Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lasagna Dinner Party

Tonight's Menu
Vegetable Lasagna with Tofu 'Ricotta'
Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Garlic Bread (recipe not included)
Blackberry Nectarine Galette with Vanilla Ice Cream
*I'll post the salad and galette recipes as soon as I have time!

The Recipes;

Vegetable Lasagna with Tofu 'Ricotta'
This is a fairly classic Vegetable Lasagna with the exception of substituting a Tofu 'Ricotta' for the cheese that would naturally be there. The recipe is broken into three parts which include Tomato Sauce, Tofu 'Ricotta,' and the vegetable fillings. It takes a bit of time to make, but I think its worth it.

Tomato sauce (see recipe below)
Tofu 'Ricotta' (see recipe below)
1 package lasagna noodles
2 medium sized round eggplant
2 large bunches fresh spinach
5-6 medium sized zucchini
salt and pepper

Tomato Sauce:
1/2 of a medium yellow onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
4 Tbs. tomato paste
1 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
salt and ground pepper to taste

Tofu 'Ricotta'
20 oz. firm tofu
8 oz. Tofutti soy cream cheese (room temp)
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1 Tbs. fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbs. nutritional yeast (optional)

To Prepare:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the lasagna noodles according to the package, taking care not to overcook them (they will cook longer in the oven). Toss the noodles with olive oil after draining to keep them from sticking. Set aside.

While the noodles are cooking, slice the eggplant and zucchini lengthwise into 1/4" thick slices. Coat the slices lightly with olive oil and lay out in a flat layer on a baking sheet (you may need more than one sheet. I like to put the zucchini on one and the eggplant on the other because they cook at different speeds). Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and bake in the oven until they are tender and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. Next, cut the stems off of the spinach and wash the leaves in a water bath to remove any dirt. Drain well, and spread out on a baking sheet, sprinkling the leaves with a bit of salt. In the oven, bake the spinach until just wilted, but not mushy for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

While the vegetables are cooking, start the tomato sauce. Heat a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, onions, and garlic and cook until onions begin to turn translucent. Next add the tomato paste and cook for about 1 minute, stirring continuously. Next add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, oregano, and salt and pepper. Cook at a low simmer for about 10 minutes then remove from heat and stir in the chopped fresh basil. Set aside for later.

To make the Tofu 'Ricotta,' crumble the tofu into a bowl, squeezing out as much water as possible first. Add the soy cream cheese and mash together until it is well blended and the consistency of ricotta cheese. (a food processor works well for this if you have one). Add the remaining ingredients and blend together until everything is well incorporated.

Assembling the Lasagna:
In a 9x13 baking pan, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the bottom of the pan. Lay out the first layer of noodles, covering the bottom of the pan. Next, spread out half of the eggplant and zucchini over the noodles, and then add a layer of half the wilted spinach, squeezing out any excess water. Cover with a third of the remaining sauce and a third of the tofu ricotta. Add another layer of noodles and cover with the remaining vegetables and another third of the sauce and tofu mixture. Add a final layer of noodles followed buy the remaining sauce and then tofu ricotta. Cover with foil and then bake for about 45 minutes until the lasagna is hot and bubbly. After removing from the oven, allow the lasagna to sit for about 10 minutes before serving. Serve with crusty garlic bread and a salad. Enjoy!!


UponFirstListen said...

I feel like I'm looking at pictures of my kitchen. What with the delicious-tasting white balsamic vinegar and Muir Glen Organic tomato products.

Ashley said...

Ha, we got the white balsamic for free from my roommate's brother. At first i was skeptical, but it's actually pretty good!