Friday, April 1, 2011

Vegan Beef and Veggie Lasagne

It was one of those days. One of those days when you open the fridge and loudly proclaim, "there's 'nothing' to eat!" 'Nothing' being the key word here.

Honey says this to me all the time and my response is usually something like this: "Nothing? There is absolutely nothing to eat? Not one stitch of food in the fridge or cupboards at all?" Because let's face it folks, there is always something to eat.

It's just that that something may take a little ingenuity. On this day, the day I was feeling as if we would surely have to eat chips and salsa for dinner, I bucked up and did what I do when I have no clue what to make for dinner: Empty basically the entire contents of our refrigerator onto the counter.

It's much easier to see that way.

And I came up with this fantastic lasagne. And I used some veg and other left overs that were eagerly awaiting their time in the spotlight.

It was bursting with fresh flavor from the peppers and leeks, hearty and colorful from (my favorite!) the kale and filling from the 'beef' I had left over from the irish stew adventure.

As a matter of fact, I had a Facebook post from Suzanne, a gal who had made the irish stew and, as I did, had lots of leftover 'beef'. She wondered what to do with it... this is indeed the lasagne I made using the leftover 'beef'! Love multi-tasking ingredients, for sure.

Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, chopped med/fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 green pepper, chopped med/fine
1 yellow pepper, chopped med/fine
1 orange pepper, chopped med/fine
1 red pepper, chopped med/fine
2 teaspoons dry basil
Sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
1 box lasagne noodles
1 bunch italian kale
1 batch vegan 'ricotta' or 'ricotta zucchini spread'
1/2 batch (or remainder from previous recipe) seitan 'beef'
1 batch pasta/marinara/vodka/red sauce (you can buy, if you like but avoid anything with tons of added ingredients)
Daiya 'cheese' in mozzarella or cheddar, whichever you prefer

Do:
If you haven't prepared your pasta sauce ahead of time, begin preparing it now so it can simmer while you work on the rest of the ingredients.

At this time you can also prepare (if you haven't already) the vegan 'ricotta' or 'ricotta zucchini spread'. You can also make this one while your veg is cooking.

In a large saute pan, heat a little olive oil on med/high heat then add garlic and leeks. Saute for 2-3 minutes until just soft then add the green, yellow, orange and red pepper. Stir to incorporate and let cook another 2-3 minutes.


While your pepper mixture is cooking, heat a large pot of salted water for your pasta. When ready, boil pasta according to package instructions. Note: al dente is the best for this lasagne.

To your pepper mix, add basil, sea salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate again then reduce heat to med/low and let cook another 5-8 minutes.

Prepare your kale by simply washing it and de-stemming the leaves. Keep the rest of the leaf in tact.

The 'beef' is already done. Simply crumble into 'ground beef' style crumbles and set aside for assembly.

Preheat oven to 350.

Assembly:
When your pasta is done and your veg is just tender, it's time to assemble your lasagne.

In a lasagne pan, begin by adding some sauce to the bottom of the pan, to cover the whole thing. The first layer on top of that will be lasagne noodles. Make sure you cover the entire pan.

On top of that, spread a generous portion of the 'ricotta' evenly atop noodles.

On top of that spread a generous portion of the sauteed vegetables and 'beef' evenly atop 'ricotta'. Cover the vegetables with kale leaves, such as you would with the lasagne noodles.

On top of the kale leaves, spread a generous portion of pasta sauce, ensuring everything is covered.

From there, repeat the layering process until you run out of noodles. I portioned mine to have three layers, so I wouldn't have extra ingredients left over.

Top your final layer with Daiya 'cheese', cover the whole thing with aluminum foil and put in the oven to bake for 30-50 minutes. After that, remove aluminum foil and bake another 10-20 minutes.

Remove from oven, let sit for 5-10 minutes then slice and serve.

Serve:
Alongside a beautiful green salad, this hearty and comforting meal is a fantastic, flavorful twist on traditional beef lasagne. It was a huge hit.




Enjoy!
Kale
Yellow Bell Peppers

4 comments:

  1. Yum! I will be trying this for sure. I used my leftover "beef" on a chili I made last week. Guess I'll have to make another batch when I get back from our trip. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Teri... oh good idea, using it for chili! It's super flexible :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am a big lasagna person and this veggie version looks awesome. Big bold flavors.

    Bravo.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Lazaro, good to hear from you! Thank you very much... it was very flavorful and tasty :) Hope all is well with you

    ReplyDelete

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