Delightful Eritrean Lasagna with Ethiopian Spice

Whether you consider yourself a foodie or not, it’s a fact that nothing brings people together like great food, right? If you happen to attend any habesha gathering, you will not miss the classic Eritrean lasagna at the end of the serving table. And despite the mixed feelings surrounding its place among East African recipes, this enticing Eritrean traditional food will have you going back for more. Better yet, our simple homemade bechamel sauce recipe for lasagna is purely vegetarian. For those on the plant-based side of the dinner table, we got you… In East Africa, this charming recipe is one of the many fascinating Ethiopian berbere spice uses. Remember to watch the video tutorial to get the hang of it.

Video Tutorial

Get A Taste of Two East African Cultures

What you need to know about this African Lasagna, it is sweet, fragrant, and 100% Plant-based. I was shocked when I cut a hefty portion and eat and I still craved more. The plant protein absorb the spices and the Berbere showed up to show out, it is beautiful! The sweetness is from the bechamel sauce and I couldn’t be happier. Cheese didn’t sit right with me during the meat-eating days. In case you’re lactose intolerant or enjoy plant-based recipes, try this bechamel sauce recipe for any creamy lasagna result. You might join in my bliss. I am happy this Eritrean dish with Ethiopian flare is now in my life and forevermore. A match made on earth.

Whether you consider yourself a foodie or not, it's a fact that nothing brings people together like great food, right? If you happen to attend any habesha gathering, you will not miss the classic Eritrean lasagna at the end of the serving table. And despite the mixed feelings surrounding its place among East African recipes, this enticing Eritrean traditional food will have you going back for more. Better yet, our simple homemade bechamel sauce recipe for lasagna is purely vegetarian. For those on the plant-based side of the dinner table, we got you... In East Africa, this charming recipe is one of the many fascinating Ethiopian berbere spice uses. Remember to watch the video tutorial to get the hang of it.
Flavorful Eritrean Lasagna

Berbere Spice Uses & My Reaction

As explained in how to make the best Ethiopian Spice blend, using an African spice blend like Berbere makes the food taste elevated, because these spices greatly impact the flavor outcome with Smokey, nutty flavor notes. Which is the case with this Eritrean Lasagna with Berbere. Understandably, Lasagna is not indigenous to East African recipes so you can imagine my surprise when I experienced a drastic taste change. I’ve eaten other lasagna many times and thought it tasted good with the red sauce and herby spices people use in the tomatoes sauce. 

This Eritrean Lasagna with Ethiopian Spice tasted luxurious. When I used to eat dairy and animal products, white sauces made of cow milk and goat dairy cream smelled fabulous, and I thought they tasted good but hours later after eating, I needed to undo my pant buttons because diary cream meal makes me feel heavy, like a rock. With this plant-based meal, I was expecting the same from this creamy, decadent Eritrean traditional food. I ate about four slices of the lasagna and realized if I didn’t stop, I wouldn’t have more food for the week since it was made to last the entire week. Spoiler alert, it lasted 2.5 days. My husband was definitely tired of hearing me rave about how light this food makes me feel.

What do you serve with Eritrean Lasagna?

Traditionally, Eritreans serve this enticing dish as a side dish along with injera and different kinds of wot or with just a simple salad. You can savor it on its own with this refreshing pink lemonade OR with your favorite soup, salad, or leafy green vegetables.

So, how did you enjoy your delightful Eritrean-Ethiopian meal? What other spices did you add to your homemade bechamel sauce? Let us know in the comments below.

And, whether you’re new to cooking or an expert, we hope you find some inspiration to try out this recipe. Subscribe to our free newsletters to not miss any updates.

Plant-based-Eritrean-Lasagna_humblevege

Enticing Eritrean Lasagna

Yield: 5.5
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

This African Lasagna is sweet, fragrant, and 100% Plant-based. The plant protein absorb the spices and the Berbere showed up to show out, it was beautiful! The sweetness is from the bechamel sauce and I couldn't be happier. Try it for yourself.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Pasta Water (keep)
  • Flat dried Pasta Sheet
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • half Onion
  • 12 oz Plant Protein
  • 14oz dice tomatoes
  • half tsp Paprika
  • 2 tsp Berbere
  • 1 TBSP Coriander
  • 2 TBSP Oregano
  • 1/4 Cup of Water
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Bechamel Sauce
  • 3 TBSP Oil
  • 4 TBSP Whole wheat Flour
  • half tsp Berbere
  • half tsp Salt
  • pinch black pepper

Instructions

    Cook Lasagna Pasta

    1. To start preparing this Eritrean traditional food, take your lasagna pasta and be sure to carefully read the package instructions, and cook your pasta. You want to cook it aldente (partial cook). You can use the entire pancake or half of it. Note, I recommend NOT using raw pasta because the plant protein does not have enough water or liquids to cook the raw pasta if you skip this step. Also, plant protein shouldn't be overcooked.

    2.  After your lasagna pasta is cooked, take it off the heat and save 2 cups of pasta water in another bowl, proceed to rinse your pasta under cold water to prevent the cooked pasta from sticking together. Next, save up two cups of the pasta water to use for later.

    Prepare Lasagna Filling

    3. In your cooking pan, add 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil (although I recommend avocado oil since it is better than grapeseed oil) to enable you to cook the plant protein. Allow your oil to heat on low to medium heat.4. Once the oil is hot, add your frozen plant based beefless crumbles and cook per the packaging instructions and do not overcook since this is processed plant-protein 

    5. Next, add in a half onion, diced, and minced garlic. Stir to combine the mixture.

    6. When the garlic and onions are fully cooked, add two teaspoons of berbere and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low at this point and allow to cook for one minute.

    7. Next, add in two tablespoons of Oregano to the mixture and stir to combine fully. At this point, go ahead and add 14oz diced tomatoes to the plant-based mixture and stir to mix properly. Note, the canned tomatoes sometimes are sold pre-flavored with garlic or oregano or it can be plain. Using any type of those chunky canned diced tomatoes is fine.

    8. At this stage, add in the 2 cups of pasta water you saved earlier. Stir slowly to combine. Also, add in one tablespoon of ground coriander then two bay leaves, and add half a teaspoon of salt to taste. Stir to fully combine.

    9. Add a bit of water (¼ cup of water) and let the plant-based crumbles mixture simmer for 15 minutes on low to medium heat. Add half teaspoon of paprika, stir to combine, and cook for a minute, then this part is ready. Take it off the heat and set it aside.

    Prepare the Bechamel Sauce

    10. At this stage, place a clean saucepan on low heat and add 3 tablespoons of cooking oil. We are making the Bechamel sauce.

    11. In a flat dish mix four tablespoons of flour, one tablespoon of berbere, half teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of pepper. Gently, add this dry mixture into the heated oil. Stir this mixture until it looks completely smooth into the oil; there should be no lumps (I recommend using a whisk to stir it instead of a regular spoon). The bechamel sauce should start to smell beautiful. Note, you can use wholewheat flour for added nutrition. 

    12. After 2 mins or when the mixture is fully smooth in the oil, gradually add in two cups of soy milk and stir; Basically do this by adding the milk in small quantities as you stir while you cook.

    13. .When all the milk is added and the mixture is smooth, you should have a very light gravy-like consistency. Rule of thumb, you stop cooking until the consistency is thick enough to stick on the back of a cooking spoon. When the bechamel sauce is done (passed the spoon test), turn off the heat and remove the bechamel sauce from the heat. 

    Assemble the lasagna to bake it

    14. Turn your oven on to 300 Degree F. In a small baking dish that fits a lasagna,  start by layering a cook spoon amount from the beefless crumbles mixture into the baking dish.  Then neatly arrange your lasagna pasta strip on top of the crumbles as your second layer. Next, add a good amount of beefless crumbles mixture onto the pasta. Then, add a spoonful of Bechamel sauce and spread nicely on top of beefless crumbles. 

    Repeat the steps of: a) add pasta strips (b) add beefless crumbles mixture(  c) spread bechamel sauce on top. On the very top of your past meal, you want to end up with beefless crumbles mixtures and bechamel sauce.

    Next, Cover the top of your lasagna dish in foil and pop the lasagna into the heated oven. Covering it prevents the top part from burning. Bake for 10 mins. After that, remove the foil and proceed to bake for 2 mins allowing the top part to brown a bit.

    After that, allow your lasagna to cool and it should be ready to enjoy.

Notes

I highly recommend using plant-based Bechamel sauce it is better than cheesy sauce. The cheese didn't sit right with me during my meat-eating days and I am happy this dish is now in my life and forevermore. A match made on earth. Enjoy!

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