Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Perfect Vegetable Lasagna

This is not your mama's's better and healthier but trust me, it ain't no pansy vegan lasagna. This lasagna satisfied an audience of hardcore meat eaters. There honestly was not a morsel left, all plates licked clean. It came out absolutely perfect but takes a bit of patience. You do have to make sure to saute all your veggies as this is the key to a successful veggie loaded lasagna. Don't be afraid to add more cheese or sauce if you are feeling a bit crazy. Enjoy!

Vegetable Lasagna

2 boxes gluten free lasagna noodles
1 jar pasta sauce (I chose tomato basil)
3 cups Daiya Mozzarella cheese
3 cups spinach
2 medium zucchini
2 medium squash
1 large onion
3 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cups shredded carrots
4 Tbsp olive oil
5 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp basil
2 Tbsp parsley
2 Tbsp oregano

Vegan Ricotta 'Cheese'

1 cup lima beans
½ cup macadamian nuts
½ cup pine nuts
½ cup nutritional yeast
½ cup orange juice
1 tsp sea salt
juice of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then add your noodles (follow instructions on noodles as every noodle has a different boil time). I had to do my noodles in two batches. Once you strain your noodles, you can add some olive oil so the noodles do not stick to one another.

As your noodles are boiling, you can start the very fun process of chopping and sauteing all your vegetables. First, you'll want to shred your zucchini and squash with a grater then toss into a large frying pan and add 2 Tbsp olive oil plus 3 cloves of minced garlic and ½ tsp sea salt. Saute until most the water has evaporated from your zucchini and squash. It should probably take about 10-15 minutes. Set aside.

Next, you'll need to finely chop your sliced mushrooms (I bought pre-sliced mushrooms). The best way to finely chop your mushrooms is with a single blade mezzaluna and chopping into a stainless steel bowl. I also chopped the shredded carrots into small bits. Don't feel deflated if you do not have a chopper simply chop as small as possible. Chop up your onion and throw both the onion and mushrooms into the frying pan along with 2 cloves of minced garlic, ½ tsp sea salt and 2 Tbsp olive oil. You'll eventually add the shredded carrots and spinach but you'll need to make room in that frying pan so let the mushrooms lose some of their water first. Again, you'll want to cook these vegetables until very little water is left. Set aside.

Now, to make the vegan ricotta'll need your food processor or blender. Add all the ingredients and blend until relatively smooth but not like butter. You want it to have some texture.

All the hard work is finely done! It's time to put everything together. I used a 15x11 inch pan. First, you'll want to line the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of sauce then you'll elegantly place your noodles, spread (as best you can) a layer of your vegan ricotta cheese, a layer of zucchini/squash veggies followed with a thin layer of sauce and a handful of Daiya mozzarella cheese. Repeat until you finish all ingredients ending with a layer of noodles and a sprinkling of Daiya cheese, ***alternate veggies...the next layer being your mushroom/carrot/spinach/onion. Cover with parchment paper or tinfoil. Bake at 375F for 40-50 minutes until you see slight browning on the edges. Never hesitate to add more cheese!!!