Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So Duck Soup's 'Ono Lasagna

Nothing to get me going in the kitchen like a new challenge and the wisdom to plan for the week. Yup. It only took me one year to learn this. And I suppose not having anyone home on a Sunday makes it a lot easier to get some cooking duties taken care of.

Last up on the agenda today was making a variation on Chef AJ's Disappearing Lasagna. It is oh so delicious. I made a few changes so I'll just go ahead and list the ingredients and steps that I used. But you're going to need to read the WHOLE thing to get it right, all the way down to the end.

Ingredients

Filling No. 1:
1 container firm tofu (I buy the cheapest I can find in the refrigerated section)
2 oz. fresh basil leaves (or dried if you don't have fresh) - any combination of Italian seasonings would work in place of fresh basil
1 cup pine nuts, raw cashews or hemp seeds
2 cloves garlic (or more)
1/4 cup low-sodium miso (I used regular miso)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
2 pounds frozen chopped spinach or 1 pound frozen chopped kale (I used fresh chard that I chopped up and cooked on the stove in a small amount of water)

 2 small to medium round eggplants, sliced thin
2 small to medium zucchinis, sliced thin
(these will be used as "noodles" in lieu of using whole wheat lasagna noodles)

6 cups oil-free marinara sauce (I used two jars of Ragu spaghetti sauce and mixed it with another two cups of tomato sauce)

Filling No. 2:
16 oz sliced mushrooms (2 containers)
2 or more garlic cloves
1/4 cup tamari (I used shoyu)
1 large onion
1 can olives, rinsed and drained, then sliced or chopped

Faux Parmesan:
In a food processor, grind 1 cup raw cashews or almonds, 1/2 cup nutritional yeast and 1 Tbsp of salt-free seasoning, until a powdery mixture is achieved. If you like it more chunky, process less.

Instructions:
Make the filling in a food processor fitted with the "S" blade, by adding tofu (drain out the water), basil, garlic, lemon juice, miso, nutritional yeast, nuts and red pepper flakes. Puree until smooth. Add drained cooked greens and process again.
In a large non-stick saute pan, saute chopped onion in 1/4 cup water until translucent, adding more water if necessary. Add garlic, mushrooms and tamari and saute until browned. Taste mixture, adding more garlic/tamari according to your taste. Cook until mushrooms appear to be glazed and there is no more liquid left in pan.
Pour 3 cups of the sauce in a 9"x13" lasagna pan (or larger if you have OR use two smaller pans). Place one layer of sliced eggplant on top. Cover eggplant with half of tofu/spinach mix, then with half of mushroom mix. Place a layer of zucchini on top and add remaining halves of tofu and mushroom/onion mixture. Place one more layer of a mix of zucchini/eggplant on top and smother evenly with remaining sauce. Sprinkle olives on top of sauce and sprinkle with faux parmesan. (by this time I was too tired to make faux parmesan so I just sprinkled on some mac nut crumbs, nutritional yeast and a Trader Joe's salt free seasoning).
Hopefully at this point, your sauce isn't running over the top of your pan! It makes a LOT!

Bake uncovered 375 degrees for one hour. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Serves A LOT of people :-)

My main point that I would like to make is that you do NOT have to make recipes exactly as they are written out. If you'd rather use whole grain lasagna noodles instead of eggplant and zucchini, do it! If you hate onions, omit them. Like bell peppers? Put them in! 

I saute EVERYTHING in water. Start with a couple tablespoons - 1/4 cup and just keep adding as it evaporates.

After the onions become close to translucent add the mushrooms, garlic and tamari/soy sauce

That looks just about ready. The liquid is pretty much gone.

This pan is slightly larger than a 9x13, maybe 10 x 14?

On top of the 3 cups of marinara I layered thinly sliced eggplant

This is half of the tofu mixture. Kids would never know it is full of  greens.

On top of the tofu mixture goes half of mushroom mixture, then a sprinkling of chopped olives.

Next is a layer of thinly sliced zucchini and then the other half of the tofu mix

Then a layer of eggplant interspersed with zucchini (using leftovers of both) and the rest of the sauce. Two jars was not enough so I mixed in about a can of a seasoned tomato sauce. You can use Italian stewed tomatoes and that would probably work well! A little extra sauce won't hurt it but not enough sauce makes it quite dry. Not good.

Sprinkle on some chopped olives then the faux parmesan (in my case it's mac nut crumbs, nutritional yeast and a salt free seasoning.
Ta-da!!!!

Tastes way better than it looks
So here is what I learned. Next time I use zucchini and especially eggplant as noodles I have GOT to roast them in the oven. So might I suggest slicing them thinly, placing them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and probably roast for about 40 minutes, turning them over halfway through. This will make them softer as the cooking time of one hour in the oven was NOT enough. I could eat the zucchini but the eggplant was not quite done. And it was difficult to cut. If in doubt, go with whole grain noodles. But I will definitely do the zucchini and eggplant with the pre-roasting (or grilling if you can). The tofu mix was fabulous and the topping of mac nut crumbs and nutritional yeast worked out great.

It was so delicious I could not stop eating which I usually don't do as a nutritarian. I usually stop when I'm full. But I could not stop. I went back for more about 4 times. And I have enough leftovers for at least another meal or two. Click here for the original recipe, compliments of Healthy Girl's Kitchen recipe section of her blog.

1 comment:

  1. Great pictures to assist with the recipe! Helps to take away some of the fear factor of making this. Will try it this weekend :)

    ReplyDelete