【CONFINEMENT】Crêpe Lasagna

I thinly veiled way of burning through an excess of crêpes with Italian flair, particularly given that I’m usually terrible at making pasta.

MZ’s Crêpe Lasagna

[make to the tear-jerking tones of Bocelli’s Livestream from Milan’s Duomo today]
4-5 chickpea crêpes (I used day-old crêpes from making sweet crêpes for breakfast the day before and Chinese for 清明节 Qīng Míng Festival the day before that – I kept them covered in a bamboo steamer basket at room temperature and the dryness is actually a lot better to work with for this particular lasagna, as it soaks up more flavour)

Layer Fillings

3 cups marinara sauce
4 cups vegan ricotta
2 tbsp tahini
2 cups spinach (blanched, drained, packed – this is approx 275g/10oz uncooked spinach)
1/2 cup sweet potato purée (preferably fresh, but canned is also fine – you could also sub with pumpkin purée)

Walnut Vegetable “Mince”

1/2 cup carrots (finely chopped)
1/2 cup celery pulp (I use the pulp leftover from making celery juice, but you can also just finely dice celery)
1/2 cup bell pepper/capsicum (finely chopped)
1/2 cup walnuts (raw, minced in a food processor, or finely chopped)
1/2 cup mushrooms (any kind, finely chopped)
1 tbsp olive oil (any other vegetable oil is also fine)
1 tbsp soy sauce (sub with tamari if gluten-free)

  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F, fan-forced.
  2. Cut or tear your crêpes to the size of the pan you plan to bake in (which can be whatever shape you prefer – I used a loaf pan). This is not an exact science – so long as you can jigsaw together something that resembles a fully covered layer of crêpes a few times over, you’re good.
  3. To prepare your layer fillings, mix one cup of your vegan ricotta and half of your tahini in a bowl with sweet potato purée.
  4. Mix another cup of your vegan ricotta and the rest of your tahini in a separate bowl with the cooked spinach. This is your “creamed” spinach layer.
  5. Toast the minced walnuts and mushrooms over medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes until fragrant. Add olive oil and soy sauce. Give it another minute. Then, add your carrots, celery pulp and bell pepper/capsicum. Stir until much of the moisture has evaporated (this should take around 4 – 5 minutes),  then take off heat and set aside.
  6. Begin assembly. Start with a layer of marinara sauce, then crêpes, ricotta, mince, “creamed” spinach, marinara, crêpes, sweet potato ricotta, mince, spinach, etc. Make sure your last five layers are crêpes, marinara, spinach, ricotta and marinara.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve hot, topped with nutritional yeast or vegan cheese.

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Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.