The Expanse Recipes: Alex Kamal's Mariner Valley Lasagna (Vegan)
The Expanse season 4 is finally here, and what better way to celebrate the best SciFi series in the 'verse than to make Rocinante pilot, Alex Kamal's Mariner Valley Lasagna! It's a vegan lasagna, too! Buckle up, folks, here comes the juice!
Place the mushrooms into a jug, and pour over the boiling water. Push down with a spoon, to ensure they are all submerged (some will rise to the top, it's not a problem -they'll soon hydrate). Set aside for 15 mins.
Place a large skillet (or a wok or kadai) over a medium heat, and when it's hot, add the frozen peppers. There's no need to add any oil or extra water. Pop a lid on, and let the peppers simmer in their own liquid.
Add the dried onion, and mix well. Continue to simmer for 5 mins.
Stir in the soy mince, garlic, Vegeta, herbs, and chilli flakes.
Add the mushrooms and their liquid, and stir well. Put the lid back on the pan, and leave to simmer for another 10-15 mins, while you make the cheese sauce and ricotta. (If you're not using a non-stick pan, you may need to stir the mix occasionally to prevent it catching.)
Make the 'cheese' sauce:
Place all the ingredients into a blender, and blend on high for 30-60 seconds, depending on how powerful your blender is.
Pour into a saucepan, and over a medium heat, bring to the boil, stirring occasionally to prevent lumps forming.
Once the sauce is boiling, turn the heat down, and simmer - stirring all the time - for around 2 mins, to finish thickening, and to cook the rice flour.
Make the 'ricotta':
Place everything into your blender, and pulse for a couple of minutes, until everything is combined into a ricotta-like consistency. If you have a tamper, use it to push down the tofu. If not, scrape the sides of the jug down in between pulses.
If need be, add a little soy milk to loosen the mix.
Pre-cook the lasagne sheets:
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil.
Place several lasagne sheets into the water, and leave to boil for 5 mins, until softened.
Remove the pasta from the water, and lay out on a chopping board or some baking parchment to cool.
I use my CrockPot because it's just the right size - and the sauté function doubles up as a great way to cook pasta! Use any large pan though; it needs to be large enough for the pasta to be able to freely move around. Constricted pasta will stick together.
Put together your Mariner Valley Lasagna!
Heat your oven to 200°C (400°F / gas mark 6), and spray your lasagne pan with non-stick spray.
Place a layer of lasagne sheets on the bottom of your lasagne pan.
Ladle over ⅓ of the cheese sauce, spreading it evenly over the pasta.
Spread over half of the 'meaty' filling, making sure it's level.
Add the spinach, and gently press down to compact the layers.
Spread over half of the 'ricotta', and then add another layer of pasta on top - again, pressing down gently.
Ladle over another third of the cheese sauce, then the rest of the 'meat', followed by the remainder of the ricotta, and the last of the pasta. Press down gently.
Spread the rest of the cheese sauce over the pasta, making sure the edges are covered, then sprinkle over the 50g of grated vegan cheese, if using.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes, until the pasta is completely soft, and the top is golden. (Although don't expect it to look like dairy cheese!)
Remove from the oven, and leave to rest in the pan for 10 minutes before serving.
Mariner Valley Lasagna will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days if covered, or up to 3 months in the freezer.