Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vegan Lasagna

My friends in the area are mostly meateaters... but everybody was more than happy with this vegan lasagna! It served two purposes - it fit well with my partner's current nutritional plan, which requires LOTS of veggies, a fair amount of protein, but minimal dairy; and it satisfies my meateating friend with a dairy allergy. I sent leftovers home with everybody for the next day - and they were consumed by a few folks as a midnight snack instead, only a few hours after the first round. Now that's a rave review as far as I'm concerned! 

I've learned a few tricks over the years when experimenting with vegan food that make their way into this recipe. Not that I think that cooking vegan food requires "substitutes" - but lasagna is such a fabulous comfort food!!! First of all, cashew butter and silken tofu make a pretty amazing dairy substitute (in frostings too!!! I'll include a recipe soon). But you have to be careful with the cashew butter, which has a significant amount of saturated fat. Secondly, toasted sesame seeds and sliced almonds make a pretty decent substitute for parmesan toppings. I'm indebted to Chandra Moskowitz for the topping: as a Parmesan substitute, she recommends processing toasted sesame seeds and almonds in a food processor with salt and lemon zest - I'm inclined to use the milder flavor of lime juice instead.
Sauce
2
Tbs
olive oil
4
garlic clove, minced
2
green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
2
can (28 oz)
unsalted crushed tomatoes
1
can (6 oz)
tomato paste
1
Tbs
dried oregano
1/4
tsp
thyme
2
Tbs
pesto
1/2
tsp
salt
pepper to taste
Tofu Filling
2
12-oz pkgs
light silken tofu, firm
1/4
cup
unsalted cashew butter (or 1/3 cup cashews ground in the food processor, with 1 t olive oil added)
1
Tbs
lime juice
1/2
cup
pesto
1/4
cup
nutritional yeast flakes
1/2
tsp
salt
Vegetable Layer
2
Tbs
olive oil
2
garlic clove, chopped
1 1/2
lbs
baby braising greens, or a spinach / arugula blend
1/4
tsp
salt
pepper to taste
Topping
1/2
cup
toasted sliced almonds
2
Tbs
toasted sesame seeds
1/4
tsp
salt
1
tsp
lime juice
1
pkg
no cook lasagna noodles (the flat kind)
1
Prepare the topping by processing all ingredients in a food processor. Toasting the sesame seeds and almonds isn't absolutely necessary, but it adds to the flavor.
2
Spray the bottom of a 9x13 pan with olive spray or canola spray.  Preheat oven to 350.
3
Prepare the red sauce (use a bottle of your favorite marinara or a roasted red pepper sauce if you need to save time). Heat the olive oil. Add onions and saute for ten minutes. Add the garlic and peppers, and saute for five minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for ten minutes.
4
Prepare the tofu mixture while the sauce is simmering. Combine all of the tofu mixture ingredients. Mix with a fork until well blended.
5
Prepare the greens. (Don't forget to turn off the marinara!) Saute the garlic for 1 minute in a wok or large saucepan. Add all greens and toss in the pan until wilted.
6
Spread 1/2 cup red sauce in the bottom of the pan.
7
Layer noodles on top of the red sauce. Follow with 1/2 of the tofu mixture, 1/2 of the greens, and 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Repeat. Top with a layer of noodles and remaining sauce, then sprinkle the topping over the top.
8
Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Store in the fridge for up to a day, or cook immediately. Bake for 45 minutes, or until noodles are soft when pricked with a fork or toothpick. Allow to rest ten minutes before serving.
Servings: 12
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/12 of a recipe (7.9 ounces).
Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.

Amount Per Serving
Calories
365.41
Calories From Fat (43%)
156.75
% Daily Value
Total Fat 18.12g
28%
Saturated Fat 3.16g
16%
Cholesterol 3.6mg
1%
Sodium 527.97mg
22%
Potassium 695.72mg
20%
Total Carbohydrates 40.72g
14%
Fiber 4.66g
19%
Sugar 4.93g

Protein 13.23g
26%
Vitamin A 1992.07IU
40%
Vitamin B12 0.06mcg
1%
Vitamin B6 0.29mg
15%
Vitamin C 37.63mg
63%
Vitamin E 3.46mg
35%
Vitamin K 78.01mcg
98%

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