Monday, September 22, 2014

Best Ever Vegetarian (or Vegan) Lasagne

I'm not going to lie to you - this recipe takes time.  An hour and a half, to be exact. Plus 50 minutes cooking time.... But, the upside is that you get two recipes for the price of one, and one of them is the most nutritious and delicious lasagne you have ever tasted!  Full of vegetables, legumes, and nuts, this is definitely a filling meal, and you will never miss the heavy, greasy meat that is so often indicative of traditional lasagnes.  As a bonus, you can add canned artichokes to the leftover spinach mixture for a hearty vegan spinach and artichoke dip.

I assembled and baked this in the morning and then just re-heated it for supper on Sunday.

Serves 8.


Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper (it is important to season as you go)

1 large eggplant
2 medium zucchini
1 small onion
4 cloves garlic
1 clamshell of baby spinach
1 pound mixed mushrooms (not button mushrooms), chopped roughly
2 tsp Italian seasoning
700g jar pomodoro sauce (sieved tomatoes found near the pasta or pizza sauce)
1/4 cup water
1/4 fresh basil, finely sliced

1 cup raw cashews (soaked for at least 4 hours)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 tsp cider vinegar (white wine vinegar or lemon juice would work, too)
1 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
half a 19oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

9 oven-ready lasagne noodles
1 cup of shredded mozzarella (use vegan cheese if you want this to be a vegan dish)


1. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices.  Season generously with salt, place in a colander in the sink and let drain for 45 minutes.  After, rinse the bitter juices off and pat dry with kitchen towel.

2. Cut the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices.  Let sit on the cutting board for at least 30 minutes (I learned this in Italy, and it will benefit any zucchini dish).

3. Meanwhile, sauté 1/2 the onion and 2 cloves of garlic in 2 tsp of oil until softened.  Add the spinach, salt, and pepper and cook until wilted.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

4. Sauté the other half of the onion and 2 cloves of garlic, salt, and pepper in 1 Tbsp of oil until softened.  Add the mushrooms and the Italian seasoning and cook until the are browned and half their original size.  Add the pomodoro sauce (rinse out the jar with the 1/4 cup water, and add that, too) and remove from the heat.  Add in the fresh basil.

5. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

6. Place the zucchini slices on two parchment-lined baking sheets, brush with oil, and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 10 minutes.  Remove and set aside. Turn the oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit!

7. Place the eggplant on two baking sheets newly lined with parchment paper.  Brush with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for about 8 minutes.  Remove and set aside.

8. Drain and rinse the cashews.  In a food processor, puree the cashews, water, nutritional yeast, vinegar, salt, and cayenne pepper.  Add the chickpeas and puree again.  Add the reserved spinach mixture and puree again.  If you have a bullet-type blender, do a half at a time in two batches.

9. Now it's time to assemble the lasagne!

a) Spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9" by 13" lasagne dish.

b) Layer with three lasagne sheets, not overlapping.  There will be space between them, but they will expand as they cook.

c) Layer the zucchini widthwise.

d) Add another 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the zucchini.

e) Lay 3 more noodles lengthwise.

f) Spread 1 1/4 cups of the spinach mixture on top of the noodles.  (Reserve the rest of the spinach mixture for the spinach and artichoke dip recipe that follows).

g) Layer 3 more noodles lengthwise.

h) Cover the noodles with overlapping slices of eggplant.

i) Spread the remaining 1/3 of the tomato sauce on top of the eggplant.

j) Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella on top.

10. Bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.  Phew!  Enjoy!

Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip:

Add one drained and rinsed can of artichokes to the food processor with the leftover spinach mix from the lasagne recipe above.  Adjust seasoning, if necessary.  If you want, you can place this in an oven-safe dish, top with shredded mozzarella cheese, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for twenty to thirty minutes for a hot dip.  Serve with tortillas of pita chips.  Yum!

Grilled Veggie Wraps:

If you have leftover grilled zucchini or eggplant, serve it with the remaining spinach mixture or even hummus, in a wrap with mixed lettuce.  Add roasted red peppers and goat cheese for a great sandwich.

Shopping Tips:

1. See here for more information about nutritional yeast.

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