Friday, February 20, 2009
This roasted vegetable lasagna is so full of flavors and healthy ingredients, it takes the guilt out of eating this usually calorie-packed Italian favorite.
I used almost every veggie I had in the refrigerator for this lasagna, and I would have used more if I had them, believe me. There's spinach and coriander in here, melded into a smooth, creamy, tofu sauce, along with eggplant, red and orange peppers and juicy tomatoes. Zucchini would have been great here, or even mushrooms.
The tofu made for a delicious sauce, adding healthy protein to an already nutritious dish. I added some vegan mozzarella cheese to the lasagna, but if you can't find it, leave it out. I'd advise that you whip up some extra tofu sauce instead and use that to smother the top layer, instead of the cheese. Do cover the noodles in the top layer with something, though, or they will harden up when baked.
There's some work involved in making this lasagna because you do have to roast all the vegetables first and make the sauce. But believe me, it is not a lot compared to the work you'd put into making any other lasagna. And the flavor's so gorgeous, it is totally worth any effort.
I used no-boil lasanga noodles which are shorter, so I ended up layering them widthwise into the pan, rather than lengthwise as one would do with the more regular, longer version of lasagna noodles. This was my first time using no-boil noodles, and I must say they worked quite well and took away the fuss of first boiling the lasagna noodles before you can layer them.
I have been having a busy week, so I'll say goodbye for now. Enjoy your weekend, dear folks, and if you have some time on hand for an incredible meal-- try this one!
This lasagna goes to my It's A Vegan World: Italian event. There's still plenty of time before the Feb. 28 deadline, so get rolling, all you amazing cooks! Remember, you can send more than one entry and non-bloggers are also very welcome.
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
1 package no-boil lasagna noodles. If using the regular noodles, cook first according to package instructions.
2 cups vegan mozarella cheese (I used Vegan Gourmet), crumbled
3 large bell peppers (any color), roasted directly on an oven rack, with the oven preheated to 350 degrees. Turn occasionally until the skin has charred and wrinkled uniformly all around the pepper. Remove, and when the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and discard along with the seeds and stalk. Chop into thin strips and put in a bowl.
1 large eggplant, sliced into 1/3-inch-thick slices, set the slices down on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the slices and drizzle a little bit of olive oil on each. Place under the broiler and let the slices broil for three minutes until they are turning golden. Flip the eggplant slices and broil another three minutes until the eggplant is quite tender. When cool enough to handle, slice the eggplants and place in the bowl along with the peppers.
3 large beefsteak tomatoes, halved. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on a lightly oiled baking sheet. As with the eggplants, season with salt and pepper and drizzle some olive oil on the tomatoes. Bake in a 425-degree oven for about 30-40 minutes or until the tomatoes are turning golden and are quite soft. Remove, slice when cool to the touch, and add to the bowl containing the other roasted veggies.
For the sauce:
Saute in 1 tsp olive oil:
1 large onion, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
When the onions and garlic soften, add 1 10-ounce package of thawed frozen spinach. Squeeze the spinach first to remove almost all the water you possibly can from it. Saute the spinach with the onions and garlic until cooked, about 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Place the spinach-onion mixture in a blender along with:
1 package silken soft tofu, like MoriNu
1 cup soy milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1 cup coriander leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend until you have a fairly smooth and thick but spreadable sauce. Add more soy milk if the sauce is too thick, but don't let it become watery.
Set the sauce aside.
Lightly oil a 12 X 9 inch rectangular baking dish.
Layer lasagna noodles in the bottom of the dish, overlapping them slightly so there are no gaps in between. If you're using the small, no-boil kind like I did, you'll need around 5-6 noodles in each layer. If you're using the regular lasagna noodles, you will need to layer them lengthwise, in which case you'll need around 4 in each layer.
Spread one-third of the tofu-spinach sauce evenly on the lasagna noodles.
Now layer one-third of the roasted vegetables on top of the sauce, spreading them evenly.
Spread a small handful of the crumbled vegan mozzarella, if using, on top of the vegetables.
Now add another layer of noodles, and repeat the layering process with the sauce, the vegetables and the cheese. (You should end up with four layers of noodles, and three layers of veggies and sauce.)
By the time you get to the fourth layer of lasagna noodles, you will be out of the sauce and roasted vegetables. Crumble the remaining mozarella cheese evenly over the top. You can also sprinkle on 1 cup of breadcrumbs (optional. I didn't use any).
Cover the lasagna pan with aluminum foil.
Bake in a 375-degree oven for 40 minutes.
Now remove the foil and continue baking for another 5 minutes or until the cheese on top gets bubbly and starts to turn golden.
Remove and let stand for a few minutes before cutting in.