Monday, April 5, 2010

Double Layered Tofu Spinach Lasagna

This is such a yummy recipe for a lovely dinner, a gathering, or in our case, a holiday dish. I served this as a main for Easter/Spring Dinner with a side of Yukon potatoes mixed with sweet potatoes & mashed, lightly vegan herb & buttered. Served lasagna w/steamed fresh asparagus & dessert was freshly dipped carob strawberries & a bit of carob dipped organic sea salted oat pretzels. The tofu cheese of the recipe could trick any ricotta fan, this honestly tastes like *real* cheese. And you don't need plant based mozzarella, completely optional, I make my own plant based mozzarella, in the case of lasagna, it's not necessary to use.

Tofu Spinach Lasagna, Vegan

You will need a food processor for this recipe.
You will also need a 9"x13" deep baking dish/pan.
I always use most to all organic ingredients for my recipes.

Org. whole wheat or whole grain lasagna, cook them before assembling lasagna by following instructions on box.

Marinara Sauce:
5-6 C of tomato sauce of your choice, I used my own homemade org. canned for this recipe. (I always add a splash of olive oil, especially when served with plant based cheese, this will add a little fat that you need for taste and for the visual of *real* cheese.

5-6 C blanched fresh spinach, drained & squeeze out excess water then chopped
(org. baby spinach used in photo)

Tofu Cheese:
1 14 ounce pkg extra firm/firm org. tofu, drained, optional to lightly press
3-4 mini sweet colored peppers, seeds & tops discarded or 1 sm-med red bell [pepper cored & quartered
1 sm bunch of fresh green onions, roots discarded
1 C fresh curly parsley leaves or 1/2 C fresh Italian parsley leaves
1/2 C fresh cilantro leaves
1/4 plant milk (soy, almond, hazelnut, rice, etc.)
2 Tbsp fresh sweet basil or 1-1/2 tsp dried basil
4 med-large fresh garlic cloves
1 freshly juiced lemon
1 Tbsp org. maple sugar (you may use any sugar of your choice)
1/2 -1 tsp unrefined sea salt (if you are a true cheese fan, you may like a bit more salt to make this taste more like dairy cheese, salt to taste)
dash of dried or a bit of fresh oregano, thyme, & rosemary
black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
Place all tofu cheese ingredients in food processor, except tofu & spinach, process until everything is finely chopped. Add tofu, pulse until you have a texture similar to real ricotta cheese, don't overdo it, your cheese should have body & texture like dairy ricotta. Place finished cheese into bowl & add spinach (make sure you drain & squeeze the spinach of any excess water--this is incredibly important, you don't want soggy lasagna, or slimy spinach.).
Assemble double layered lasagna: place a thin layer of tomato sauce on bottom of lasagna pan, add a layer of lasagna noodles, add a layer of cheese, layer of tomato sauce, repeat process. This recipe usually makes 2 cheese layers, now top off w/a layer of lasagna noodles & tomato sauce. Bake in preheated oven for about 40-45 minutes loosely covered with aluminum foil & parchment paper, so aluminum doesn't touch food. Remove cover after 40-45 minutes, then bake an additional 10 uncovered. Top should be nice and bubbly when done.

Serve by itself or enjoy with a fresh herbal green salad or use your imagination for delicious sides for a celebration. ^_^