Sunday, September 11, 2011

Garden Lasagna

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Italian food. Sometimes I like to break away from my family's very old traditional tomato lasagna recipe and try something new. Being a vegan lasagna is something I never get to eat unless I make it myself. After much trial and error I have come up with this tasty alternative to the regular fat and cholesterol ridden recipe. It still has carbs, though...

1. Pasta. Boil lasagna noodles, drain, & set aside to cool. (I prefer Barilla or Giant Food brand which is cheaper and just as good. Love saving money!)

2. Make Tofu Ricotta: In medium bowl mix 1/2 tsp minced garlic, TB oregano, 8 TB sugar, 2 TB lemon juice, 1 tsp sea salt. Add 3-4 blocks of firm tofu & mash with a fork to get the consistency of ricotta cheese. Mix in a handful of vegan cheese (Daiya mozarella is the absolute best vegan cheese!). Shake some vegan parmesan in as well to taste. Set aside.

3. Make the Cheesy Sauce:
Fill a saucepan halfway with milk (I use Silk soymilk).
Add 1/2 c margarine (I use Smart Balance Light with Flax Seed), 2 tsp. salt, 3 heaping TB nutritional yeast (from the health food store). 
Shake in some parmesan (We use the vegan Galaxy Parmesan.)
Add 1/2 tsp turmeric for color and a super antioxidant boost.
Whisk in 6 TB flour to thicken a bit.
When sauce is getting thicker turn off heat & add a little less than 1/2 c lemon juice. 

Set aside & prepare veggies. This sauce is also great over veggies, as a sauce for macaroni and cheese, over baked potatoes, nachos...

4. Prep Veggies:
Chop carrot and sautee in olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt just until tender (not mushy!). 

Add fresh or frozen spinach and stire until spinach is wilted. Set aside.

Now here is the fun part where you get to play with your food!

5. Layer ingredients in lasagna pan. Start with a light layer of sauce. Layer noodles on top. 


Top with ricotta mixture. Add another layer of noodles and top with sauce and a layer of veggies. Keep repeating until ingredients are used. Top with a layer of mozarella and a sprinkling of oregano. I like to put extra cheese in the corners because the edges get all crispy and yummy in the oven.

6. Bake. Cover dish with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Uncover. Bake an additional 7-10 minutes or until cheese is nice and melty.

Serve with a salad. Open a bottle of wine (I suggest Pinot Grigio) & share it with someone you love (or someone you want to love you). Buon Appetito!

This freezes well, too--for those "What's for dinner?" nights when you don't feel like cooking or have unexpected guests, so it's nice to double the recipe to have a spare to pop into the oven :-) Work once, eat twice. That's what I do on Sundays so I can stock my freezer.

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