Monday, January 23, 2012

Perfect Vegan Lasagna

I know, vegan lasagna might sound like an oxymoron to most people. Usual lasagnas contain serious amounts of meet and at least several different kinds of cheeses. But if you step back and open your mind a little bit, I promise that this lasagna really will remind you of the way grandma used to make it (but minus pretty much all of the fat and entirely all of the cholesterol).

I've been toying around with lasagna for a number of years now. It was always a favorite of mine when I was a kid and it surprisingly easy to recreate using a tofu-based filling. The key is to dress up the tofu with lots of sprices and seasonings and to include hearty vegetables. You won't miss the heavy, greasy quality found in most lasagnas, and despite how warm and comforting this recipe is, it is one of the lightest winter meals I make.

Start by preparing the noodles and sauce. This is not a gourmet recipe and I'm using bottled sauce. You could definitely make homemade sauce, but this way is just so easy!

Cook 12 whole wheat lasagna noodles until
tender but not completely cooked. Rinse them in cold water and set aside.

For the sauce:
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 jars of your favorite plain spaghetti sauce
1 package brown mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

Saute the onions, mushrooms and garlic over medium heat, then add fennel seeds and saute a minute more. Add the spaghetti sauce and heat through. Set aside.

For the filling:
1 bag frozen spinach, defrosted and drained well
1 package firm tofu, pressed
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. rosemary
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

In a large bowl, crumble the tofu with your fingers until no large clumps remaine. Add the drained spinach and all remaining ingredients and mix well.

Spread half of the sauce in a 9x13 pan and place 4 noodles over the sauce. Cover the noodles with half of the tofu mixture and top with another layer of noodles. Repeat. Spread remaining sauce over the top of the noodles and cover pan with aluminium foil. Bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 45-50 minutes until the whole thing is cooked through and the sauce on the top is starting to get a bit crusty.

I love love this recipe. I can't even really remember what regular lasagna tastes like and I don't think I will ever crave it again. This recipe makes a whole lot of food...but trust me you'll need it. Even if you are not vegan, give this recipe a try and you won't be disappointed.

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