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!

Coconut-Curry Chickpeas and Veggies

This recipe is super-easy and versatile! The sauce only has three major ingredients – Veggie broth, coconut milk and curry powder. The key is to find a good-quality curry powder or garam masala blend! These Indian spice blends typically include spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves. You can get sweet (mild) versions or spicy ones that include hot pepper like cayenne. Also, feel free to substitute different veggies if you’d like. This dish is rich and creamy and great served over rice!

HCV_CurriedChickpeasAndVeggies - 11 cup veggie broth
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 med or large potato, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
Small bunch of broccoli, chopped in small florets
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1 cup frozen peas
2 tsp curry powder or garam masala
Other spices – salt, garlic powder, onion powder, parsley
1 Tblsp vegan margarine
1 Tblsp agave nectar or maple syrup (optional)

1 cup riceHCV_CurriedChickpeasAndVeggies - 1 (1)
Fresh cilantro (optional for garnish)

Start cooking veggies in boiling, salted water.
Boil for 8-10 min

Start cooking rice according to directions.

While veggies and rice are cooking, start making sauce.
Add veggie broth and spices to large skillet, and bring to boil.
Gently stir in coconut milk until it is dissolved.
Simmer for a few minutes and adjust seasonings.
HCV_CurriedChickpeasAndVeggies - 1 (2)Add chickpeas and frozen peas.
Drain cooked veggies and add to skillet.
Simmer a few more minutes.
Stir in margarine at end for a little more creaminess.

 

 

Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro if you like!

HCV_CurriedChickpeasAndVeggies - 1 (5)

Yellow Rice with Black Beans and Veggies

Turmeric and cumin (plus other seasonings) give yellow rice so much flavor! When making this dish, saute the diced veggies while the rice is cooking, and then add a can of black beans. You can use any combo of diced veggies that you have on hand. Couldn’t be easier… and it’s full of protein and healthy veggies!

HCV_YellowRice - 1Yellow rice:
1-1/2  cups rice (white, basmati, jasmine)
2 cups veggie broth + 1 cup water
1 Tblsp margarine or olive oil
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Salt, garlic powder, onion powder
Dried parsley
Hot pepper or taco spice (optional)

HCV_YellowRice - 1 (1)1 can black beans, drained
Tomato
Zucchini
Broccoli
Onion
Frozen corn (optional)

 

 

Make yellow rice:
Add broth and HCV_YellowRice - 1 (2)water to a large saucepan
Add margarine or olive oil
Add turmeric and cumin
Add other spices
Bring to a boil
Stir in rice and cover
Lower heat and simmer for approx 17 min

While rice is cooking, dice veggies small
(I like zucchini, tomato, broccoli, onion)
Saute in a little oil until soft
Add black beans and saute another minute
(You can also add some corn at this point)

HCV_YellowRice - 1 (4)Combine rice and veggie/bean mixture
Adjust seasoning if necessary

Great served with avocado slices and lime wedge!

Stuffed Peppers with Rice and Veggies

I remember growing up when my mother would make stuffed peppers, and I would love the way they smelled when baking in the oven! This version has a delicious seasoned rice and veggie filling. You can use any combo of veggies that you like! Chopped mushrooms and fresh herbs would be nice additions too. These are so flavorful and so inexpensive to make!

HCV_StuffedPeppers - 1 (1)5 bell peppers (green, red, yellow or orange)
1 cup rice (white, basmati or jasmine)
1 small can tomato paste
2 cups chopped veggies, diced small (I used zucchini,carrots,celery,onions and broccoli)
Herbs and spices

 

 

HCV_StuffedPeppers - 1 (2)After the veggies are chopped, heat 2 Tbsp oil in a skillet.
Add veggies and cook saute until soft.
Bring 2 cups water (or broth) + 1 Tbsp tomato paste to a boil.
Add rice, cover and cook approx 17 min.

While veggies and rice are cooking, slice top off of peppers and clean out the pulp and seeds. You may also have to slice a little off the bottom so they sit flat.

 

 

HCV_StuffedPeppers - 1 (3)When veggies and rice are cooked, combine both, along with herbs and spices. (salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley… I also like to add a little spicy taco seasoning)
Fill peppers with rice and veggie filling,
Spread some tomato paste on top of each pepper.
Set peppers in a baking pan.

 

 

HCV_StuffedPeppers - 1 (4)Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Pour a little water (1/2 cup-1 cup) in bottom of pan (this will help peppers to steam and cook)
Cover pan with foil and bake 40 min covered, and 10 min uncovered

 

 
HCV_StuffedPeppers - 1 (5)
Stuffed peppers are so delicious and kid-friendly! They also re-heat very well!

Lentil and Veggie Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie is definitely comfort food, and this one is so healthy, with lentils and familiar veggies that kids love! Lentils add protein and fiber to this dish, and you can use any combo of vegetables that you like. Mushrooms provide a nice texture with the lentils, but you can leave them out if you wish, or replace with sauteed, diced onion, zucchini, etc. A can of diced or crushed tomatoes is also a nice addition to the lentil and veggie mixture for the base. The key to making this is in the timing. While the lentils are cooking, saute any other veggies like mushrooms or onions, and also make mashed potatoes!

(Note: Smaller lentils like French lentils or red lentils will cook faster than the larger ones that are light brown in color.)

HCV_VeggieShepherdsPie - 11 cup dry lentils (If possible soak lentils the night before or at least a few hours – they will double in size and also cook much faster)
2 cups veggie broth
1 cup frozen mixed veggies (i.e. corn,carrots,peas,green beans)
1-2 cups mushrooms, chopped small
4 med potatoes, peeled and chopped (for mashed potatoes)
Spices – Salt, onion powder, garlic powder
Herbs – Parsley, sage

HCV_VeggieShepherdsPie - 1 (1)Bring veggies broth plus herbs and spices to boil. Rinse and drain lentils and add to broth. Cook until soft (approx 20-45 depending on type of lentils)
Add extra broth if necessary – should be a little soupy

In the meantime, start making mashed potatoes. Boil water (add salt) and add potatoes.
When potatoes are soft, mash with salt, pepper, 2 Tblsp margarine and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk

 

Saute chopped mushrooms in a little margarine or oil.HCV_VeggieShepherdsPie - 1 (2)

When lentils are soft, add mushrooms and mixed veggies and cook 10 min longer.

 

Put layer of lentil mixture in pie dish (spray with cooking spray first)
Spread layer of mashed potatoes on top
Cook 350 degrees about 40 min and then broil 5 min to brown top

 

Enjoy! This is also great for leftovers and can be easily reheated in the microwave!

HCV_VeggieShepherdsPie - 1 (9)

 

Greek-inspired Bean and Veggie Stew

There are so many elements of Greek food that I love… Kalamata olives, tomatoes, artichokes, spinach and olive oil to name a few! I decided to come up with a stew that incorporates many of these ingredients with a light, flavorful sauce! You can play with the spices and add any combination that you like. In addition to what I used, basil, thyme and marjoram would also be good. I’m looking forward to making this dish again in the summer with fresh herbs from my garden!

 

HCV_GreekStew - 1

1 large potato (or two med size), peeled and diced
Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh spinach
1 can navy (or white) beans, drained
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
Kalamata olives, pitted
Oil for sauteing
Steamed rice

Sauce:
3/4 cup vegetable brothHCV_GreekStew - 1 (1)
1-2 Tblsp lemon juice
1-2 Tblsp white wine
Spices – Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, dill, parsley
Saute potatoes (if you like, can also add peppers, onions, garlic) in skillet in a little olive oil or canola oil. Cook 5-10 min.
Add olives, tomatoes and artichokes. Saute a few more minutes.
Add beans.
Mix sauce ingredients and add sauce to skillet. Add fresh spinach and cover.
Simmer for 5-10 min covered until spinach is wilted.
(You can add a little more broth if needed)

HCV_GreekStew - 1 (2)

Serve over rice and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

HCV_GreekStew - 1 (3)

 

 

 

Tofu Scramble

Soybeans are a great source of protein, and I think they’re best in their truest, least processed forms… to me, this means edamame, tofu or tempeh. You might think that you don’t like tofu… that it’s spongy and flavorless. Even though it might seem boring and bland on its own, this is one of my fool-proof ways to prepare it, and it’s quite easy and delicious! It’s very similar in look and texture to scrambled eggs, but without all the cholesterol! I love to eat this with fried potatoes and/or toast!

1 block firm tofu
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
Spices (salt, garlic powder, onion powder)
Veggies such as leaf spinach, chopped mushrooms, onions, potatoes, tomatoes or fresh herbs – whatever you like!

HCV_TofuScramble - 1

The key is to press out as much moisture from the tofu as you can. You can put weights on top of a plate to press it, but I usually don’t have the time or patience. Instead, I slice up the block of tofu and then take about half the slices at a time and press them together with my hands over the sink or a bowl. Repeat a few times and you can press out much of the moisture.

 

 

HCV_TofuScramble - 1 (5)Once most of the moisture is pressed out, add the tofu slices to a large bowl and crumble with a fork. Add soy sauce, olive oil, turmeric, dry mustard and any other spices. I like to add salt, garlic powder and onion powder.

Now you’re ready to cook it. First, stir-fry your chopped veggies in a skillet in a little oil. I added spinach and mushrooms to this batch. Then add the tofu mixture. Cook for a few minutes, tossing in the pan until everything is heated through. It will turn an even brighter yellow as you cook it!

 

HCV_TofuScramble - 1 (3)

Enjoy for
breakfast or any meal of the day!