one on a medium heat| Fine grater or Microplane | 25 x 30cm lasagne dish | Foil
Peel and quarter the onions and blitz them in the food processor until finely chopped | Add the sun-dried tomato oil to the large pan on the heat and sauté the onions, stirring, for 5–6 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 1 minute | Add the carrot, celery, rosemary and thyme, reduce the heat slightly and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 12–15 minutes.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the sun-dried tomatoes | 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 8–10 minutes.
Pour in the wine, increase the heat and stir constantly for 5–6 minutes, until nearly all the liquid has evaporated | Add the tomato purée, miso paste, balsamic vinegar, oregano and soy sauce and stir for 1 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 béchamel | Put the second pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil | Add the flour and stir for 3–5 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 béchamel thickens to the consistency of custard | Taste and season | Preheat the oven to 180°C
Now, layer up your lasagne | Spread a quarter of the ragùinto the lasagne dish | Spoon over a quarter of the béchamel | Cover with lasagne sheets, breaking them if necessary to make a complete layer with no gaps | Repeat three times, reserving some béchamel to cover the top completely | Garnish with a few rosemary leaves | Cover with foil and put on the lowest shelf of the oven | Bake for 50 minutes | Remove the foil and bake for a further 15 minutes | Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving with the salad leaves | The leftovers will taste amazing the next day – simply bring back to piping hot in the oven or microwave.
MINI BANOFFEE MERINGUES
It’s a joyous and magical experience to watch a drizzle of chickpea water turn into a fluffy, sweet meringue mix! Ideally, use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment for this recipe as in our experience hand-whisks don’t have the power to get the chickpea water to stiff peaks.
140ml aquafaba (the drained water from 1 x 400g tin chickpeas)
½ tsp cream of tartar
100g caster sugar
25g dark chocolate
FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE
150g caster sugar
120ml full-fat coconut milk
a pinch of salt
½ tsp dairy-free butter
FOR THE CASHEW CREAM
600ml full-fat coconut milk
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Stand mixer | Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper | Preheat oven to 180°C | Frying pan | Small saucepan | Liquidiser
Pour the aquafaba into the mixer | Turn the mixer on to high and leave it running | Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat | After 2 minutes add the caster sugar, one spoonful at a time | Beat on high for 10–15 minutes | It’s ready when the aquafaba has magically transformed into a thick, meringue-like mixture that won’t fall off a spoon turned upside down
Spoon the meringue mixture on to the lined baking sheets to make nests about 8cm wide, no more than 1.5cm high and smooth on top, leaving 2cm between them | You should end up with about 18 nests (you can draw 8cm circles on the parchment paper, then flip over the paper and use them as templates)
Put the trays in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 100°C | Bake for 2 hours, then turn off the heat, leave the door closed and let the meringues cool completely, preferably overnight | Cooling the meringues overnight in the oven allows them to set properly and reduces the chances of them cracking due to sudden changes in temperature.
To make the caramel sauce, put the frying pan on a medium heat | Pour in the sugar, 75ml of the coconut milk and the salt | Bring to the boil, whisking continuously | Once the mixture has turned caramel in colour, about 10–15 minutes, remove from the heat | Add the rest of the coconut milk and the dairy-free butter, stir through and transfer to a heatproof bowl.
To make the cashew cream, put the small saucepan over a medium heat | Add the nuts and 400ml of the coconut milk | Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until most of the coconut milk has evaporated | Transfer to the liquidiser | Add the icing sugar, vanilla and remaining 200ml coconut milk | Add the banana half to the liquidiser | Blend until really smooth.
Place your meringue nests on serving plates | Peel 2–3 bananas and cut them into long diagonal slices (the longer they are the more beautiful they will look) | Lay half the slices on top of the meringues | Cover the bananas with dollops of coconut cream | Top with 1 or 2 more banana slices and lashings of caramel sauce | Finely grate over the chocolate and serve.
Henry and Ian are joining forces with National Vegetarian Week 2019 (13-19 May) to prove vegetarian food can pack a punch saying, “Yes people, bring on the veg! Veggie food can taste absolutely phenomenal – spicy, punchy, colourful. If you’re a meat-lover, a flexi, a long-time veggie or recent vegan, get involved, get experimental, it’s time to try 50 veggie things in May.” Celebrate plant-based livingwith a pick and mix from the 50 brilliant activities at nationalvegetarianweek.org
Featured recipes from ‘BISH BASH BOSH!’ by Henry Firth and Ian Theasby, published by Harper Collins. Out now HB £20. Food photography ©Lizzie Mayson. Authors image ©Nicky Johnston