Our 6-Week Vegan Challenge
I've never had a non-dairy lasagna. I was bracing myself to be tolerant. But to my surprise, it tasted just like another awesome Italian dish. No tolerance necessary.
Alyssa and Allen liked it also. Jill wouldn't try it.
The "ricotta cheese" is replaced by a mixture of crumbled extra firm tofu, roasted cauliflower and nutritional yeast flakes.
Here it is assembled and ready for the oven….
and after being baked and cut.
Also, I used plain lasagna noodles, which is what we had on hand. But the original recipe called for, and I would recommend, using whole wheat.
Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach
Compliments of JennaDish
adapted from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Drain the tofu well by squeezing gently to release much of the excess water, then wrapping the tofu well in thick paper towels and setting a heavy on top for 10 minutes or more. You can make the "ricotta" mixture ahead and refrigerate. Hodgson Mill's makes a whole wheat lasagna with flax seed.
1 head cauliflower, chopped into 1/2" pieces
3 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound extra firm tofu, drained well
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
6-8 grinds of freshly ground pepper, or a few pinches canned pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes with basil (or add about 10 fresh basil leaves, torn)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 whole wheat lasagna noodles, broken in half, cooked according to directions
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1/4 cup black olives or green olives for top, (other ideas: pepperonata, capers, roasted red pepper strips)
Summary of Timing:
Preheat oven, start draining process with tofu, meanwhile roast cauliflower, meanwhile put pot of pasta water on medium low (so that getting it to the boiling point later won't take as long), start on sauce by sauteeing garlic in oil, after "ricotta" mixture is finished, turn pasta water up to high and start cooking noodles. Basically, you have 3 things to make,but you never have more than 2 things going on at the same time that you have to watch.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
On a heavy baking sheet or roasting pan, drizzle a little olive oil and spread over bottom, dump the cauliflower pieces in a pile, drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons oil, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, and mix together well with your hands, coating all pieces of cauliflower. Spread evenly over pan. It doesn't have to be a single layer.
Bake for 10 minutes, remove and stir/flip cauliflower well with spatula. Bake for another 10 minutes. Flip and stir again. Bake another 5-10 minutes if necessary, until cauliflower is lightly browned and tender. Set aside. Turn heat down to 350 degrees F.
In the meantime, in a pot that will hold the tomato sauce, turn heat to medium, pour the 2 teaspoons oil and sautee the garlic until lightly golden and starting to become aromatic (don't burn), pour in the crushed tomatoes and thyme and let simmer on low for 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick.
Crumble the drained tofu into a medium mixing bowl, add the nutritional yeast and lemon juice and mix well. Add the cauliflower, mix well, and mash well with a potato masher, or pulse it a few times in a food processor. Set aside.
Boil lasagna noodles according to package directions – a little salt and a little oil is recommended. Drain, run cold water over noodles to stop cooking, lay them out on a lint-free towel or on a plate.
To assemble: In an 8×8" baking dish or something close – I used an 8"x10" clear Pyrex baking dish – put a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish. Place a single layer of noodles on the sauce, spread 1/3 of the "ricotta" mixture evenly over the noodles, layer with 1 cup chopped spinach evenly, pour on a cup of sauce. Repeat this one more time. Then the last layer will be noodles, then sauce, then the "ricotta" (no spinach). Sprinkle will olives in whatever design you prefer.
Bake 40 minutes, or until sauce is bubbly and top has at least lightly browned. Serve immediately or let cool just a few minutes. Unlike regular cheese lasagna, this dish will not hold it's heat for very long, so don't plan on letting it cool more than 10 minutes.