Lasagna is popular around my house. It’s one of those meals with a whole lotta love baked right in. Where does that love live? In the tomato-y sauce? The savory fillings? The cheese? I worried a bit that the love came from the cheese, when I decided to make a vegan pasta. Once assembled, baked and tasted…..no more worries! All the love was still there.
I gathered up a rainbow of veggies from my fridge, noodles, sauce and nutritional yeast and tofu for the spectacular roasted cauliflower “ricotta.”
For the ricotta: (From a recipe in Appetite For Reduction)
- 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 pound extra firm tofu
- 1/2 tsp salt (I used my current fav ingredient–truffle salt!)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 TBSP lemon juice
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- cooking spray
For the rest of the lasagna:
- Your choice of veggies that YOU like. For example, I used:
- 1/2 each 4 different colored bell peppers, rough chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, chopped into quarter-moons
- 1 small yellow squash, chopped into quarter moons
- 2-3 cups assorted sliced mushrooms (I have button, cremini, and shitake)
- 9-12 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package (These rice noodles were more narrow than the noodles I usually use, so I needed 12 rather than the usual 9 to cover the width of my 9×13 pan for the three layers)
- 1 quart prepared pasta sauce (I used my zesty pasta sauce)
- 1 package vegan alfredo sauce, prepared according to the package (optional)
- veggie broth for sauteing veggies
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a sided baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon sheet or spray with cooking spray.
Prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions, drain and set aside.
Prepare the vegan cheese sauce, if using, and set aside.
Chop the cauliflower into 1/2-ish pieces.
Place on prepared baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Toss with your hands to distribute the salt evenly. Spray with cooking spray one more time and spread in an even layer and bake for 10 minutes.
Flip it with a spatula, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes–until lightly browned, tender and yummy.
While the cauliflower roasts, drain the tofu, squeezing out as much of the moisture as you can. Wrap in in a clean kitchen towel to squeeze out some more. I’m learning that the key to tofu is getting it as dry as possible.
Use your hands to crumble the tofu so it resembles ricotta. Add another 1/4 tsp salt, the nutritional yeast, lemon juice and pepper. Mix and set aside.
Remove the cauliflower from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 F.
Add the roasted cauliflower to the tofu crumble and mash it into the tofu with a fork or a potato masher. (Steal a little taste here, this is yummy enough to eat by itself!) Set aside.
Heat about 1/4 cup veggie broth in a large skillet. Chop the veggies and add to the skillet. Saute until they’re cooked to your liking. I like them just getting soft, but with a little crispness left. Aren’t all the colors pretty? It’s super healthy to eat lots of different veggie colors. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the mushrooms and cook til almost soft. Add additional veggie broth as needed.
Lightly coat the bottom of a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Spread 1/4-1/2 cup of the pasta sauce over the bottom of the pan.
Stir the rest of the sauce into the veggies.
Form a layer of noodles (3 or 4 depending on the size of the noodles) and top with 1/2 of the veggie-sauce mixture.
Form another layer of noodles and spread about 3/4 of the ricotta evenly over the top.
Add one more layer of noodles and top with the other half of the veggie mixture and the remaining ricotta.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove foil and spread the vegan cheese sauce on top, if using and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
Cut into the size pieces you want and enjoy!
This lasagna is vegan, low-fat and gluten-free, due to the rice noodles. No meat. No dairy. No gluten. Very little fat. Absolutely no loss of yum. This is some seriously healthy, seriously yummy, whole lotta love lasagna.
Even better the next day. What veggies will be in YOUR lasagna?