I was once known for my veggie lasagna. Seriously. I can comfortably say it was something special. Some of the things that made it so tasty were the spinach and basil I added to the ricotta, and the portabella and zucchini I precooked before putting the layers together.
My attempts at making lasagna in the past were just lacking something and as I contemplated how I was going to make the lasagna for Christmas dinner it came to me that it needed a richer flavor. The tofu ricotta had a great flavor, the other layers were exactly the same as my old lasagna but it needed something…
Then it came to me. In Nothern Italy they often use a bechamel sauce in their lasagna layers instead of tomato. With that in mind I came up with my new recipe and it is finally blog worthy.
*Total time from start to finish was over 4 hours but keep in mind that much of that time was figuring out what I was doing next and writing down the recipe. I am guessing though that you will need to give your self three hours.
*You can prep it the night before to make it a little easier.
*Another time-saving thing would be to use your favorite jarred tomato sauce. I would have two on hand because dry lasagna is not good.
*On top I added vegan mozzarella cheese but I really don’t think it was needed .
*Prepare in order listed below so that the different elements have the right amount of time to sit and gain flavor.
Here we go!
Tomato Sauce Ingredients:2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic pressed
1 small onion diced
28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
In a large pot saute garlic and onions in olive oil. In a blender pulverize whole tomatoes and basil. Once onions are translucent add all remaining ingredients to pot including pulverized tomatoes. Cook on medium hit until it begins to boil then reduce to low. Continue to cook at least a half hour. I allowed it to simmer the entire time I was making the other layers.
14 oz firm tofu drained
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 medium garlic cloves pressed
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white miso
1/2 tsp granulated onion/onion powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
20 fresh basil leaves chopped
16 oz frozen spinach defrosted and all moisture squeezed out
Place tofu and garbanzo beans in a bowl and mash with a fork until the consistency of ricotta. Stir in remaining ingredients. Let while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
1/2 lb portabella’s sliced approximately 1/4″ thick
3 tsp Olive oil
3 tsp water
In a large frying pan add 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp water and a few shakes of garlic powder. Saute portabella over medium heat for three minutes on each side. I had to do it in three batches so I added more olive oil, water and garlic powder for each batch.
1 1/2 lb zucchini sliced approximately 1/4″ thick
3 tsp olive oil
3 tsp water
Cook the same as portabella’s except you are using oregano instead of garlic powder and cook for 5 minutes on each side.
White Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup cashews soaked (at least two hours)
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegan butter
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp vegan Parmesan (if you don’t have use 2 tbsp nutritional yeast)
1 tsp salt
Add cashews and water to blend and blend until creamy. Mix in nutritional yeast , nutmeg, Parmesan and salt. Melt butter in a sauce pan over medium/low. Whisk in flour until well blended. Reduce heat to low. Slowly pour in cashew mixture, incorporating it into the butter. Remove from heat.
Cook 1 lb lasagna noodles according to package. (We found vegan at Whole Foods.)
Putting the lasagna together:
Aside from the ingredients you will also need a large, deep dish casserole dish ( 9 x 13) and aluminum foil (or something to cover while baking.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Layer in the following order from bottom to top:
1. Thin layer of tomato sauce
2. A layer of noodles (you will need 3 layers total)
3. half of the zucchini
4. half of the ricotta
5. half of the white sauce
6. half of the mushrooms
7. layer of noodles
8. 1/3 of remaining tomato sauce
9. Repeat above starting with zucchini. On top, pour remaining tomato sauce.
10. vegan mozzarella to cover (optional)
Cover dish and bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and remove foil. Continue to cook for 30 more minutes. Cut and serve. Enjoy!