Monday, 4 March 2013

Vegetable Lasagna

Wow! Am I ever stuffed. This is the best lasagna. There is something very appealing about having a lasagna that is not dripping with cheesy grease, yuck. This was my first time making a vegan lasagna, although I've made many non-vegan lasagnas with my family as well as vegan cannelloni. I was actually planning on doing manicotti with a zucchini wrapper, but Ryan wanted lasagna, so here we are! 
This lasagna has a great structure. I was surprised when I picked it up with the spatula and it didn't fall to pieces like so many lasagnas do. The reason it's so sturdy is most likely because we used both lasagna pasta and strips of zucchini, which we laid perpendicular to one another. Because we only added cheese on top, there were also no greasy layers for the pasta to slip off of. This is definitely a healthy lasagna. Layered with vegetables and tofu, it's lower in saturated fats, as well as calories and sodium, although it's probably more filling than other (non-vegan) lasagnas.



If you are not vegan and want to make this cheesier, you would be able to replace half the tofu with ricotta, just mix it in after the kale has wilted down or you could replace the Daiya on top with a nice goat cheese (which complements the flavours of the lasagna well) or with one of your favourite cheeses.

Serves: 8
Bake at: 375°F

Ingredients

13-15 sheets oven-ready lasagna noodles (less than a full box)
1 zucchini, cut lengthwise thinly with a mandolin
~2/3 cup Daiya vegan cheese
1 large portabello mushroom, 1/4" slices (optional)

1 brick of tofu, rinsed
1-2 cloves minced garlic
olive oil for frying
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 a bunch of kale (or 1 bag of baby spinach)
2/3 cup of water
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

1 large onion, medium dice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red pepper, large dice
6 crimini mushrooms, sliced 
1 16 oz can tomato chunks, in juice
1 jar (650ml, just less that 3 cups) of your favourite spaghetti sauce
salt and pepper to taste


Preparation

In a shallow frying pan, simmer garlic on medium-low heat in olive oil until fragrant. 
Crumble tofu into frying pan so that it resembles ricotta cheese, and season with soy sauce and herbs.
Stir as needed to not overly brown the tofu.

Meanwhile in a large sauce pan on medium heat, sautée onions in olive oil for 2 minutes, then add mushrooms and garlic, then sautée until the mushrooms begin to brown.
Next add diced red pepper and let sautée for an additional 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes.
Taste and add pepper and salt if needed.

De-stem and wash kale, then dice. Add kale to tofu filling with about 2/3 of a cup of warm water. Cover and let steam. 
The water at this step is needed to help cook the oven-ready pasta noodles. Don't worry, the end product will not be watery.
When the kale is ready, uncover, and take off heat.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

In a 9x13" pyrex dish, ladle in 1/2-1 cup sauce to cover bottom.
Layer in the first set of pasta noodles, make sure to not overlap them. 
Next add a layer of sliced zucchini, overlapping slightly. Lay the zucchini slices in the opposite direction of the pasta noodles, perpendicular to them. 
Ladle on a substantial amount of pasta sauce, about half of what is left, so that there is a thick layer of sauce.
Next, layer the second set of pasta noodles. 
On top of the noodles, add the entire tofu filling, evening it out.
Then add a second layer of zucchini slices, in the same manner as the first.
Add the third and final layer of pasta noodles.
If you have enough room, you can add another layer of zucchini here, if not skip this step.
Ladle on the rest of the sauce to cover the noodles or the zucchini.
Sprinkle on the cheese, adding more or less as desired.
Distribute the portabello slices on top of the cheeses (this will stop most of the cheese from sticking to the aluminum foil).
Cover the dish with aluminum foil, puncture a hole in the middle with a fork and form a tent in the foil.
Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.
Remove foil, then bake for an additional 20-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and test pasta with a fork.
Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
Serve with Ryan's No-Knead Bread.

Hope you enjoy! We did!