Butternut-Leek Lasagne: Gluten-Free & Vegetarian Optional

img_8904Thanks to my friend, Stacey, I’ve discovered TWO ways to make gluten-free lasagne: by substituting noodles with sliced eggplant (delicious but tedious), and by substituting noodles with boiled leeks (below).

This recipe can be made vegetarian, too. (Simply substitute the bolognese sauce with a vegetarian tomato sauce).

I will say this is a time-consuming recipe – about 2 hours of prep time and another hour of cooking time.


Leek “noodles”

  • 3 large leeks
  • 1 t. salt

Butternut squash filling

  • 1 large (3lb) butternut squash
  • 2-4 cloves garlic
  • fresh or dried thyme
  • 2 t. extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Bolognese sauce

  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 carrot, minced
  • 1 celery stalk, minced
  • 1 lb. ground meat of your choice
  • 1 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 c. grated Romano or parmesan cheese

Cheese sauce

  • 4 T. unsalted butter
  • 1-2 t. sage
  • 1/4 c. flour (use chickpea or gluten-free)
  • 3 c. coconut milk
  • 1 & 1/4 c. crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • 3/4 c. cashews, finely chopped
  • extra sage for garnish


Roasting the butternut squash. MMmmm!

Roasting the butternut squash. MMmmm!

Roast Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F, with rack in the middle slot
  2. Halve the butternut squash and scoop out the seeds and strings. Place one clove of garlic in each cavity, along with some thyme, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Roast in oven until squash is browned in a few spots and very tender, 45 – 60 min.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool, then scoop out the flesh into a large bowl and mash.


Boiling the leeks in to noodles. Brilliant!

Boiling the leeks in to noodles. Brilliant!

Make “Noodles”

  1. Slice the bottoms and green tops from the leeks, leaving just the white stalks.
  2. Slice each leek half-way through, lengthwise. Then separate the layers into wide “noodles”.
  3. Put a large pot of water on low boil, add salt, and add the leeks.
  4. Boil on low for about 30 minutes, until leeks are very soft.
  5. Drain and set aside in cold water.

Prepare Bolognese

Bolognese sauce. MMmmmm!

Bolognese sauce. MMmmmm!

(or if going vegetarian, prepare your favourite vegetarian pasta sauce)

  1. Heat 1/4 c. oil over medium, then add onion and garlic. Saute until very tender, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add celery and carrot, saute 5 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to high and add ground meat and saute until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Cook over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes.

Prepare Cheese Sauce

Mixing the cheese into the milk base. (It looks greyish because I used buckwheat flour).

Mixing the cheese into the milk base. (It looks greyish because I used buckwheat flour).

While the bolognese is simmering…

  1. Melt 4 T. butter in large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add sage and cook until butter is fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add flour and whisk until smooth and golden, about 2 minutes. (Mine photos look greyish because I used buckwheat flour)
  4. Gradually whisk in mil and cook, whisking occasionally until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the cheeses, nutmeg, and salt and pepper.
  6. Set aside 1 & 1/2 c. of the sauce. Mix the remainder in with the mashed squash.
Mashed squash, before adding the cheese sauce.

Mashed squash, before adding the cheese sauce.

Assemble & Cook the Lasagne

The fun part!

  1. In a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, spread 1/2 c. of the cheese sauce in the bottom.
  2. Cover with a layer of cooked leek “noodles”.
  3. Spread 1 cup of squash mixture evenly over top, followed 1 cup of the pasta sauce.
  4. Add another layer of noodles and repeat 2 times.
  5. Finish with a layer of noodles and 1/2 cup of the cheese sauce.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped cashews and sage.
  7. Bake at 375 degrees F. for about 40 minutes covered in foil. Then remove foil and bake another 15-20 minutes until top is browned and bubbly. Allow to cool enough to solidify a bit before slicing and serving.

Here’s how mine looked:

The first layer: cheese & noodles.

The first layer: cheese & noodles.

Noodle layer over the squash and bolognese sauce.

Second layer.

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!