Monday, May 21, 2012

Hearty Lasagna

Most of my experience with lasagna has been of the frozen variety.. not even close to the top of my favorite foods list. I would eat my serving and try to forget about it. I did have one pleasant lasagna experience about 5 years ago at a gathering, it was veggie lasagna, I don't remember who made it but I wish I did because I ate seconds and thirds and maybe even forths! Best of all, did not taste of freezer burn in the slightest! But that was one time in my 22 years with a great lasagna experience.. Needless to say I was a little hesitant about my decision to make the Hearty Lasagna dish from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's 30-day Vegan Challenge. But I thought I should try it now since I'm trying new things and it wasn't going to be all meaty and cheesy and ... grossest of all.. frozen.
The faux-cotta cheeze was surprisingly delicious (never liked the "real" stuff before) and adding one of my favorite veggies to it, spinach, really made this dish for me. Not to mention tons(!) of basil. MMM
I also felt this recipe was fairly simple to make, another reason I was a little scared to make lasagna, I've heard people gripe about making homemade lasagna (hence the abundance of the frozen type out there), and how much time it takes and blah blah, but this was delicious and easy.
Okay, so without further ado, here it is. Hope you try it and enjoy it, like we did :)

Hearty Lasagna
Recipe from The 30-day Vegan Challenge

1/2-1 pound lasagna noodles
Two 10oz packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
16oz firm tofu (not silken)
1 Tbsp sugar (optional)
1/4 cup nondairy milk, more or less as needed
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2 peeled cloves garlic
Juice from half a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp minced fresh basil (about 20 leaves)
1 tsp salt, or to taste
4-6 cups tomato or pasta sauce of your choosing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, and drain and set aside. Or use the "no-need-to-boil-" lasagna noodles.

Squeeze as much water from the spinach as possible and set aside. (If using fresh spinach, black it first, then squeeze out the water. Blanching just means to cook something very briefly in boiling water, then plunge into cold water to stop the cooking process.)

Place the tofu, sugar, milk, garlic powder or garlic cloves, lemon juice, basil and salt into a food processor or blender and pulse or blend until smooth. The tofu "ricotta" should be creamy but still have body.

Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the spinach. Continue tasting until you get the amount of salt just right.

Cover the bottom of a 9x13in baking dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of noodles (use about one-third of the noodles). Follow with half of the tofu filling. Continue in the same order, using half the remaining tomato sauce and noodles and all of the remaining tofu filling. End with the remaining noodles, covered by the remaining tomato sauce. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Add a meatless ground meat to your sauce for a different texture.
Add a cheese such as Daiya mozzarella.

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