Vegetable Lasagna

Lasagna is a good way to incorporate whole grain pasta into your diet. Like soups and many other dishes, the flavors improve by the second day. That makes it a great company dish you can make ahead and refrigerate. We like to add lots of vegetables wherever we can, but there are no hard and fast rules. It can even be made without the added vegetables, whatever works best for you and your family.  

This version has added flavor and richness with the Cashew Jack Cheese, which eliminates the oils found in purchased vegan cheeses. Don’t be overwhelmed by the long list of directions.  Basically you just prepare the ingredients, layer them in your casserole dish, and bake.

Vegetable Lasagna

Servings – 10-12
Prep Time – 30 minutes
Cook Time – 55 minutes
Passive Time – 10 minutes

Ingredients:

Cashew Cheese:

1 cup water

1 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup yellow onion

1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

1 tsp onion powder or granules

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp celery salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp lemon juice

 

Tofu Ricotta Cheese:

1 brick firm tofu

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/2 tsp garlic granules

1/2 tsp salt

 

Additional Ingredients:

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2/3 cup sliced mushrooms, opt.

1 stick celery, diced

1 small grated carrot, medium grater

1 1/2 cups crumbled Vegan burger, your choice

2 cups spinach leaves or 1 cup frozen chopped spinach

1 small zucchini, sliced

1 1/2 – 2 quarts spaghetti sauce <–I like to combine basil and mushroom

9-12 whole-wheat lasagna noodles

 


Instructions:

Cashew Cheese

Combine all these ingredients in your blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Tofu Ricotta Cheese:

Rinse and drain tofu. Mash with seasonings until consistency of cottage cheese. Set aside.

Additional Ingredients:

  1. Sauté vegetables and burger in 2-3 teaspoons of oil, a little broth or water.  Add the spinach and zucchini after 3-4 minutes. Continue to sauté for a couple more minutes until zucchini is becoming tender. Set these ingredients aside to cool.
  2. Make sure your spaghetti sauce is a brand that is low in fat and sugar (no high fructose corn syrup) and contains no cheese.
  3. Cook the noodles according to package directions, cooking the full time as whole-grain pastas have better mouth feel when cooked thoroughly. I like to drain them and lay flat on a cookie sheet with parchment between the first and second layer of noodles.

TO ASSEMBLE:

  1. COVER the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch deep-sided dish with a layer of spaghetti sauce.
  2. LAY a layer of noodles side by side on top of the sauce.
  3. SPOON more sauce over the noodles.
  4. SPREAD 1/2 of all vegetables and burger over the sauce.
  5. DAUB 1/2 of tofu cheese over veggies.
  6. DRIZZLE 1/3 of cashew cheese over all.
  7. REPEAT steps 2-6
  8. TOP with noodles, spoon sauce to cover and drizzle on remainder of cashew cheese.
  9. COVER and BAKE at 350° for 45 minutes. UNCOVER and BAKE 15 more minutes or until cashew cheese is set. Remove from oven and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving. If you are making one day and serving the next, just bake it 30 minutes the first day and 30-40 the day you serve it, just enough to heat through--bring it to room temperature before you bake it or it will take longer.  I would cover and seal it with foil.  You don’t want it to dry out; it will depend on the amount of sauce you put on it.

Notes:

If you wish to make the lasagna without precooking the noodles, to keep the pasta from becoming pasty, make sure you have plenty of sauce for the noodles to soak up while they are cooking.  It is not my first choice, but I have done it with good success.  Be sure and leave a half inch between the noodles and at the ends of your baking dish so the noodles can expand without buckling.  I just make it, cover tightly and refrigerate overnight or until you are ready to bake it.