Beet and butternut “fasagne”

I love this time of year, just before the clocks go back. It is sometimes frosty, but mostly bright and often sunny. The Boston ivy cascading over the garden wall has embraced its beautiful autumnal coat of reds, yellows and oranges, while the climbing rose is fighting the change of season with a last few brave blooms. The produce at the farmer’s market is now distinctly different from the offering even a month ago. And our appetites have definitely veered towards more warming, comforting dishes. This fasagne (my son’s name for “fake” meat-, gluten- and (mostly) dairy-free lasagnes) is a delicious way to feed a gathering. It does involve a few steps, but nothing is too complicated or time-consuming. I often double the quantities and freeze one.

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Beet and butternut “fasagne”

Serves 6 – 8

Ingredients for the cauli-béchamel

2 medium cauliflowers, florets steamed until tender (about 1.2kg cooked weight)

30g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter (preferably organic and grass-fed), omit if vegan or dairy-free

1 teaspoon good quality unrefined salt

2 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flakes (available at health stores and most good supermarkets)

heaped 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Ingredients for the beet & tomato sauce

extra virgin olive oil

400g red onions, finely chopped (300g chopped weight)

1.4kg (about 14) tomatoes, peeled, deseeded and roughly chopped (or use tinned if you prefer)

500g beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated

1 teaspoon good quality unrefined salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated


Ingredients for the rest

1 large or 2 medium butternut squashes, peeled

extra virgin olive oil

350g (roughly 2 medium) leeks, washed, cut in half length ways and finely sliced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

400g chard, washed, stalks finely chopped and leaves finely shredded

1/2 teaspoon good quality unrefined salt

large handful of finely grated Parmesan, optional



  1. In a blender or food processor, blend all the ingredients for the béchamel and set aside.
  2. For the tomato sauce, sweat the onion in a large heavy bottomed saucepan in a glug of olive oil over a medium heat until soft an translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has a chutney-like consistency (about 30 minutes).
  3. While the tomato sauce is simmering, prepare the rest of the layers. Cut the butternut squash(es) in half just above the rounded end. Set aside the half with the seeds for use at a later stage (try the Pumpkin Pie smoothie in my book Good Better Green). Slice the other half into thin slices, roughly 0.5cm/1/4” thick. These will form your lasagne sheets. Place the “sheets” in a large saucepan and boil in a little water until just tender when tested with a sharp knife. Be careful not to let them cook too soft. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Pour the water from the butternut saucepan and add a glug of olive oil. Gently sweat the leeks and garlic until soft. Add the salt and chard stalks and continue to cook over medium heat until tender. Finally add the chard leaves and cook until wilted. Set aside.
  5. You are now ready to assemble the lasagne. In a large ovenproof dish, place a layer of butternut squash “sheets”. Spread half the tomato sauce on top, then half the béchamel followed by all of the chard and leek mix. Repeat the process, ending with a layer of béchamel.
  6. For an extra-delicious end result, sprinkle grated Parmesan over the top, then bake for roughly 1 hour at 180°C/360°F. It should be bubbling around the edges and the butternut “sheets” should be very tender when tested with a sharp knife. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving with a large green salad.


One response to “Beet and butternut “fasagne””

  1. Imke says:

    Oe, dit klink baie lekker! Ek gaan dit definitief hierdie naweek prober! Dankie! Well done! Ims x

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