Veggie Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta and Daiya Mozzarella

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I’ve gotta admit Garfield had a pretty big influence on me as a kid, in that it was my favourite reading material for most of elementary school and that I’ve never met a lasagna I didn’t like!  Giving up meat and dairy doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this delicious and comforting dish.  It actually makes it easier to prepare, and dare I say(?) healthier!  Not that health is what we’re going for with this recipe – I’m sure there are much healthier vegan versions, like some raw version with zucchini noodles or something.  Not what I’m going for here; I’m going for pure comfort and a little indulgence.  This is a perfect recipe for a chilly Sunday afternoon when you’ve got a little extra time, and you feel like indulging in some comfort food (with the added comfort of knowing that you’ll have some delicious leftovers for lunches throughout the week).

Serves approx. 8.  Prep time:  45 mins.  Cook time: 45 mins.  

You will need:

  • 9 x 12 inch rectangular dish
  • 1 fying pan
  • 1 medium sauce pan
  • 1 medium mixing bowl
  • Catelli Express Noodles (or your desired lasagna noodles *express time does not need cooking, so follow box instructions if you are using regular noodles)
  • 2 cups of fresh baby greens (or could just use spinach)

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce:

  • 680 ml bottle of organic crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp pureed basil (or better yet freshly chopped basil)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano (again, better fresh if you have it!)
  • 1 tsp balsamic reduction (or balsamic vinegar)

Sauteed Veggies:

  • 4 or 5 cloves of garlic minced (I like a lot of garlic, you could reduce to 3 cloves)
  • 1/2 a large onion
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cups chopped brown mushrooms (roughly 10 medium/small)

Tofu Ricotta:

  • 350 g block of medium-firm tofu
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. 

In a medium saucepan, stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, basil purée, oregano and balsamic reduction or vinegar.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes on medium/low heat while you cook up your sautéed veggies.

Dice onion, and mince garlic and put into a frying pan with a bit of cooking oil and sautee for a few minutes until translucent.  In the meantime, chop up the mushrooms and add them to the frying pan.  Cover for 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. *While you wait for them to cook you can move start the tofu ricotta.*  When the mushrooms have sweated out the liquid and the onion/mushroom mixture is looking juicy, take it off the heat.

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To make the tofu ricotta, simply crumble the tofu into a medium sized mixing bowl with your hands.  Next add the nutritional yeast, garlic salt, lemon juice and mix together until it is all incorporated.

Finally it is time to assemble the lasagna.  *I used Express Noodles so that they wouldn’t have to be cooked beforehand, just to save some time, but of course use whatever Lasagna noodles you prefer.  First poor a bit of the tomato sauce on the bottom of your 9 x 12 dish and spread it around so that it covers the whole surface of the dish.  Lay the lasagna noodles over top of the sauce.  Next cover your noodles with more of the tomato sauce and half of the sautéed veggies, then add 1/2 of the tofu ricotta.  I also added a couple large handfuls of baby greens and then topped those with a layer of Daiya Mozzarella shreds (half the bag).  Now layer again with sauce, noodles, veggies, and the rest of the tofu ricotta.  Finally top with one more layer of noodles, the rest of the sauce and the rest of the daiya mozzarella shreds.  Place in the oven and bake for 45 – 50 minutes, or until the noodles are soft (I tested mine by making sure a fork could pierce down to the bottom of the dish easily).  Let cool for 10 minutes and serve.  Enjoy!

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