Life & Style

Veggie Virtuoso

As summer finally arrives, chic chef Nina Parker conjures quick and easy vegetarian lasagne – perfectly timed for alfresco entertaining. Deliciously rich in seasonal veg and creamy ricotta cheese, this is your stylish route to pasta en plein air.


This is a dream dinner-party dish for early summer. It’s a veggie adaptation on the classic lasagne format, using the best produce in season right now. A mix of two no-fuss sauces, it’s a quick, throw-together ricotta and tomato recipe that’s as scrumptious as it is simple – just the thing for an effortless evening under the stars.

Courgette, Pea and Ricotta Lasagne

Serves 8


350g lasagne pasta sheets (gf)

Ingredients for the filling

3 tbsp olive oil 3 medium courgettes, sliced into 3cm chunks 350g cherry tomatoes, halved 400g tinned chickpeas (1 tsp bicarbonate of soda) 6 garlic cloves, diced 200g frozen peas Small bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped 2 buffalo mozzarella balls, torn into 3cm pieces

Ingredients for the tomato sauce

2 tins of plum tomatoes 2 garlic cloves, grated 1 tbsp dried oregano 1 tbsp tomato purée 1 tsp sugar 2 tbsp olive oil 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Ingredients for the ricotta sauce

45g melted butter 150g Grana Padano, grated, plus about 20g extra for grating over the top 500g ricotta cheese Lots of grated nutmeg to taste Zest of 1 lemon + a small squeeze juice Salt + pepper 170ml whole milk

Extra olive oil and grated cheese for the topping

Cooking instructions

Preheat the oven to 200˚C (fan). Grease a 25cm x 33cm baking tray with a spoon of oil.

Pour the chickpeas with the tin water into a bowl and top with extra water to completely cover. Mix in 1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and leave while the courgettes cook.

Set a large saucepan to a medium-to-high heat with 3 spoons of olive oil. Then add the chopped courgettes and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, cover (leaving a gap) and cook for 10 mins. Mix every so often. Then stir in the 6 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for another 5 mins.

Wash the chickpeas under cold water, drain and add to the pot. Season well again and simmer for another 5 mins. Stir in the peas and basil.

Put all the tomato-sauce ingredients into a blender and blitz for 20 secs until smooth.

Add all ingredients for ricotta sauce into a bowl and beat together for 20 secs.

Spread a few spoons of the tomato sauce across the baking tray and top with one layer of lasagne, followed by more tomato sauce. Add half of the courgette mix, top with 1 ball of mozzarella, grated cheese, 1/3 of the ricotta sauce, and salt and pepper. Do one more layer like this.

Top with more pasta, the last 3rd of the ricotta sauce, grated cheese, seasoning and olive oil.

Bake for 40/45 mins in the middle of the oven. Eat straight away with extra cheese!