Classic Vegan Lasagna

Classic Vegan Lasagna
Today is my dear Lee’s second week of the Meatless Monday pledge, and I’m happy to report that he’s still on board! (I never doubted him. Really.)

It’s not much of a struggle to find non-meat dishes for Lee to enjoy and this Monday is no exception. Last week, my mind was swimming with baked pasta dishes (I blame the cold snap!) so I made my classic vegan lasagna. I love baked dishes not only because they are warm and comforting and satisfying, but also because they yield copious amounts of leftovers that make great Monday lunches after a busy weekend.

Plus, it occurred to me that I haven’t yet shared this particular lasagna recipe with you yet, dear readers, and it’d be a crying shame if you lived another day without learning about it. I mean that sincerely.

Classic Vegan Lasagna
Yield: 6 servings (but easily adaptable to make more!)

6 no-boil lasagna noodles
1-1/2 cups tofu ricotta
1-10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp granulated garlic
2 cups tomato sauce (homemade, I hope, but store-bought will suffice. Canned crushed tomatoes will also work.)
6 oz non-dairy mozzarella (almond is my favorite, soy is permissible), shredded

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spoon 3-4 Tbsp of tomato sauce into a 7×9 inch baking dish and spread to coat the bottom. Place two noodles in the baking dish, overlapping them slightly.

In a medium bowl and using a fork, stir about two-thirds of your squeezed-out spinach into the tofu ricotta along with the salt and garlic. Just break up the spinach as much as possible, but don’t worry too much about uniformity. Lasagna is supposed to have character.

Speaking of character, most lasagna recipes give very specific instructions on how to layer your dish, how much of each filling to add and when, and I’m not going to do that. I’ll tell you how I constructed this particular lasagna and I’ll even confess a little kitcheneering faux pas, but I’m also going to urge you strongly to remember that every lasagna dish can and (I think) should be different. I never build my layers the same way twice.

Here’s what I did this time:

Layer 1: Lasagna noodles (already done, above, and yes, you should always start with sauce and then noodles)
Layer 2: About one-third of the spinach-ricotta mixture
Layer 3: About half of the shredded cheese
Layer 4: 3/4 cup tomato sauce
Layer 5: Two lasagna noodles
Layer 6: Another third of spinach-ricotta mixture
Layer 7: 3/4 cup tomato sauce
Layer 8: Last two lasagna noodles
Layer 9: Final third of spinach ricotta
Layer 10:Reserved spinach (about one-third of the package, remember?)
Layer 11: Remaining tomato sauce, being sure to cover every inch of noodle
Layer 12: Final half of shredded cheese

Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes or until your top layer of noodles is fully cooked. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before cutting into 6 squares and serving with a side of something green, like steamed broccoli. Voila!

Ok, so what about that faux pas I promised to confess? If you peeked closely at the photo above, you noticed something kind of funky going on with the top layer of lasagna noodles. You probably noticed that it’s not lasagna noodles at all there on top, but ditalini instead. Ditalini are small, short tubes of pasta that I typically think are delicious in soups and with heavy sauces. What the heck are they doing in my lasagna?

Here’s the confession: Despite your suspicions, I do not keep the most organized pantry and I am not capable of staying on top of my inventory much of the time. Thus, when the mood struck me to whip up a quick lasagna dish, I found myself in possession of only 4, count ’em, four lasagna noodles. I almost panicked, it’s true, but then I remembered that I had some precooked and dehydrated ditalini in the back of my pantry, which I had made for backpacking meals. As fate would have it, there was just enough ditalini hanging out in there to sprinkle on that layer where the last two lasagna noodles shoulda-coulda been. Since the pasta was precooked, just like the lasagna noodles, it rehydrated beautifully and we were happy campers!

Let this be a lesson to you, though. Either pay more attention to your pantry stock when you’re making that grocery list, or try looking at your pantry items in different ways. If I hadn’t had that dried ditalini on hand, I might have ventured as far as to spread a healthy layer of couscous instead, or perhaps even a couple of pieces of toast. Think I’m crazy? Maybe. But remember this the next time you run into what looks like a culinary roadblock!

There you have it, folks. My omnivore’s second Meatless Monday, a spectacular classic lasagna dish, and a deep dark secret. I hope you’ve enjoyed it all!

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Eva Rosenberg

Eva Rosenberg

Welcome to Eva's Kitchen where I share my adventures in cooking. My creations may not always turn out Pinterest perfect, but I usually end up with a funny picture or an interesting meal. Thanks for stopping by!


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