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Enlightened Ooh-La-La Lasagna
adapted from Chloe's Kitchen
Makes one 9" X 13" pan of lasagna
6 to 8 generous servings
Garden Ricotta ingredients
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 14-ounce container of NaSoyA brand Lite Firm Tofu (not Mori-Nu)
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt (more or less to taste)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon of white miso paste
- 3 cups of fresh basil (Must use fresh basil--never dried! OK-not so easy & inexpensive to buy basil in the winter. We found mini-fresh-growing bags of basil for $2.99.)
- 8 to 10-ounces of crimini (or white) mushrooms, sliced
- 1 32-ounce of no-oil marinara sauce (add 1/4+ teaspoon of red pepper flakes if you like your marinara spicy, like we do. Walnut Acres Tomato-Basil Low-Sodium No-Oil is a good choice, but, it needs some extra spice, IMHO.
- 1/4 cup of non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar or maple syrup
- Pepper &/or salt to taste (salt optional)
- 5 ounces of baby spinach
- 9 ounce box of no-boil lasagna noodles
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Options: Lightly spraying a 9' X 13" pan with high-heat canola spray; or line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper; use a silicone pan or simply go "bare naked pan". Suit yourself. I mostly go "bare naked pan". Never a problem.
Preparation of the Garden Ricotta
1. Preheat a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the chopped onion, lower the heat, cover the pan & saute for 5-7 minutes until the onion is soft. Every couple of minutes, lift the lid, stir the onions, adding a small amount of water if the onions start to dry out--and to deglaze the pan. Remove from the heat when done.
2. In a food processor, combine onions, garlic, drained (not pressed) tofu, lemon juice, salt, pepper, & miso paste. Pulse until the mixture is almost smooth, but still has some texture. Now, add the basil and pulse a few more times to mix the basil into the "ricotta". Taste--and adjust seasonings, accordingly.
Preparation of the marinara sauce
1. Preheat the large frying pan again over medium high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms, lower the heat, cover the pan & saute for 5-7 minutes until the mushrooms are soft. Every couple of minutes, lift the lid, stir the mushrooms, adding a small amount of water if the mushrooms start to dry out--and to deglaze the pan.
When the mushrooms are done, add the jarred marinara sauce, the optional hot-pepper flakes-to-taste (if you are using them), the non-dairy milk and the brown sugar or maple syrup. The milk & sweetener moderate the acidity of the tomatoes. Add black pepper or salt to taste.
Assembling the lasagna--follow this exactly even if it sounds a little odd--and not equal divided.
1. Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of your pan.
2. Arrange 4 lasagna noodles across the pan. Spread half of the Garden Ricotta over the noodles. Layer half of the spinach over the Garden Ricotta.
3. Arrange 4 more noodles on top of the spinach layer. Spread another layer of sauce over the noodles, and then arrange 4 more noodles on top--and then top the noodles with another layer of sauce. Yep, that's the weird part. Noodles, sauce, noodles, sauce. Don't ask! I just did what Chloe said to do & worked just fine.
4. Finally, spread the remaining Garden Ricotta on top of the sauce layer. Top the Ricotta with the remainig raw spinach. Now finish with final layer of 4 noodles--and top the noodles with the remaining sauce. I ended up with 1 left-over unused noodle. Aesthetically rearrange the mushrooms in the top layer of sauce to make the top layer look pretty.
Note: I know the layering sounds odd--but, it all works out just fine. The lasagna may seem extra saucy, but, it helps to cook the "no-boil" noodles.
5. Cover the lasagna pan with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes or until the noodles are cooked and the sauce is hot & bubbly. Remove from the oven & let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.