Friday, March 19, 2010

Vegan Lasagna Veggie Style

I have seen plenty of recipes for "vegan" lasagna that instruct you to layer artificial meat with noodles and artificial cheese. Those are fine. I could easily add those things to this lasagna and it would be tasty, but different. I wanted a fresh veggies lasagna that celebrates the coming Spring. I live in Alaska and while I know Spring should be here any minute, the two feet of snow covering my garden taunt me and tell me it will never be Spring again until the White Witch is overthrown (I've been reading The Chronicles of Narnia to my daughter). Also, I just got my weekly CSA box and had a bounty to play with. My CSA provider is Full Circle Farms and I would recommend them to anyone in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Vegan Lasagna Veggie Style
Serves 2 (this recipe could easily be doubled or stretched with other ingredients that I will mention along the way)

Food Processor or Blender
Nonstick or cast iron pan
knife and cutting board
loaf pan (or if doubling use a nice big deep pan or your choosing)

1 medium or large eggplant
1 medium or large zucchini
6 large crimini mushrooms or 2 portabellas
tablespoon sunflower seeds or pine nuts
handful of fresh flat leaf parsley
2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
about 1/2 cup fresh or defrosted frozen spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil plus some to oil loaf pan
garlic salt and red pepper flakes to taste

First, cut the eggplant lengthwise and salt. Place in a 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes. You want it nice and soft. Allow the eggplant to cool while you prepare other ingredients. In the food processor you can put parsley, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, and a tablespoon of oil. When the eggplant is cool, scoop it out of the skin with a spoon and add to the food processor and blend until smooth.

Next, chop mushrooms finely and place in medium high heat pan with about a tablespoon of oil. Add garlic salt and cook until browned. Add the sunflower seeds and let them quickly brown as well. Take this mixture from heat and set to the side. Now you can slice your zucchini into lengthwise strips as thinly as you can. A mandolin would be nice for this, but I don't have one so I just did my best with what I had.

Oil your pan and place down a layer of zucchini strips. On top of the zucchini, place a thin layer of your mushroom and sunflower seed mixture. On top of that, spread a thin layer of the eggplant mixture. I almost ran out of eggplant, so a large eggplant is recommended or using one of the add-ins listed below. After the eggplant, add a layer of spinach and then more zucchini, then mushroom and nuts, then a final eggplant layer. Top with nutritional yeast, salt and red pepper flakes if you like them. Cover with aluminum foil or tight fitting lid.

Cook at 350 degrees for about an hour or until everything is bubbly.

**Variations** You could use any or all of them.
To stretch this recipe and add more protein, you can do a few things:
1. Add a can of cannelini beans (drained) to your eggplant mixture when blending.
2. Add TVP (textured vegetable protein) that has been reconstituted, artificial ground beef, or an Italian Field Roast sausage to your mushroom mixture.
3. Add cooked lasagna noodles in layers throughout.

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