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 doubledĀ  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!

Fresh Pesto

Pesto is one of those things that I always forget that I love! Its flavor is intense and a little goes a long way. It can be simply tossed with pasta or added to other dishes as an accompaniment. Sometimes I’ll serve it alongside a simple red sauce, or if I’m feeling really ambitious, I’ll add it to a baked pasta or lasagna dish. You may not always have basil and pine nuts on hand, but luckily you can get them at most grocery stores. If you want to substitute for the pine nuts, cashews or walnuts will work well too. If you want to add a little cheesi-ness, you can also add a little nutritional yeast. Pesto is also great on grilled veggies, pizza or baked tofu!
(This recipe makes about 1 cup of pesto. You can also freeze it!)

HCV_Pesto - 1 (3)
Ingredients:
2 cups basil leaves, washed and rough chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 Tblsp lemon juice
2-3 cloves garlic
3 Tblsp olive oil
Salt

 

 

Before getting started making the pesto, lightly toast the pine nuts. Heat a dry skillet, add pine nuts and toast for a few minutes. Move pine nuts around occasionally to toast all sides. This step really makes a difference. It brings out a nice toasted, nutty flavor and some of the oils in the pine nuts!

HCV_Pesto - 1 (1)

Now you’re ready to add the ingredients to the food processor (or blender). Add basil, pine nuts, lemon juice. garlic cloves and salt, and blend/puree. Next, slowly add oil until mixture is well-blended and becomes creamy. Taste and adjust salt if necessary and blend a few seconds more!

 

Toss with hot pasta and serve!
Sprinkle with fresh herbs or nutritional yeast if desired!

HCV_Pesto - 1 (5)

Penne with Vodka-Tomato-Cream Sauce

Vodka tomato cream sauce always sounds so good, but it’s traditionally very decadent and made with butter, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. I’m happy to report that it doesn’t have to be this way. This version is super-creamy and flavorful and best of all it’s dairy-free! Instead, it includes “cashew cream”. Cashew cream is a magical thing… it can be added to soups, sauces and casseroles to give a rich, creamy flavor!

HCV_PenneVodkaSauce - 11 can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup veggie broth
1/4 cup vodka
1 cup cashew cream (see below)
Salt, garlic powder, onion powder
Basil, oregano, parsley
1/2 box penne pasta

Cashew cream: (makes 2 cups)
1 cup unsalted cashews, soaked for a few hours
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tblsp lemon juice
1 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Garlic powder
HCV_PenneVodkaSauce - 1 (1)
To make the cashew cream, drain cashews. Add to food processor with other ingredients and blend until smooth. (This will make approx. 2 cups, so you can use the other half for another recipe)
Start cooking penne pasta.

In a large skillet, add crushed tomatoes and veggie broth (or you can first saute fresh garlic and onion if you prefer)
Add herbs and spices.
Bring to a simmer and add vodka (alcohol will cook off).
Simmer for a few minutes.
Lastly, stir in 1 cup of the cashew cream.
Add cooked penne to skillet and toss with sauce.

HCV_PenneVodkaSauce - 1 (2)This pasta is rich and creamy, and very satisfying! You can also sprinkle with fresh parsley or red pepper flakes.
Serve with a green vegetable or green salad!