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!

Zucchini Veggie Lasagna

This is a great way to use up all that delicious zucchini when it’s in season! I love the idea of using roasted zucchini slices in place of the lasagna noodles! While the zucchini is roasting in the oven, you can whip up the tofu-cashew ricotta. As is true with most plant-based recipes, this one is flexible too. You can add other veggies like spinach or mushrooms, or even add layers of lasagna noodles if you love pasta!

Ingredients:
– 2 medium zucchini, sliced longways in 1/4″ slices
– 2 cups of your favorite tomato/spaghetti/marinara sauce
– 1 batch tofu-cashew ricotta (recipe below)
– Nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan for top (optional)

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
1/4 tsp garlic powderHCV_ZucchiniLasagna - 1 (4)

Step 1 – Roast zucchini
Place zucchini in single layer on cookie sheets
Salt zucchini slices and brush lightly with olive oil on both sides
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 min
Flip slices and bake other sides for 10 min

 

HCV_BakedPasta - 1 (1)Step 2 – Make tofu-cashew ricotta while zucchini is roasting
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.

 

HCV_ZucchiniLasagna - 1 (5)Step 3 – Assemble layers in baking pan (8″x8″ or 9″x9″)
Spoon a little sauce in bottom of baking pan
Arrange 1/3 of zucchini slices in pan
Spoon approx 1/2 of ricotta on top of zucchini
Spread some sauce on top of ricotta
Arrange 1/3 of zucchini slices
Repeat ricotta and sauce
Arrange rest of zucchini slices
Top with sauce and any leftover ricotta
Sprinkle with nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan if desired

HCV_ZucchiniLasagna - 1 (3)

 

Bake at 350 degrees until heated through – 25-45 min (depending on temperature of ingredients to start with)
Let stand for 5-10 minutes before cutting

 

Enjoy!

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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)

Brown Rice Pasta with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes

There’s something about pasta with tomato sauce and asparagus that just goes together beautifully! If you haven’t tried brown rice pasta yet, consider trying it as an alternative to traditional pasta. It’s gluten-free and has a wonderful flavor and texture! Another ingredient that’s very versatile in plant-based meals is nutritional yeast. Its name may sound strange, but you can use it like Parmesan cheese and it’s especially great on Italian dishes! (It’s also high in B vitamins.) This pasta dish is super-simple, but very satisfying. While the veggies are roasting, cook your pasta and heat up your sauce, and you’re done! (Also, my local supermarket carries brown rice pasta and nutritional yeast, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find.)

 

Brown rice pasta (I likeHCV_BrownRicePastaWithAsparagus - 1 (1)HCV_BrownRicePastaWithAsparagus - 1Tinkyada brand)
Tomato or marinara sauce
Asparagus
Fresh tomatoes
Olives oil
Herbs and spices
Nutritional yeast (optional – I like Red Star brand)

 

Trim tough ends off asparagus and chop into pieces.
De-seed and chop fresh tomatoes.HCV_BrownRicePastaWithAsparagus - 1 (2)
Toss asparagus and tomatoes in olive oil.
Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and parsley flakes.
Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, tossing occasionally.

 

 

HCV_BrownRicePastaWithAsparagus - 1 (3)Cook pasta (if using brown rice pasta, rinse after cooking).
Heat tomato or marinara sauce.

 

 

Top pasta with marinara, and then roasted asparagus and tomatoes.
HCV_BrownRicePastaWithAsparagus - 1 (4)

Sprinkle with nutritional yeast to for some added flavor.

Enjoy!