Friday, June 7, 2013

Vegan Lasagna


Vegan Lasagna
One of the images we identify with comfort food is Lasagna! It is the quintessential comfort food with its cheesy, ooey gooey structure, and fresh ingredients. It comes out hot and bubbly, inviting, and makes plenty for an army. It cannot be looked at and not thought of as a scrumptious recipe. This recipe is no different! It is a base recipe for a perfect vegan lasagna and more ingredients can be added to your liking to build your own custom and people pleasing dish. With this vegan lasagna, your family with be begging you to make it again and again. Serve with a fresh garden salad, your favorite bread, and maybe even a nice glass of wine for the adults. The best thing about lasagna is not only its taste but the leftovers can be stored in the fridge of course, but also can be frozen in individual portions for future meals when on the go. Garfield had the right idea about lasagna...its definitely a favorite in everyone's heart. Enjoy!

Vegan Lasagna

Ingredients

-1 Tablespoon Olive Oil 
-2 cups vegan ground beef (I used Tofurky Ground Style) 
-4 to 5 cups prepared or homemade pasta sauce
-3 cups fresh organic baby spinach 
-1 1/2 Tablespoon Parsley, dried or fresh 
-1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 
-1 to 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning 
-2 Tablespoons vegan Parmesan 
-2 cups vegan ricotta cheese, homemade or store bought
-2 cups vegan cheese (I used Mozzarella Daiya Shreds)
-1 to 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
-Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
-1 package vegan Lasagna noodles

Optional Add-ins
-Slice Mushrooms
-Vegan Sausage
-Sauteed Peppers & Onions


Directions

Heat the oven to 375 Degrees

Prepare a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish with 1 Tbsp of oil. 

Greased Baking Dish
Cook your lasagna noodles according the package directions for al dente. 

Cooking Pasta
Cooked Pasta
In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/2 tsp basil, 1/2 Tbsp parsley, 1 Tbsp Parmesan, and salt & pepper to taste and set aside.

Tofutti Brand Vegan Ricotta
Seasoned Ricotta
In another large bowl, combine the vegan ground beef, sauce, and optional extra nutritional yeast. 

Mixing Sauce & Vegan Ground Beef
Prepared Sauce
Ladle 1/4 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. 

Saucing the Baking Dish
Then add the layers as follows:

 4 cooked lasagna sheets slightly overlapping to ensure the lasagna stays secure. 


Top the pasta, add half the ricotta on this layer.


On top of the ricotta, add on 1 cup of the uncooked spinach. Don't worry, the spinach will cook in the oven with the lasagna and still retain a nice green color with no extra water. No water means a lasagna that is more solid when cutting. You don't want a running, sloppy lasagna.  


Place another layer of 4 lasagna sheets and slightly push down. 


Once the first layer is done, add on another 1/4 of the sauce onto this now placed pasta layer. 


Then add on another 1 cup of the spinach onto the sauce layer. 


 Another 4 cooked lasagna sheets, pressing down slightly again. 


Add the rest of the ricotta on top of this next pasta layer and the remaining 1 cup spinach once again.


Add on the last layer of lasagna sheets, but this time add on 6 instead of the 4. This will help really secure the rest of the lasagna. 


Add the remaining sauce on top of the last pasta layer and spread to evenly distribute around the lasagna. 


Once you are done layering and the sauce is on top, you can add the shredded cheese, nutritional yeast, and remaining herbs sprinkled all over the top. When you place the remaining ingredients, the last thing you need to do is sprinkle a little salt and pepper around the cheese to taste. Right before it goes in the oven drizzle with more olive oil to help the cheese brown and melt evenly. 




Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted down. 

Baking Lasagna
Resting Lasagna
Ready to Cut Lasagna
When the lasagna has cooked completely, take out of the oven and let it sit to cool slightly before cutting. Cut into pieces and serve with your favorite bread, a fresh garden salad, and maybe a nice glass of vegan wine. Store the rest of the lasagna in the fridge or store in individual containers in the freezer for future meals. Enjoy!

Finished Vegan Lasagna to Serve
-Amy