Lasagna

This recipe uses one box of lasagna noodles and makes a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with enough lasagna to serve 6 to 8 people.  This dish can be also used to make manicotti by simply replacing the lasagna noodles with manicotti pasta and stuffing the cooked tubes. Or use large shells and fill them!
This dish lends itself to being easily customized to your tastes and what you have on hand.  This version is what I like to make, but it is easily customized based on your likes and what you have on hand.  This dish reads a lot longer than it takes to make.
Prep is about 20 minutes. 5 Minutes to chop up stuff.  5 minutes to blend.  5 minutes for skillet stuff.  5 minutes to assemble. The rest is baking.
If you are frugal, the entire dish can be made for under $10.  That is less than $2 a dinner serving!

Please consider this recipe a starting point.  Many times I change it up.  It still works great if you skip some of the ingredients or add others!

You will need the following:

  • Large pot (for the pasta)
  • Collander
  • Large Skillet
  • Blender
  • 9 x 13 Glass Baking dish
Ingredients
  • 1 and 1/2 Jars or 2 jars of Marinara Sauce (or make your own.  Amount depends on saucy you want the lasagna to be.
  • 1/ box of Lasagna pasta (15 strips).  Note you can use 9 or 12 strips instead.
  • Store bought vegan mozzarella shreds or slices, I like using Follow Your Heart because it is in many stores, but others would be fine.  The new Daiya shreds are pretty good.
  • Optional Meat replacement.  You can use a block of Impossible Beef or Beyond Beef, Gardein Crumbles, or my favorite, chopped up Beyond Hot Italian Sausage.  Or a healthier option, chopped mushrooms and/or some Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP).
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Violife Feta
Spinach Tofu Ricotta Ingredients
  • 3/4-1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 30 minutes (soaking not needed for Vitamix/Blendtec)
  • 1 firm Tofu package
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbls Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Tbls Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • Box of Frozen Spinach (approx 9 oz) or you can use cooked fresh. If using fresh, you want a full bag.
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Additional optional items

  • 1/2 larger onion finely diced (optional)
  • 1 basket of mushrooms, diced (optional)
  • Other Veggies such as zucchini, green bell peppers, carrot slivers, spinach leaves, basil leaves
  • Vegan parmesan (you can make your own, or use store bought)
  • Sliced tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Soak Cashews in hot water minimum one hour ahead of time, or soak in cold water for 8 hours.  If you run out of time, use the microwave and boil the water and let the nuts sit for 10 minutes.  If you have a high speed blender, you can skip the soaking.
  2. Prepare pasta per package instructions, set aside.  Don’t overcook as it will cook some more in the oven. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  If you want to be frugal, use 9 strips so you can get two dishes out of a box. I normally use 15 strips (3 strips per layer, 5 layers).
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  4. Drain cashews and add to blender along with garlic and olive oil and about 1/4 cup of water.
  5. Process until well blended. Add in enough water to allow the blender to blend. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides as needed.
  6. Drain Tofu (no need to press) and add to blender along with nutritional yeast, lemon juice, vinegar, and seasonings (everything but the spinach) and process until you have a smooth mixture.
  7. You may have to scrape down the sides a few times to ensure it’s well blended.  You will need to add some water to get it to blend.  In the end you do not want it runny. It should be thick, so do not add too much water, just enough so it blends.  Taste to see if you need more salt.  It should be awesome tasting.
  8. Add the mix to a large bowl and fold in spinach. (If using frozen spinach, defrost in microwave for a few minutes first to soften, and drain out (squeeze) excess water.  If using fresh spinach, I like to wilt in a pan with a little water, drain off the water well, and then chop the wilted spinach.  You do not want large pieces.  You can also just add the spinach to the blender (do not blend!) and stir it in to save the cleaning of the bowl. IMG_20160225_155325273
  9. In a skillet, saute the diced onions and bell pepper in a bit of olive oil until they start to soften.  Add a dash of salt and pepper.  Add in your meat substitute, or TVP, or chopped mushrooms.  My favorite is to use Beyond Hot Italian Sausages, I use 4.  Chop them up fine and then add to the skillet.  Add 1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning (skip if using Beyond Sausages).  Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Assembly!

  1. Layer 1 cup of Marinara in the bottom of a 9 x 13 glass baking dish.
  2. Layer 3 noodles lengthwise.
  3. Layer half the ricotta cheese mixture on the noodles.
  4. Layer 3 more noodles in each pan.
  5. Layer in a bit more sauce to coat the noodles.
  6. Layer all the onion/TVP/meat mix evenly.
  7. Layer 3 more noodles
  8. Layer the remaining ricotta mixture and spread evenly.
  9. Layer 3 more noodles in each pan.
  10. Layer a bit more sauce to coat the noodles
  11. Layer in either slices or shredded vegan moz cheese.  If you are using Violife feta, add some chunks here.
  12. Layer in 3 more noodles
  13. Add more sauce then add sliced up Violife Feta or Feta Chunks.  I normally use about 1/2 a package.
  14. Layer in last 3 noodles
  15. Cover with remaining sauce, you want to fully cover the top and any exposed noodles.  If using fresh basil, place chopped or ripped up bits on the top.  Push down into the sauce.
  16. Add any other topping like sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle about half a package of Vegan Mozzarella Shreds on top. Sprinkle some vegan parmesan cheese on top (optional).   I like to sprinkle on some more Italian Seasoning.
  17. Bake at 400 degree oven for 45-50 minutes covered.

Serve with some crusty bread, salad.

Optional sauce topping

  • 3/4 cup soaked cashews
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup water (as needed to blend)
  • 2 TBLS lemon juice
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 minced clove of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBLS corn starch

Alternate Basil Tofu Ricotta Ingredients

    • 1 firm Tofu package
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    • 1 Tbs olive oil
    • 1 Tbs lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1/2 cup of fresh chopped basil
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp pepper

Blend

Optional Bechamel 

  • 1/2 cup soft tofu
  • 1/2 cup plant milk
  • 1/2 cup veggie stock
  • 2 Tbs tahini
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt