Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Baby Bella Mushroom and Zucchini Lasagna

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

A while back I mentioned how I had been carefully watching my carb intake. Well, sometimes, I have to give in to that craving because it is healthy and I happened to play an hour of rigorous racquetball with Ryan. The other reason I had to give in, is that my creative juices have been urging me to try my hand at creating a delicioius substitute for the famously cheese-ladened version.

Ever since I bought my first bag of Daiya cheese at the health food store, I decided it was time to jump in and test my skills. Another reason for making lasagna was seeing other bloggers making it. That was inspiring. I was not going to be left behind! :)

A few months ago I made Stuffed Pasta Shells, I created my own recipe for the tofu ricotta, but I was not convinced this would be the right recipe for my lasagna. So as I thought of the right ricotta "cheese" recipe, nutritional yeast came to mind. Nutritional yeast is used ALOT among vegans in order to acheive a cheesy or nutty flavor to dishes. I made a Egg-less Noodles and "Cheeze" recipe to make up for the mac and cheese craving 5 months ago.

Nutritional yeast is like Brewer's Yeast, which I really disliked as a child, and is a complete protein. It also supplements the much needed B12 vitamin that most vegetarians and vegans are in dire need. The important thing is having a balanced diet where a vegan is able to get the appropriate vitamins. I totally do not want to be B12 deficient!

When it came time to make the tofu ricotta, I planned around how much nutritional yeast I would need. I knew I was not making a 9 x 13 pan of lasagna, so I was not going to make a ton of ricotta. I used a 4½" x 8½" x 3" loaf pan to make smaller servings in order not to have too many leftovers. The other reason not to make a ton of lasagna was that Ryan was not convinced on a cheeseless lasagna, even though he said he would taste it.

I pressed the tofu for 3 hours, but only because I was preparing so far in advance. It can be pressed for an hour. I crumbled the tofu and it was perfect! I had never pressed tofu that long and I really liked the texture. I used my normal recipe for ricotta back before I was vegan. Parsley flakes, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp water. YUM people. I sampled it raw and it was fantastic. I coulf not wait to try it in the lasagna.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
While I fixed the tofu ricotta, I boiled the lasagna.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
And I cooked some baby bella mushrooms for a little bit.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Since it was Sunday and I was starving after a hard workout, I decided to use my favorite bottled sauce, Bertolli.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

I sliced up one zucchini, length wise and then started up the layering process. I added a 1.5 Tablespoon to the bottom of the pan, and added 1.5 lasagna noodles, 2 Tablespoons tofu ricotta, and topped with 4 slices of zucchini.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

I then added the mushrooms.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

I repeated the layering until I ended with noodles, sauce and then added 1/2 cup Daiya vegan cheese. I was really excited to see how the flavors would turn out.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
I baked it for 20 minutes in 425 degree heat and here were the results.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Baby Bella Mushroom and Zucchini Lasagna

serves 4 (using a 4½" x 8½" x 3" loaf pan)(can use a 9x9)

6 lasagna noodles, cut in half , width wise
1 zucchini, sliced length-wise (1/4 inch thick)
1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/4-1/2 cups Bertolli Tomato and Basil sauce
1 tsp Italian seasonings
1/2 garlic powder
12 ounce Mori-Nu firm tofu, pressed
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp water
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup Daiya vegan cheese crumbles

Preheat oven to 425 degree Fahrenheit.

Press tofu before starting assembling lasagna. Tofu must be pressed 45 minutes to an hour long.

Crumble tofu in a small bowl, making sure there are no big chunks. Add nutritional yeast, parsley flakes, minced garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and water. mix well and set aside.

Heat water for lasagna in a deep sauce pan. Split noodles beforehand and cook according to packaged directions.

Meanwhile, slice zucchini and mushrooms. These veggies create a lot of moisture, so I decided to keep the tofu ricotta drier. Saute' sliced mushrooms in 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add garlic powder and Italian seasonings and cook for 5 minutes. Do not overcook.

Start layering process.
  • 1st layer: 1 1/2 Tbsp sauce
  • 2nd layer: 2 half noodles and a 1/4
  • 3rd layer: 2 Tbsp tofu ricotta
  • 4th layer: 4 zucchini slices
  • 5th layer: 1/4 cup mushrooms
  • Repeat process and end with noodles, sauce and 1/2 cup Daiya vegan cheese crumbles.
Place loaf pan on cookie sheet to prevent from spilling in oven. Cook for 20 minutes and remove from oven.

Let lasagna rest for 10-15 minutes and serve.

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen



I love veggie lasagna--this one looks delish.

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