Friday, June 18, 2010

Basic Lasagna Canvass

This was my first vegan lasagna, and I'm no lasagna expert anyway, so I made it a very basic one.  My husband and baby both loved it as is, but I think it needs a little something for next time.  It's a great jumping off point though.  You could add layers of roasted veggies, fresh basil, Italian style TVP, or lots of garlic for more flavor.  For a simple lasagna, feel free to just use this easy recipe.

Enough lasagna noodles for your pan (only you know how much this is)
2 packages soft tofu
1/4- 1/3 cup nutritonal yeast, to taste
5-6 cloves of garlic
1/2 yellow onion
Italian Seasoning dry spice mix
about 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus some for sauteeing onion and garlic
2 cans chopped stewed tomatoes (I get the S&W organic from Costco, so I always have some on hand)
1 bunch kale (or spinach, or chard, or other greens of your choice)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded mozzerella daiya cheese

1.  Get a large pot of water boiling for the lasagna noodles, this will take a while, so I put it first.  Salt and oil the water.
2.  Smoosh the tofu into a large bowl until it is the consistency of ricotta.  Add salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and Italian seasoning to taste.
3.  Dice your onion, but leave garlic cloves whole and sautee lightly so that they are not browned, but the sweetness in them developes.  Chop half of this sauttee finely and add it to the "ricotta" and put the other half in the blender.
4.  Taste check your "ricotta" and add what is needed
5.  Add the two cans of tomato to the blender and blend until course, not totally smooth.  Add Italian seasoning until the flavor is how you like it.
6.  How's that pasta water doing?  Boiling?  It should be by now.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Add the pasta to the water and once it's softened enough to sink down a bit, add the entire bunch of kale (or greens of your choice).
7.  Pull the greens out as soon as they are blanched, drain, then chop them while the pasta finishes up.
8.  Your pasta should still be al dente (firm) because your other ingredients are wet and the noodles will absorb that liquid.  Pull them out and lay them on a cookie sheet or large plate.
9.  Pour a bit of your tomato sauce right from the blender into the bottom of your baking dish and spread around (might as well just wash your hands and get right in there quite frankly, it's going to get messy).
10.  Put down a layer of noodles (trimming and adding half sheets if needed for full coverage) and then a layer of your "ricotta," then sprinkle with about a third of your greens, and finally finish with some more sauce.  As you are spreading these layers, get your hands in there and really make things even.  Repeat these layers two more times, then top with a final layer of noodles, sauce, and sprinkle your daiya on top.  I add a bit more Italian seasoning over my daiya.  Cover the pan with foil and *cook for an hour and a half, then uncover and finish another half hour (you can do about 5 minutes on broil at the end for that crispy top crust). *Once it's covered, you can refrigerate for up to a day before cooking.

As with all lasagna, I think it's even better eating the cold leftovers the next day.

Edited later:  This was such a hit with my darlings that I had to make it again!  For my second round, I only did a bottom layer of pasta, a middle layer of pasta, and a top layer.  I left out the daiya for cost reasons and just poured marinara over the top and sprinkled it with flax meal/nutritional yeast/salt combo.  For the tofu, I used one package of silken and one package of firm and that made a much better ricotta consistency.  I doubled the amount of onion and garlic too.  
All my changes made for an even better lasagna that my little family adored.  

No comments:

Post a Comment