My first attempts at lasagna failed miserably. Since these attempts were more than 10 years ago, one would think I would have forgotten them by now...no dice. I couldn't figure out the right blend of ingredients, couldn't make the floppy noodles do what I wanted, and the layers never remained as layers. After a few times of feeling like I had the culinary equivalent of two black thumbs, I started asking for input. My mom suggested attempting a lasagna without boiling the noodles, one friend suggested ignoring all veg*n cheeses (which were awful at the time!), and another friend suggested that I just throw things I liked to eat in between noodles and call it lasagna. I took some of all of that to heart, eventually landing on the delicious recipe below.
15 uncooked lasagna noodles
1, 29 oz. can tomato sauce
1, 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1/2 c. water
1 block extra firm tofu
scant 1/2 c. unsweetened soymilk
3 T. nutritional yeast (plus more for the top)
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
4 oz. vegan cream cheese
Spices of choice (see Helpful Hints)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Combine tomato sauces, water, and your spices of choice in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Mix the cream cheese into the spinach (sometimes heating them slightly in the microwave helps). Set aside.
3. In a food processor or blender, combine the tofu, soymilk, lemon juice, and a bit of salt, pepper, and onion/garlic powders (a dash each), processing until the mixture is the texture of ricotta cheese.
4. In a 9x13 glass baking dish, create layers as follows: 1/3 sauce, 5 noodles, tofu mixture, 5 noodles, 1/3 sauce, spinach mixture, 5 noodles, 1/3 sauce.
|Note the overlap of the noodles - this is key.|
The 5th noodle goes the other direction on the end and will likely have to be broken a bit
5. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast then cover tightly with foil.
6. Bake for one hour, then uncover and bake for 20 more minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.
- The uncooked noodles do NOT have to be "oven ready" lasagna noodles. Regular ones will work just fine.
- The spices I used tonight were as follows (and are rough estimates): 1 tsp. minced dried garlic, 1 tsp. onion powder, 1/8 tsp. cayenne, 1/2 tsp. oregano, 1/4 tsp. basil, 2 T. Italian seasoning, a few dashes of black pepper, and a pinch of salt.
- Because of the long cooking time, I'd avoid fresh green spices (e.g., basil) for the sauce, though I suppose you could top the lasagna with them.
- Unsweetened soymilk is NOT the same thing as plain soymilk. Be careful; I've made that mistake one too many times.
- We do not regularly use unsweetened soymilk, which means we don't have any in the fridge. Rather than buying the smallest size possible, using a little bit, and then letting the rest go to waste, I use Better Than Milk original powder. I can mix up what I need when I need it, and the rest will just wait patiently for me.
- This freezes well, although the tofu will change texture a bit. When you microwave it (whether frozen or not), cover it with a damp paper towel to keep the top layer of noodles from drying out completely.