He, let's call him.... STEVE (emphasis on the 'e', just for fun) used to make it and it was a bit of a process but so so worth it. He was a great cook. Actually, whenever I think of making or ordering lasagne I always never do because I know nothing will ever stand up to the amazing lasagne Steve made.
So we were having friends over... again... and I needed another one of those fantastic 'cook yourself' recipes. Manicotti? Perhaps, but Honey wanted something different. He suggested lasagne. I sighed and explained that lasagne will always be a sensitive subject because Steve's lasagne will always hold a special place in my heart. (Editor's note: Only his lasagne folks, get your minds out of the gutter for
And then I though, 'ok, it's been fourteen plus years. Probably time to move past the Steve lasagne obsession and make lasagne anyway. It's the right thing to do. I will admit though, I had a fleeting thought. An idea: Perhaps I should look him up? Find him, more than likely through the ever so enthusiastic help of Facebook (who isn't on Facebook?) or something like that and then ask him for the recipe. Dork. Yes I am.
But no. No I didn't. Instead I went ahead and used what I remembered, veganized it and came up with this. Pre-tty. Darn. Good. And you would never know it's vegan.
Serves: About 12? And that's leftovers for us!
For the sauce: (same sauce used for that delicious vegan manicotti!)
For the tomato sauce: (it's my standard)
1/2 red onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, diced fine or smashed
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 teaspoon salt, give or take
1 can chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh tomatoes that have been blanched also)
1 small can tomato paste
1 small can tomato sauce
For the ricotta: (same ricotta recipe used for that 'still delicious' vegan manicotti!)
2 containers firm tofu, crumbled
1/2 cup raw pecan pieces
2-3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt, give or take
2 Tablespoons oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped or smashed
1 package lasagne noodles, prepared according to package
6 small zucchinis, mandolined into thin strips (about 1/8 inch) Note: if using large zucchinis, do about 2 or 3
1 medium eggplant, mandolined into thin strips, same as zucchini
1 pkg fresh spinach leaves
1 pkg daiya cheese
In a cast iron pot, get your sauce going by sauteing onion in a little extra virgin olive oil over medium/high heat for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook another 3-5 minutes.
Add oregano, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper along with your chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce. Stir well, turn heat down to med/low, cover and let cook.
Fill a large pot with water and salt and boil for your pasta. It's nice to use a lid, to help the boiling process.
Meanwhile, prepare your 'ricotta' by combining all 'ricotta' ingredients (tofu, pecan pieces, apple cider vinegar, salt, oregano, pepper and garlic) in a food processor. Blend/pulse until everything is combined and smooth.
Give your 'ricotta' a taste and add salt/pepper as needed then transfer mixture into a large bowl and set aside.
When your pasta is done, preheat oven to 350 and prepare your lasagne. In your pan, put a thin amount of sauce into the bottom. Not too much; just enough to line the bottom.
Top your sauce with one layer of lasagne noodles. On top of that, spread a generous layer of fresh spinach leaves. Top that with one layer of eggplant.
On top of the eggplant, spread a nice layer of 'ricotta' then top that with a bit of your tomato sauce and a thin layer of daiya cheese.
Then add one layer of zucchini, sprinkle with another thin layer of daiya cheese and sauce then top with lasagne noodles and start the layer process over again.
Note: as you go, press the ingredients in to each other, making more room for additional layers. I was able to get a good three layers.
Make sure you end with a daiya cheese and pasta sauce layer on top.
Cover pan with tin foil and bake for 30-40 minutes then remove foil and bake another 10-15 minutes. Once hot and bubbly, but not dry, remove from oven and let sit for 10-12 minutes before cutting and serving.
Serve with homemade garlic bread and a fresh salad for a complete,delicious and very filling meal.
This lasagne also pairs incredibly well with a lovely glass of red wine such as a zinfandel or cabernet sauvignon. We always love to suggest Ravenswood Lodi zin for an affordable yet delicious choice.