Friday, June 1, 2012
Recipe: Healthy Livin' Lasagna!
When I was a kid, Stouffer's lasagna was one of my all-time favorite meals. That, along with popcorn shrimp, fruit roll-ups, and buttered croissants. But now that I'm an adult who's putting in effort to improve my cooking skills and be more conscious of what I put into my body, I thought I'd try to whip up a tasty but healthier version of lasagna. A meatless, dairy-free version. Yes... a vegan version. We're going there.
If you find the idea of a cheese-less and meatless lasagna to be blasphemy against Italian cooking, this probably isn't the recipe for you. (I have an Italian friend who had a mini-meltdown when I admitted to loving pineapple on pizza, so I understand. Kind of.) Otherwise, I really recommend trying it. A flavorful, filling meal that has 15+ grams of protein and 10+ grams of fiber per serving is hard to beat! And I pinky swear I wouldn't post a recipe if it just turned out "eh" - it's gotta be really good. I'm a picky eater and think you should be too.
I used two recipes (here and here) as guidelines, the first from which I got the tomato sauce recipe below. I recommend making the tomato sauce the night before, but if that whole process seems to be a bit much, the jarred stuff will work just fine. I would get 2 jars to be on the safe side.
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 c chopped onion
1 tbsp + 2 tsp minced garlic
2 cans (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes
1/3 c tomato paste
2 tbsp dried Italian herbs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and let cook for 5 mins, until soft. Add garlic and cook 5 mins more, turning heat down to medium-low.
2. Add stewed tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs to sauce pan. Stir until heated through and cover. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 1 hr.
3. Allow tomato sauce to cool (I put mine in the fridge over night) and then blend in a blender for about 10 seconds or until the sauce has an even consistency (although the sauce should still be thick).
1 12.3 oz package of firm silken tofu (I like Mori-Nu)
juice of half a medium lemon
2 tsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp dried Italian herbs
1 bag fresh baby spinach, boiled and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
1 c chopped mushrooms
1 c chopped onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 small jar of marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 small can of black olives, drained and chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
prepared tomato sauce
12 whole grain lasagna noodles, cooked (less than a box)
2 tsp nutritional yeast
fresh basil (optional)
1. After opening the tofu, wrap in paper towels and press on all sides to absorb liquid. Rewrap in new paper towels and let sit for 10 minutes as water is absorbed by the towel. (I put something with a little weight on top of the wrapped tofu in order to squeeze out some of the water.)
2. Discard paper towel and place tofu in a small mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, nutritional yeast and herbs. Mix together with a fork, breaking apart tofu until it has a ricotta-like consistency. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 20 mins.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
3. Squeeze as much water as possible out of the spinach and then roughly chop. Set aside.
4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onion and garlic and let cook until onions become soft. Add artichokes, olives and s&p and cook for another few minutes, turning down heat if ingredients start to stick to the pan. Remove from heat.
5. Remove tofu mixture from the fridge and mix in chopped spinach.
6. Pour a thin layer of tomato sauce into a 1.5 qt. round casserole dish so that the bottom is covered. Lay (4) noodles on top of the sauce, add a layer of tofu mixture and a layer of the artichoke mixture . Repeat twice by adding another layer of tomato sauce, noodles, tofu mixture and artichoke mixture. Top with a layer of tomato sauce and the rest of the tofu mixture. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on top.
7. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and if the lasagna still has a lot of liquid, cover and place back in the oven for another 15- 25 minutes.
8. Top with fresh basil, add salt, pepper and red chili pepper flakes to taste. Serve with a green salad and olive ciabatta rolls.
So.... now that it's all typed out - this recipe looks way more intense than it really is! I'm just way too good at giving instructions, that's all ;)
Enjoy and Happy Friday! The weekend is HERE.