Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vegan Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach

I'm a huge fan of lasagna. It's been probably my favorite dish all my life besides chicken pot pie (which now I love veggie pot pie, the way my mom makes it!). Since I've been trying to stay away from dairy products, I knew there would be a day coming soon when I would have to make replacements for cheese in dishes instead of just omitting them. I assumed it would be a big hassle and maybe not worth it. But as my craving for lasagna grew stronger, I decided it would be well worth the hassle. Turns out it wasn't so bad! I got this recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's cookbook, Appetite For Reduction. I wanted to make a small portion so I halved it and changed a few things to taste more like my mom's recipe!  

Vegan Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach

Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta:
1 medium-size head cauliflower, chopped into 1/2" pieces
2 t. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1 lb. extra-firm tofu
1/4 c. nutritional yeast
2 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
several pinches of black pepper

Red Sauce:
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes with basil
2 T. chopped fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t. salt

To Assemble, you'll need:
8 oz. lasagna noodles, broken in half, cooked in salted H20
1 1/2 c. fresh spinach, chopped (or whole)
1/4 c. chopped black olives (optional)

First, roast the cauliflower. Preheat oven 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. 
Place cauliflower on baking sheet and drizzle oil, salt 
and pepper over it. Using your hands, toss to ensure 
it's coated and evenly spread out. Bake for 10 mins, turn over 
pieces with a spatula/toss and bake another 15-20 mins, 
or until lightly browned, tender and toasty.

In the mean time, drain tofu and press with a paper towel to 
remove excess liquid. In a medium bowl, crumble tofu by 
squeezing it with your fingers until it has the consistency 
of ricotta cheese. Add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, 
pepper and remaining salt. Use a fork to mix well.

When the cauliflower is done, transfer it to the tofu bowl. 
Using a potato masher, mash really well, for a minute or so. 
If it's not mashing enough, a few pulses in the food processor
will do the trick. Set aside. 

To prepare the sauce, mix all its ingredients together and 
set aside. (OR do what I do and read instructions below)

Preheat oven 350. Pour a thin layer of red sauce on the bottom
of an 8" square casserole. Line with a layer of noodles. Spread
with 1/3 of the cauliflower ricotta. Layer with 3/4C. of spinach
leaves. Pour on about 1 C. of sauce.

Repeat the process one more time, creating another identical 
layer, starting with the noodles. For the top layer, it's a little
different: layer with noodles, pour the sauce on first, then 
layer with ricotta. This layer doesn't get any spinach. Sprinkle
with a layer of olives and press into the tofu. 

Bake for 40 minutes, until the top is browned. You can serve 
it immediately or let it cool down for a bit first. 

 So this recipe was way more amazing than I even expected! I did do a few things differently to be more like my mom's recipe. So here goes.. I used Lawry's seasoning salt instead of any salt used in the recipe. When I made the sauce, I used 3 cloves of garlic (even though I halved the recipe) and I made it in a saucepan. I sauteed a little oil in the skillet with onion and garlic, added Lawrys salt, pepper, 2 chopped small tomatoes from the garden, 2 cans of tomato sauce, a sprinkle of oregano and thyme. Then when I layered it, I ended with sauce and sprinkled nutritional yeast on top. No olives. And also instead of cooking the noodles ahead of time, I used raw noodles and put foil on top before baking it. I removed the foil after about 25 minutes or until the noodles were tender and baked it until it was lightly browned.

Be creative and make the recipe your own! God bless you all.

Chef Teebs

1 comment:

ALISSA67 said...

With a few additions it was excellent !!