Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Getting Gourmet ... Vegan Lasagna

I know ... vegan lasagna. What????
Since when did Miss Make-a-Pilgrimage-to-a-Butcher-Shop  become vegan? I didn't. Exactly. But I've been really really trying to eat less meat. So, when my in-laws and my parents came over for dinner one evening, I decided to make a meat lasagna and a vegan lasagna.
The end result?  The meat eaters tried both and though they preferred the meat, the vegan was a hit and they would have it again. The vegan (my mom) LOVED the vegan lasagna. I sent her home with the leftovers, and we're going to be having an evening where we make a few to freeze.
My verdict? Loved it. I didn't feel the need for meat. And it didn't feel heavy like normal lasagna. Definite keep. I didn't exactly follow a recipe. I just kept looking up various recipes and took what I could deal with and what seemed reasonable. So ... enjoy

Here's my mash-up recipe for:

vegan lasagna

  • Rice Noodles - lasagna noodles (the no bake kind). just look in the organic section 
  • Tomato Sauce - Whatever you have on hand. (vegan obviously)
  • Vegan cheese - Shredded "mozarella" vegan cheese. I just bought the kind that said it melted
  • Container of organic baby spinach
  • Vegetable filling
    • Olive oil
    • lots of garlic
    • lots of basil
    • 1 big white cooking onion chopped up
    • 2 zucchinis chopped up
    • 1 container of mushrooms (pre-chopped if you are lazy)
    •  2 cups(ish) cooked broccoli
  • Base Mixture for the lasagna (so the noodles cook)
    • One can of chopped canned tomatoes
    • half a bottle of pesto (or however much you want)
    • some garlic
  • Vegan Ricotta Cheese
    • 3/4 lb tofu
    •  more basil, pesto and garlic
 How to make it
 1) Chop up the veggies for the veggie mix. Basically, you kind of just want there to be lots of veggies, but you want them all nice and soft.
So I really just cooked it all until it was really cooked. I heated the broccoli separately and threw it in after (I ran out out room in the pan), I also maybe had some red peppers in there. The point is I just made lots of veggies. If you don't like something, skip it. I also added lots of garlic and basil because it's lasagna (yum) and lasagna needs garlic and basil.

2) While all that was going on I made the base tomato pesto mixture.
Although when I think about it, it is possible that i just used basil not pesto. And definitely garlic. This just goes on the bottom to make the noodles cook. I also think it makes the house smell good while you are cutting up all your vegetables and acts as inspiration to keep on chopping. (really). It doesn't need to get too hot. I just cooked it so that it all mixed together.

3) The tofu part. Okay - so the goal here is to hide the tofu. So, easy peasy. First I ground it in a mini food processor. So it was ricotta like. (it would probably be better in a big one, but that's way up on a shelf i can't reach) Then it just seemed weird to throw it in and I got thinking it required more flavour (I read tofu takes on flavour) so I just fried it up (minus oil) with, you guessed it, more garlic and basil. I didn't taste test it. It looked gross. I just hoped for the best. At this point when it looks a bit gross, you can't quit or you'd be very wasteful. Also - at this point remember you're feeding vegans who have a different criteria for what they eat. My friend eats raw tofu. Keep that in mind.It will all be okay.

4) Putting it all together. - this is is lasagna. It's layers. So. I put my base as the base. I layered on some noodles. Then I kind of forget the order i threw everything on. I just put it on. I think I used some canned tomato sauce because the package said make sure it is moist so the noodles cook. IMPORTANT - I layered spinach in there. Lots of it. I did this kind of like noodles then spinach. I didn't cook the spinach. Then the fake cheese. (sorry if this offends people. it was good - but it's not real cheese. i also call processed american cheese slices fake cheese)  I didn't use much. I figured if it was gross it could make the whole thing gross. It was good though. Then at the top I put a light layer of it on. Definitely not heavy handed like you'd put on mozzarella. A little goes a long way.

5) cooking it. I went with 400 degrees for an hour. But I did this around 11 pm and fell asleep and left my husband watching. I have no idea if he added extra time. He may have. Or he may have turned it down because he likes to do things like this. So the point is - keep an eye on it and don't really trust my time and temp. Also, this is a guide because my oven is 30 years old and runs super hot, so we are always guessing anyway. But i also broiled it when I reheated it cuz the "cheese" looked a bit odd. (fake cheese does not cook the same. this goes also for processed cheese and cheese whiz. aside - if you're not vegan, try broiling cheese whiz. It's odd - delicious - yet odd) Broiling made it look good.

Okay - that's it.

Yum yum.

1 comment:

Multi-Testing Mommy said...

Thanks for sharing this!