Veggie Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta

Lasagna is the ultimate comfort food! This veggie lasagna is easy and versatile! You can use any veggies for the veggie layer and the tofu ricotta is very simple to make with only a few ingredients. I used steamed kale in this version, but you can use any other pre-cooked veggies like spinach, mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini peppers, onions, etc. If you prefer to make it gluten-free (like myself!), you can use brown rice pasta lasagna noodles and it will turn out just as well!
Note: This recipe makes an 8″x8″ lasagna, but can be easily doubled  for a 9″x13″ pan.

Ingredients:
1 package lasagna noodles, cooked according to directions
3 cups (or 26 oz. jar) tomato or marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
2 cups pre-cooked veggies
1 batch tofu ricotta (see below)
1 Tblsp nutritional yeast (to sprinkle on top)

Tofu ricotta:
1/2 block tofu, firm or extra-firm, drained
1 T lemon juice (approx 1/2 lemon)
1 T plant-based milk/creamer
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder

To make tofu ricotta:
– First, press as much moisture out of the tofu as you can. I usually slice the tofu in 1/2″ slices and then press them all together over a bowl or sink, using even pressure to get out as much water.
– Combine tofu and other ingredients in a blender, food processor, or you can mash together with a fork. (I use my magic-bullet-style smoothie blender.)

To make lasagna:
– Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
– Spoon a little sauce in bottom of pan.
– Add 1st layer of noodles.
– Spread 1/3 tofu ricotta over noodles.
– Spread 1/3 cooked veggies over ricotta.
– Spread 1/4 tomato sauce over veggies.

– Repeat steps for 2nd layer (noodles-ricotta-veggies-sauce)
– Repeat steps for 3nd layer (noodles-ricotta-veggies-sauce)
– Add top layer of noodles.
– Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

Cover with foil and bake for 40 min. (or until heated through)
– Let sit 5 min. before cutting.

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoy!

Baked Pasta with Tofu-Cashew Ricotta

This non-dairy ricotta is very versatile and so good in many Italian-style dishes! Other than a baked ziti type of dish like this, you can also use it for lasagna, stuffed shells, manicotti or eggplant rollatini. Make sure you press out as much moisture as you can from the tofu (you can use a weight or apply even pressure holding over sink). The texture of the ricotta is perfect with the combination of cashews and tofu! Plus the lemon juice and vinegar make it slightly tangy. (You can also make a day or two ahead of time and refrigerate it. 🙂 )

This dish is similar to a baked ziti… There are four components that you need:
– One package of any type of dry pasta (penne, ziti, spiral, etc)
– 2-3 cups tomato/spaghetti/marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
– 1 cup cooked spinach (or any other veggies you like)
– 1 batch tofu-cashew ricotta

Start to cook pasta while you make tofu-cashew ricotta.

HCV_BakedPasta - 1 (1)Tofu-Cashew Ricotta: (makes approx 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 block tofu, moisture pressed out
1/2 cup cashews, soaked for a few hours (or boiled for about 10 min)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other unsweetened non-dairy milk)
1 Tblsp lemon juice
1 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Garlic powder

 

HCV_BakedPasta - 1Make tofu-cashew ricotta:
Add all tofu-cashew ricotta ingredients to food processor bowl except for tofu.
Blend on high until smooth.
Add tofu and blend a few seconds more.
The consistency should resemble ricotta cheese. If needed, add a bit more almond milk.

In large mixing bowl, mix cooked (drained) pasta, cooked spinach, tofu-cashew ricotta and approx 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce, depending on how saucy you like it.

HCV_BakedPasta - 1 (5)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce in bottom of 9×13 pan.Add pasta mixture and spread evenly.
Spoon 1/2 cup tomato sauce on top.
(Sprinkle nutritional yeast or shredded vegan cheeseon top if desired)
Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes or until heated through and bubbly.

Enjoy!

HCV_BakedPasta - 1 (6)

Vegetable Udon Soup

If you’ve never had fresh udon noodles (Japanese noodles made from wheat flour) before, they are definitely worth seeking out! You can usually find them in the refrigerated section of any Asian market. If you don’t have access to an Asian market, fear not… the dried variety work well too! Or if you would like a gluten free option, rice noodles are excellent in this soup! This version has all vegetables, but I also like to add cubed firm tofu to this soup sometimes for added protein!

HCV_UdonSoup - 13 cups veggie broth
3 cups water
I package udon noodles (fresh or dried)
1 small bunch broccoli, cut in florets
2-3 carrots, sliced
1 pkg sliced cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained
1 can baby corn, drained and chopped bite-size pieces

2 Tblsp soy sauce or tamariHCV_UdonSoup - 1 (1)
Spices – garlic powder, onion powder, powdered ginger
Sliced green onions (optional, for garnish)

 

 

Start sauteing sliced mushrooms in a little margarine or oil.

HCV_UdonSoup - 1 (3)Start cooking noodles according to package directions.

While mushrooms and noodles are cooking, add broth and water to a soup pot. Add soy sauce, garlic powder, powdered ginger and any other spices you like. (You can also saute fresh chopped onion, garlic and ginger in a little oil first)
Bring to boil and add carrots and broccoli
Simmer for 5-7 min
Add water chestnuts, baby corn and mushrooms
Simmer another 5 min
Adjust seasoning if necessary
Lastly, drain noodles and add to soup

You can garnish with sliced green onion if desired!

HCV_UdonSoup - 1 (2)Enjoy! Just a side note… a ceramic soup spoon and chopsticks work great when eating this soup! 🙂

 

Asian-style Veggie and Noodle Stir-Fry

This is another easy variation of veggies and noodles with a similar Asian-style sauce. This is a great recipe for kids since almost all kids love noodles, and I like to add kid-friendly veggies. You can use Maifun rice stick noodles (found in Asian/International aisle) or angel hair pasta, and any combination of veggies will work. Another really good addition to this dish are frozen edamame soybeans. The water chestnuts add some crunch!

1_ - 1 (87)

1 pkg Maifun rick sticks (or angel hair pasta)
Carrots
String beans
Broccoli
1 small can water chestnuts, drained

Sauce:
4 Tblsp soy sauce or tamari
1 Tblsp rice vinegar
1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil or olive oil
(Plus garlic powder & powdered ginger)

 

Chop veggies and boil 5-6 min until al dente, then drain.
Cook Maifun noodles in boiling water approx. 4 min.
Spray large skillet with cooking spray and stir fry veggies for a minute or two.
Add noodles and sauce and simmer a few minutes.
(Note: The Maifun noodles may need to be broken up a bit into smaller pieces)

It’s fun to eat this with chopsticks!