Hearty Veggie Lasagna
I used to make this lasagna, which included meat and lots of cheese (ricotta, cottage and provolone), when I needed a large, filling entree. When we became plant-based, I never found a recipe that seemed similar, so I changed up my old recipe. I substituted the ground round with mushrooms; the cheeses with tofu and nutritional yeast (another option is to add some vegan mozzarella, but it adds oil). I also vegged it up by adding some sliced zucchini and more sliced mushrooms. This plant-based recipe is a little labor and pan intensive, but worth the effort. A 9 x 13 pan is filled to the top so it’s good for a meal plus leftovers for a hungry family of six with a green salad and French bread.
Vegetable cooking spray (for the bottom of a 9×13 glass pan)
1 large chopped yellow onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ Cup chopped fresh parsley (divided)
1 (14 ½ oz) can undrained diced tomatoes (no salt added)
2 large cans (32 oz) tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1 large box cremini mushrooms (button mushrooms work too) chop ½, slice ½
1 container extra firm tofu, drained and mashed
½ cup nutritional yeast (or vegan mozzarella)
1 box frozen spinach, defrosted and water pressed out
1 -2 fresh zucchini (thinly sliced)
1 box (~12) lasagna noodles (whole wheat if you can get them)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons garlic power
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 9×13 casserole dish with small amount of cooking spray. In large sauce pan over medium heat, add chopped onion, ½ box chopped mushrooms, garlic and sauté in water until soft. Add ¼ cup parsley and add tomatoes, sauce and paste, bring to a boil and then reduce heat cover and simmer for ~ 15 minutes. Remove cover and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Remove from heat.
While the sauce is cooking, do the following to prepare for layering:
- Combine remaining parsley, tofu, nutritional yeast and spices in a bowl and mix. This will be your “cheese” mixture for layering.
- Sauté the remaining sliced mushrooms
- Thinly slice the zucchini
- Microwave the frozen spinach, drain and press out remaining liquid – be careful it will be hot
- Cook the lasagna noodles per package instruction and drain
Once the sauce is done and the layering ingredients are ready, assemble the lasagna. Start with about ½ cup of sauce on the bottom of the pan. Add 4 noodles, add some sauce then top with ½ of all ingredients – “cheese” mixture, spinach, zucchini and mushrooms. Add more sauce, place noodles and then remaining half of layering mixtures, sauce, noodles and then top with sauce. The pan will be very full. Tuck the top noodles into the pan, cover with slightly tented foil, place on a cookie sheet and place in over for ~40 – 45 minutes. Remove from oven, let stand for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley or oregano and serve.
Leftover sauce can be frozen for later use with pasta or served over baked potatoes.
Speedy options: Skip the sauce making and use jarred, low salt/sugar sauce which is usually seasoned so may need to adjust spices used in the tofu mixture.