Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ultimate Vegan Lasagna

My mother is the queen of improv. When I'm coming over for the time honored tradition of Sunday dinner, she'll scour the internet or the dozens of vegan cookbooks she bought since I went vegan trying to find something wonderful and creative to make me for dinner. It's obvious that my mom rules. Unfortunately, part of her charm is her complete and utter lack of planning.
I met her at Whole Foods to do shopping for this particular dinner and she told me that she had found two great recipes for a vegan lasagna and she wanted to make it that night. The first part of her craziness was that for no particular reason, she wanted to combine the best of the two recipes and make what I guess she thought would be a "super lasagna." I put a stop to that shit right away.

"Ma, you don't need to do that, just find one good recipe and stick with that." I asserted.

"Oh, okay" she replied, "Good idea!"

"Okay, so give me the recipe so I can make sure we get all the ingredients."

My mother proceeded to make that face little kids make when they know they screwed up and are gonna get punished for it.

"I left it at home." she said, lowering her head.

"Of course" I sighed to myself, furrowing my brow. "Do you remember what website you got it from?"

"No" she continued, sheepishly.

"Ehhh" I thought to myself.

I wasn't mad with mom, though. She always means well and after all, it's impossible to get pissed at someone who bends over backwards to make you happy.
Luckily, I know how I like my lasagna, so I did some guessing as we did our shopping.
When we got home and I finally did get my hands on the recipes, I saw that one was clearly superior to the other, and wouldn't you know it, I bought all of the correct ingredients! Told ya I know good food :-)
What followed was a lasagna that even my non-vegan relatives tried and remarked at how great it was. One of my uncles even said it was the best lasagna he's ever tasted! I agree.
A couple of weeks later, I wanted this masterpiece again, so I made it myself at home and it came out just as good! And like most other dishes such as this, which is made in a casserole or baking dish, it was even better the next day.
The keys to this recipe being so good:

  • The addition of the vegan cream cheese in the filling. The tofu gives it that "ricotta" texture and the other spices all work together to give flavor but the cream cheese is what I feel gives it that rich, creamy taste that most people expect when they're eating a good lasagna. 

  • The crumbled vegan sausage. It gives it the texture and flavor of meat without there being any animal products in the dish. The Field Roast Italian sausage is the best, seasoned with fresh eggplant, red wine, garlic and fennel. It's a bit more expensive than a few other brands, but 100% worth it. 

  • The Daiya Mozzarella shreds on top. This is the best cheese substitute out there, and I think it's as gooey, melty and delicious as real cheese. If you're gonna put one cup on top, may as well make it two cups, that's what I did and I did not regret it!

Ultimate Vegan Lasagna

Vegetarian Times Issue: February 1, 2009   p.54

This recipe eliminates the messy, time-consuming process of preboiling the noodles—use any whole-wheat, brown rice, or regular lasagna noodles right out of the box. They'll cook in the sauce.
 
ingredient list
Serves 8
FILLING
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped (2 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
  • 10-oz. bag fresh baby spinach
  • 2 12-oz. pkgs. firm tofu, drained
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. vegan cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
LASAGNA
  • 5 1/2 cups red sauce
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 12 oz. Field Roast Grain Meat Co. Italian Sausage, crumbled
  • 1 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

Directions

1. To make Filling: Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté onions and garlic in oil 4 to 5 minutes, or until golden. Add spinach, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until wilted. Transfer spinach mixture to bowl of food processor. Add tofu, cream cheese, basil, and nutritional yeast, and purée until mixture is thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
2. Spread one-quarter of the red sauce on bottom of 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Cover with one-third of noodles (4 or 5 noodles), then half of Filling, and ladle on another one-quarter of sauce. Repeat layer of noodles and remaining Filling. Spread sausage evenly over top, and top with one-quarter of sauce. Finish with final layer of noodles and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with shredded cheese.
3. Cover lasagna with foil, and bake 30 minutes, or until bubbling hot. Uncover, and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, or until noodles are tender and topping is melted. Remove from oven, and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Nutritional Information

Per 2-x-3-inch slice:
Calories 508
Protein 33g
Total Fat 19g
Saturated Fat 3g
Carbs 60g
Sodium 817mg
Fiber 13g
Sugar 10g

4 comments:

  1. Looks like a recipe I'd love to try! I'd like to invite you to my own blog at

    www.100daychallenge-realfoodjourney.blogspot.com

    I'm on my own REAL food journey as well and I love to find new recipes and follow others like yourself who are trying to eat great REAL foods!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This looks fantastic, I think I might make it tomorrow for my Sunday dinner.

    Also, your mom sounds awesome - I like her style.

    ReplyDelete
  3. We just very recently went vegan and I began thinking about how I could veganize my lasagna but you already did it for me! Thanks for sharing :)

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