Vegan Spinach Lasagna

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Oh. My. Word. We have just finished eating and I promise, this lasagna tastes like the “real” thing. I guess that’s not even fair to say. This WAS real lasagna, it just doesn’t use cheese. Thus, I’m full, but not heavy. Feel satisfied, but not greasy.

The recipe couldn’t be simpler. I took it from a back version of Vegetarian Times. You could easily adapt this to include all kinds of vegetables, but this simple recipe is definitely a keeper. 

Ingredients
• 2 tsp. olive oil
• 2 c. chopped yellow onion (about 1/2  to 3/4 large onion)
• 3 garlic cloves, minced
• 10 oz. bag fresh baby spinach
• 24 oz. firm tofu, drained
• 8 oz. vegan cream cheese
• 1/2 c. fresh basil, chopped
• 1/4 c. nutritional yeast
• 5 1/2 c. pasta sauce
• 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
• 12 oz. vegan Italian sausage or soy crumbles, broken apart (optional)
• 1 c. vegan shredded mozzarella
• vegan parmesan cheese (I added this on my own for a little extra something)
• salt and pepper (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Fill your 9 x 13 pan with hot tap water and soak noodles until ready to layer lasagna. This is a little trick I do with noodles that are supposed to be boiled. It’s a lot less hassle and the noodles still cook through every time.

2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat and sauté onion and garlic for about five minutes, until softened or golden. Add spinach and cook for a few minutes, until wilted.

3. Transfer mixture to food processor, along with tofu, cream cheese, basil and nutritional yeast. Process until smooth and resembles ricotta. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Drain noodles and set aside — paper towels work.

I mistakenly thought I had a large can of crushed tomatoes at home, so I couldn’t whip up my go-to marinara. I did, however, have a jar of Newman’s Own Marinara (I swear I don’t work for them — I just happened to have N.O. items two days in a row). I found one jar not quite as much as I would like, but it got us by just fine.

4. Spread 1/4 of the sauce on bottom of a 9 x 13 glass pan or other baking dish, then layer the lasagna as follows:
4 noodles
half of filling
1/4 of sauce (and a quick sprinkle of parm, if using)
4 noodles
rest of filling
sausage,  if using (we went sans sausage for this)
1/4 of sauce
4 noodles
rest of sauce
shredded mozzarella and more parm

5. Cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes or until bubbling (30 should be plenty though). Uncover and bake another 15 to 20 minutes more, or until noodles are done and cheese is melty. With my noodle trick, they should definitely be done!

6. Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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