I won’t lie, last week I ate meat so this marks the end of my vegan-cooking/eating stint. Since then, I have been making much “meatier” dishes to quench my desires of flesh, but this is a “meaty” dish even vegans can enjoy. This vegan lasagna with “beef” and “ricotta” was richly satisfying. I was sure it was going to be “good” but not “fantastic” which is how it turned out. The recipe itself is pretty simple if you have a deep baking dish, blender and lots of tofu and veggies in your fridge.
HOW TO LASAGNA YOUR NIGHT UP:
1 pack firm tofu
1/2 – whole pack of silken tofu
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 pack lasagna noodles (it’s 3 noodles per layer, I did 3 layers so = 9)
5 cloves garlic
1 jar marinara sauce
1 can diced tomatoes (Italian style is what I used because they have oregano/sweet basil)
1 pack Yves Meatless Ground (this stuff is so amazing, and vegan! I also used one veggie burger I had left in the freezer. Waste not want not!)
2 cups sliced vegetables (I used grated carrot for a bit of crunch, zucchini & mushrooms. I almost used eggplant and celery too but they had expired. Spinach is a great option too.)
1/2 cup olive oil (this is used to saute veggies, grease the pan, add to boiling noodles so they don’t stick, and for the ricotta mix)
salt, oregano, sweet basil, herbs de provence & pepper to taste
2 tbs Earth balance
First thing you want to do preheat your oven to 350 and boil your noodles. I like mine cooked pretty well so the lasagna is easy to cut through when it’s done. Boil them for about 10 minutes in a big boiling pot so they are completely immersed.
Next, saute your veggies in one pan and your Yves Veggie Ground with onion in another pan. I like to saute my veggie ground with about a half an onion and maybe a clove of garlic in a few tablespoons of olive oil just until it starts to brown and smells reeaaal nice. The veggies I just sauteed lightly in olive oil with some herbs de provence and salt. Put these in their respective bowls to cool while you prepare your ricotta mix.
Mix your marinara and can of diced tomatoes into a small saucepan and let that mix/heat a bit while making the ricotta.
This ricotta mix can be a bit tricky because it doesn’t have enough liquid in it to blend very well in the blender. I ended up blending mine half way and then just taking it out to finish mixing in a regular bowl. Throw in your 1/4 cup olive oil, 4 sliced garlic cloves and 1/2-1 block of silken tofu. I used 1/2 a block but if you don’t have another use for the other half I say throw it all in there (you’ll just have to add a little more salt.) Blend these up first until they’re decently mixed, then crumble big chunks of the firm tofu into the mix and pulse lightly, adding pinches of salt and nutritional as you go. You want to retain small crumbles of tofu so don’t overblend. If the blender is getting stuck while adding dry ingredients, scoop everything out with a spatula and squish & mix it all up in a bowl. Add a bit of pepper and oregano to the mix, taste to make sure it’s salty enough. I thought mine was too salty but it turned out GREAT so you might over-salt a bit to add salt to the noodles, etc.
When your ricotta is ready, you can grease your pan with olive oil or Earth Balance, or both. You can begin to layer your sauce, noodles, ricotta, “ground beef” and veggies. I did a bit of sauce on the bottom so the noodles didn’t get all dry and crunchy down there. Here is the order I layered things, in caps to really drive the point home.
SMALL AMOUNT OF SAUCE
VEGGIE “GROUND BEEF”
LOTS OF SAUCE
little clumps of Earth Balance on top to keep everything moist and the noodles from drying out
Bake this for at least 40 minutes covered in foil so it doesn’t dry out and recycles its heat. You’ll be able to tell it’s done when everything is bubbling, from the bottom to the top. Make sure you set it out to cool for a couple minutes before potentially burning the crap out of your mouth.
This will be the most delicious thing you ever eat, so prepare yourself. It also keeps really well in the freezer. If you have a baking dish that comes with a plastic lid, that is perfect, cause you just pull it out, let it thaw a bit and then shove it in the oven to reheat. Spread this recipe around, it is amazing to share.