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Spinach Lasagna

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas came early this year, as Daiya cheese made its way to Eugene.  So, in celebration, I picked up some cheddar and italian style and made this delicious lasagna.  I made a roasted red pepper tomato sauce and a spinach laden tofu ricotta to accompany the Daiya for an amazing pre-Christmas meal.

So now, I'm prepared to settle in, do a little prep for the big day, and to enjoy the rest of my end-of-the-year vacation.  It's just too bad there's not much left over to snack on.  I will be quiet until after the holidays.  So, I would like to wish everyone a happy holiday season.

Spinach Lasagna

Spinach Lasagna with Red Pepper Tomato Sauce

Sauce:
2 red bell peppers
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup basil, chopped
1 tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
28 oz diced tomatoes
15 oz tomato sauce
1/4 tsp salt

Spinach Ricotta:
2 bunches spinach, stemmed, washed & shopped
3 cloves garlic
16 oz tofu, drained & crumbled
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbs miso

Other:
12 oz lasagna noodles (3/4 of a box)
3 cups vegan mozzarella cheese (or bechamel, see below)

For the sauce:
Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and stems.  Place them skin-side up on a baking sheet, along with the unpeeled garlic and broil until the skin is charred, about 7 or 8 minutes.  Remove the peppers in a paper bag, or just set a side and allow to cool.  When cool enough to handle, remove the skin.  They should peel right off.  Also remove the skin from the garlic.  Add the peppers, garlic and basil to a blender and blend thoroughly.

While the peppers cook, heat 1 tbs vegetable oil in a saute pan and add the onion and red pepper flakes.  Saute over medium heat until the onion has softened.  Add the diced tomatoes and wine and simmer until the tomatoes are soft and much of the liquid had cooked off.  Set aside if necessary.  Add the tomatoes & onions, along with the tomato sauce to the blender with the pepper mixture.  Pulse a few times until you have a chunky sauce.  Return to the pan, reheat and add the salt, to taste.  This can be made ahead of time.

For the ricotta:
Heat the oil in a sauce pan, set to medium.  Add the spinach, in handfuls, along with the minced garlic and cook until the spinach has wilted, just a couple of minutes.  Press between two plates, to extract the liquid and cool in the refrigerator.  Add the cashews and the lemon juice to a blender and blend thoroughly.  Add the crumbled tofu to a mixing bowl.  Pour the blended cashews, oil, miso and salt over the tofu and stir to combine.  Stir in the chilled spinach and set aside.  This is even better if made a day ahead of time.

Assembly:
Cook the pasta until the noodles are pliable, but not completely cooked. Pour off most of the hot water and add enough cold water or ice so you can grab the noodles with your hand.

Add enough marinara to coat the bottom of a 9x13 casserole. Add a layer of noodles, then half the spinach ricotta, 1/4 of the cheese and 1/4 of the sauce.  Add another layer of noodles, followed by the remaining spinach ricotta, 1/4 of the cheese and 1/4 of the sauce.  Add the final layer of noodles, the remaining sauce and cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees until bubbling, probably 30-45 minutes. Bake time will be longer if the sauces have been refrigerated. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.

8 Servings:  504 cal (22g fat, 61gcarbs, 17g protein)

Bechamel Replacement for Cheese:
If you don't want to use vegan cheese, a bechamel (a simple white sauce) is a very suitable replacement.  It is a common practice in many lasagnas, vegan and omni and can be just as delicious.  Follow the directions below and use instead of the cheese in the recipe above:

2 tbs Earth Balance Margarine
2 tbs flour
2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1/4 tsp salt

Melt the margarine in a sauce pan, over medium-high heat, until it begins to bubble. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly until the flour begins to brown. Remove from heat and add the soy milk. Return to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. As soon as the sauce comes to a boil, remove from the heat and set aside. This can also be made ahead of time, but warm before using.

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7 comments

  1. Jenn Says:
  2. That looks so good! Happy Holidays!

     
  3. mysticxian Says:
  4. I didn't even think about that. Daiya in pasta. It's such a duh! Thanks for the idea. I will try that next. Mmmmmm.

     
  5. This sounds delicious... I will have to try it when I have ...an oven... and the time.

     
  6. Dani Says:
  7. I just recently picked up some daiya from whole foods, what an amazing product. Your lasagna looks so good, I hope I can make this soon!

     
  8. Nichole Says:
  9. I made this last night for dinner. So good, thank you!

    I have pictures and the slight variations I made on my blog, Vegan Niche

     
  10. Nicole, I'm glad you liked the the Bechamel. I never used vegan cheese in my lasagna before I found Daiya, and it's always been a hit.

    It looks like the url in your link got jumbled a bit, so here's another link to the lasagna page (it looks great):

    Vegan Niche Lasagna

     
  11. Sam Says:
  12. Found this recipe after searching for a lasagna + Daiya cheese recipe. It was excellent and my two non-vegan guests loved it. Thanks!

     

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