Thursday, June 5, 2008

Vegan Lasagna

Ok, I tried a LOT of vegan lasagnas trying to find a good one. Believe me - there are a lot out there, but they really don't take the place of a good lasagna. This is good. This one works. I got the original recipe online, and it was called, "Destiny's Vegan-licious Lasagna." I don't remember the site address. This is my version of Destiny's lasagna.
Lasagna is nice, because you can make it ahead of time, put it in the fridge, then entertain effortlessly when the time is right.

1 box lasagna noodles (Some boxes have more than others. You need more than a skimpy box.)
2 jars of your favorite prepared tomato sauce for pasta (I like Fra Diavolo from Newman's Own.)
1 lb. tofu, roughly chopped (not the silken kind)
1/2 c. vegan margarine (I like Earth Balance. It does not have hydrogenated oils or trans-fats.)
1/2 c. rice milk (You can use soy milk, but I think soy milk lends its characteristic soy taste to anything made with it. Your choice, but rice milk stays neutral and does not lend a specific flavor to the dish.)
1 T. dried parsley
1 T. dried basil
1 1/2 t. salt
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 10-oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 c. chopped fresh vegetables, your choice (Be creative here. Think of thinly sliced carrots, chopped onion, chopped garlic, chopped jalepenos, corn kernels, green or black olives, capers, green or colored bell peppers, artichoke hearts, asparagus, pimentos, and on and on and on)
1 or 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced (optional for the top of the lasagna)

1. Combine tofu, margarine (I usually melt it in the microwave first.), rice milk, parsley, basil, salt, oregano, and black pepper in a food processor until smooth. (You can do this in a blender, but you may need to do it in 2 batches.) Set aside.
2. Sauté the chopped fresh vegetables in the olive oil until they are soft with only a slight crunch to them. Set aside.
3. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions. (Slightly - SLIGHTLY! - undercooked is okay.)
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. While it is heating, get a huge baking dish (I use a 9.5 x 13.5, and it is a tight fit with sauce bubbling over during cooking!), and layer like this: tomato sauce, 1/3 of the noodles, 1/2 of the tofu mixture, all the sautéed veggies, tomato sauce, 1/3 of the noodles, 1/2 of the tofu mixture, all of the spinach, tomato sauce, 1/3 of the noodles, tomato sauce. If you are using the sliced tomatoes, cover the top with them now.
5. Bake lasagna 1 hour. Let stand 20 minutes after removing from the oven to set up, then cut and serve hot. Don't worry - it won't get too cool to eat during that 20 minutes! Enjoy!

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