Spinach Lasagna – WFPB

IMG_0784I can’t think of many people who don’t like pasta, and on a whole food, plant-based diet you can enjoy lots of pasta!  Whole grain, whole wheat, pastas made from beans, rice and vegetable mixes, there are lots to experiment with.

So, for this recipe, I got my inspiration from a vegan restaurant in Hollywood called Crossroads.  The food was really good, but pricey, dinner for two (without dessert or cocktails) was $100.  That being said, it’s really hard to find good vegan food and this was really good.

One of the dishes my husband and I split was a delicious lasagna.  They used vegan cheese which isn’t the best option for WFPB, and while I used a little of the Daiya brand Mozzarella shreds during my first rendition of this recipe I will leave them out next time as there is a little funk in the flavor of that stuff.   You totally don’t need it.  I recommend you trying the tofu brand I used (pictured below), it’s on the shelf in the Asian foods section at both Ralph’s and Sprouts in my town.  I like it because it is only 12 ounces instead of the normal one pound variety which works better for my husband and me, it has a long shelf life and it is non GMO.   Oh, yeah and it’s like under $1.80 a pack.  Winner! It’s my go-to tofu at the moment, I keep them stocked in the pantry.  I also used a commercial marinara to keep this easier, just look for the most compliant brand you can find – mine was 1 gram of fat and no undesirable ingredients so I’m feeling no shame for that shortcut.

Last tip, you may want to look for a whole grain lasagna noodle instead of whole wheat, I personally like the flavor better.

Spinach Lasagna

(makes a 10 x 13 Pyrex tray aprx 12 servings)

  • 1 Cup Onion, Diced
  • 1 TBSP Minced Garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 12 Oz Extra Firm Tofu, Drained (see pic for recommended product)
  • 2 Cans 14.5 Oz Stewed Tomatoes with Basil and Garlic, Crushed
  • 12 Oz Frozen Spinach
  • 1 Tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • Vegetable Broth (as needed to saute onion)
  • 1 Jar (12 Oz) Marinara Sauce (you may want a second jar if you want to have sauce to spoon over, I found it wasn’t necessary)
  • 1 Box Lasagna Noodles (1 Lb)

While you might consider adding sautéed mushrooms to the mix which would be delicious as well, the above ingredients came right to the top of the tray, so you may not have enough room for extra ingredients unless you use a deeper tray.

In a large skillet, heat about 1/4 cup of vegetable broth and add the onion.  Saute about 5 minutes until onion is soft, then add the garlic and saute one minute more.  Add the two cans of stewed tomatoes, crushing the tomatoes to bite-size pieces in the pan.  Add Italian seasoning and salt.  Turn off heat

Add spinach and stir well, then add the tofu and break it apart with a fork to resemble small pieces of ricotta cheese (about 1/4 inch pieces).  Stir mixture together well and set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add lasagna noodles one-at-a-time, crisscrossing them in the pan to help keep them from sticking.  Cook, according to package directions, about 11 – 13 minutes depending on the brand of noodles.  Drain.

In the Pyrex dish, coat the bottom of the dish with about 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and lay noodles length-ways, slightly overlapping.  You’ll need 4 noodles across and one additional noodle at the end to cover the remaining 2″ gap.  Trim this noodle to fit.

Add about 2 1/2 cups of filling per layer, then another layer of noodles, filling and repeat again until you get to the top layer where you should end up with only 3 noodles across, touching (not overlapped) and the last noodle to fill the end gap.   You’ll be one noodle short if the count is the same as my packet, so that is why you’ll only have three across on the last layer.   To spare yourself drama, take a quick count of your noodles before you cook them – hopefully you’ll have at least 19, that will accommodate the noodle layout above otherwise, adjust your noodles accordingly.

After the last layer, ladle the marinara over the top, cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for one hour.  Tip – bake on a large cookie sheet to avoid getting sauce spills in your oven.  Let set about 15 minutes to let the juices settle before cutting.  Enjoy!

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