One of the things I really love about being vegan is that cooking is always an adventure. There really are no shortcuts – sure there are plenty of vegan products – but if you’re trying to avoid eating crap or overly processed foods, you’re really better off starting from scratch. Take vegan cheeses for example – many of them are filled with canola oil (gross) and other nasty chemicals – so these days, I’m all about just making it myself.
Last night I made vegan, gluten-free spinach and mushroom lasagna for some friends (all of whom are MEAT eaters) – and it was one of those little kitchen science experiments that made me proud (nerd alert!) – they couldn’t believe the lasagna was both vegan and gluten-free. SCORE.
The key to this recipe was the “cheese.” I made a “ricotta” using tofu, basil, soy milk, lemon, a pinch of salt and a pinch of coconut sugar. It has a creamy consistency a lot like what you’ll find in a normal ricotta and a flavor that’s almost too close for comfort. You really have to taste as you go to get the salt and lemon just right – but there’s nothing wrong with being a taste tester – especially when it comes to “cheese.”
- 1 package of Tinkyada Lasagna Noodles
- 2 packages (10 oz each) frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
- 1 package of extra firm tofu
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar (regular sugar will also work)
- 1/4 cup soy milk (or other milk alternative)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 20 leaves of fresh basil, minced
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
- Juice from 1/2 lemon (or to taste)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4-6 cups of Newman’s Own Marinara with Mushroom Sauce
- 1.5 cups mixed mushrooms (I used king trumpets and oyster), chopped
- 2 Original Sunshine Burger patties, crumbled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook lasagna noodles according to package (place in boiling water about 12-15 minutes). Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside.
Squeeze as much water from the spinach as possible and set aside.
Place tofu, coconut sugar, soy milk, garlic, lemon juice, basil, and salt in a food processor and blend until smooth. The “ricotta” should turn out creamy but still have some body.
Transfer to a large mixing bowl and stir in the spinach. Continue tasting until you get amount of salt and lemon just right.
Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add Sunshine Burger patty crumbles and heat for another 2 minutes or until cooked. Add pasta sauce and simmer for another 1-2 minutes.
Cover bottom of a baking dish with a thin layer of pasta sauce, then a layer of noodles and follow with “ricotta.” Continue in the same order, using half remaining pasta sauce and noodles, and all remaining filling. Bake for 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly.