Saturday, December 22, 2012

Soy-Free Vegan Lasagna

Happy Holidays y'all!

As my subscribers know, I have moved back in with my parents which, at 24, adds a lot of stress to my life.  Not to mention a recent event that was beyond frustrating as the only vegan in a house full of carnivores.  Unless I go shopping with my parents, my vegan needs tend to be forgotten.  (They buy bread with milk/eggs in it, lots of meat and cheese, etc--which I should point out is not their fault, and I'm not blaming them, they just aren't used to living with a vegan.) 

The other night I had to scrounge around for some ingredients to throw together to make myself some dinner before I went out.  There was half a box of pasta, a can of diced tomatoes, some olives, capers, and a leek.  I cooked it up mixed it all together, had 3 bites, and put it in the fridge before I had to run out the door.  I came home later that night, starving at this point and very much looking forward to the pasta I'd made... It was gone.  Out of all the carnivore foods they picked the ONE LAST VEGAN THING IN THE WHOLE HOUSE!!!  I was livid.  I had a chat with the family about how frustrated I was because I'm limited in a carnivore kitchen/house and that when I made something for myself that I could eat, they ate it out of all their other choices.  We decided to designate a shelf in the pantry and potentially a shelf in the fridge for my stuff to go so everyone knew... I am also labeling all my food now as if I was back in college, but at least maybe they will ask before they eat something of mine.

ANYWAY... I went shopping for a whole bunch of stuff that I could make for the whole family that everyone could eat and enjoy and today I'm making Lasagna!!!  It's soy-free, loaded with veggies, and hides protein in an unexpected place.  Also aside from the noodles, tomato sauce (because I was feelin lazy today), and the Daiya cheese on top, it is made from whole foods, which to me, always makes me feel better about stuffing my face! :-) 

"Ric-notta" Cheese (hehe get it? I crack myself up)
2-15 oz cans Cannelini beans, drained
5-6 fresh basil leaves (mine were HUGE, so if your basil leaves are small, you may need some more)
3 TBS water
2 TBS olive oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 TBS nutritional yeast
1 TBS minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Combine everything in the food processor.  Process until smooth and creamy (Kind of like hummus).

Lasagna
1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds with a mandolin, set aside
2 small onions, 1 chopped and 1 sliced, keep separated
2- 16 oz bags frozen, cut spinach,  cooked and drained well, set aside
2-  oz containers of sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 bell pepper, diced (pick your color, I chose orange today)
Olive Oil
2 - oz jars your favorite tomato based spaghetti sauce (or make your own)
1 lb lasagna noodles (be sure to check that there's no egg in the pasta if you're making it vegan)
1 bag Daiya Mozzarella shreds
1 recipe of the "Ricnotta" Cheese (recipe above)
Salt
Pepper
Dried Oregano
Garlic Powder (optional)

In a large pan over med-hi heat, heat some olive oil.  Add in mushrooms, salt and pepper.  Cook until softened.  Remove from heat, drain off any liquid and set aside.

In the same pan over med-hi heat, heat another tablespoon of olive oil.  Add in the chopped onion and bell pepper, salt, pepper, and a few shakes of oregano.  Cook until the onions are translucent and the peppers softened.  Remove from heat, set aside

In a large pot, boil water for the lasagna noodles.  Be sure to cook them according to the package.  Drain and set aside.

In 13x9 in baking dish, spray the bottom with a little olive oil cooking spray.  Add about 1/4 of a cup of tomato sauce.  Lay down a layer of noodles.  Top with some "ricnotta" cheese, and spread evenly over the noodles.  On top of that layer some spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper/onion mix, sliced raw onions, and spread out a layer of the zucchini slices.*  Evenly spread some more tomato sauce on top of the veggies and continue to layer the lasagna.  Sauce, Noodles, "Ricnotta", veggies, sauce, noodles, etc. 

For the final layer: After the noodles, spread remaining tomato sauce to cover the noodles.  Top with Daiya Mozzarella Shreds, salt, pepper, and garlic powder if using. Cover with aluminium foil that's been sprayed with cooking spray so it doesn't stick to the cheese.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes covered.  Remove the foil and cook for an additional 25 minutes uncovered.  Serve! 

*With each veggie layer I sprinkled a little salt and pepper over the zucchini as they were uncooked before going into the lasagna and I wanted to make sure they didn't suck up too much of the salt/pepper used in the other veggies.



serving to a bunch of carnivores tonight... gotta save one piece for mom :-)
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