Super Decadent Lasagna with Spinach Tofu Ricotta and Mom’s Marinara Sauce

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. Last winter I posted a recipe for my Gluten-Free Lasagna with Hazelnut Ricotta, Cashew Cheese Sauce and Marinara Sauce. It was a delicious trifecta of vegan, gluten-free and soy-free indulgence.

This week Tom gifted me with a new lasagna pan so I thought I would return the gift by christening the pan and making him a lasagna. But I didn’t feel like making the nutty version so I made this super-rich, decadent lasagna.

It has a creamy cheesy Bechamel sauce, a rich tofu ricotta made even better with spinach and my version of my Mom’s marinara sauce that is beyond simple.

Together this lasagna is incredibly delicious, rich, ooey-gooey, creamy and very satisfying. It’s still gluten-free if you use gluten-free lasagna noodles. And of course, it’s always vegan. Served with a salad and some warm, homemade gluten-free ciabatta bread, it’s the perfect meal for a special night or any night.

Tom said that when I cook dinner for him, it’s like I’m giving him a hug on the inside. My Super-Decadent Lasagna will be a hug for your tummy too! Enjoy!

Super-Decadent Lasagna with Spinach Tofu Ricotta and My Mom’s Marinara Sauce

 

For My Mom’s Marinara Sauce
2 tsp. canola oil
1 large or 2 small shallots, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1-28 oz. can whole or diced tomatoes
1 tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried parsley

 

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sweat them out for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.  Add the crushed tomatoes to the saucepan. Add the whole or diced tomatoes. If you are using whole tomatoes, gently crush them with a potato masher.

Add the salt, pepper, basil, oregano and parsley to the sauce. Stir and let cook. When the sauce starts to bubble, lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Let cook for at least 20 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasonings.

For the Béchamel Cheese Sauce
2 Tbs. oil or vegan butter
2 Tbs. chickpea flour
2 cups non-dairy milk
1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
A pinch of nutmeg

In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk it until you have a paste. Let the flour cook for a minute to get rid of the flour taste. Slowly whisk in the milk, making sure to incorporate all the flour. Let the sauce cook for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the cheese and stir it into the sauce until it melts. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Let cook over low heat until it thickens. Turn the heat off and set aside. When you are ready to use it, make sure to stir it (to remove any skin) and if it is too thick, add more milk or broth. It should be thick enough to coat a spoon.

For the Spinach Tofu Ricotta
1 block of extra-firm tofu, pressed and drained
1 box of frozen spinach, thawed, pressed and drained
¼ cup vegan cream cheese
¼ cup vegan grated parmesan or nutritional yeast
2 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. Kosher salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped

 

In a large bowl, crumble the tofu into pieces. Add the spinach and the cream cheese to the tofu and mix it up. Add the grated parmesan (or nutritional yeast), the herbs and the spices. Mix it well. Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary and set aside.

 

For the Lasagna
1 box of gluten-free lasagna noodles
Kosher salt
Cooking oil spray
1 ½ cups vegan mozzarella, divided
Fresh parsley and/or basil for garnish

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add a handful of salt to the boiling water and add the lasagna noodles slowly. Be careful not to break them. Cook them according to the package directions. When they are done, drain them in a colander and rinse with cold water to keep them from sticking. Set aside. When you are ready to use them, you may need to rinse them again with cold water if they are sticking.

Spray the bottom and sides of a lasagna pan with the cooking spray. Add a few spoons of marinara sauce to the pan. This layer will keep the noodles from sticking. Add a layer of lasagna noodles to the pan.

Add ½ the Béchamel cheese sauce to the noodles. Add ½ your ricotta mixture and spread it evenly over the noodles and sauce. Add 1/3 of the mozzarella atop the ricotta. Cover with a second layer of noodles. Add the remaining half of the béchamel sauce, the remaining half of the ricotta and another 1/3 of the mozzarella. Top with a final layer of noodles.

Add a few ladles of marinara to the top of the noodles. Top with the remaining mozzarella.  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the cheese melts and the sauce is bubbling. Uncover the pan and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let the lasagna rest for 10-15 minutes. This will help it set up and make it easier to cut. In fact, it is best if made the day before. Garnish with fresh basil and/or parsley. Serve with additional grated parmesan and marinara sauce.

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9 Responses to Super Decadent Lasagna with Spinach Tofu Ricotta and Mom’s Marinara Sauce

  1. Paige February 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

    I have been drooling over this recipe for months and finally made it this week. I was worried about the no boil Gluten free lasagna noodles after reading some of the other comments, but they were the only kind I could find at either of the groceries close to us. So, after reading [other’s experiences] that they didn’t taste great, I decided to boil them anyway. I followed your recipe exactly apart from that, and was THRILLED with the result. This dish is delicious and filling and exactly what was needed on a rainy Seattle night. Both my omni husband and I have been gobbling it up, and, just as you said, it is even better the next day. I am so pleased to have a Vegan, Gluten free version of Lasagna. Thank you so much Rhea for sharing your mom’s Marinara sauce and this Excellent recipe-it is part of my permanent rotation now! Happy happy Joy Joy!!!

    • Rhea February 24, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      Hi Paige, I’m so glad this worked for you. I don’t like boil-free lasagna noodles because it feels like they never really cook but you can boil them, huh? That’s good to know. I’m so glad you and the hubby loved it! Thank you for letting me know. xoxo

  2. Angela Adams July 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm #

    I made this tonight for dinner. I added Beyond Meat chicken to the sauce to make it more of a meat sauce (tempeh would have been even better). And I skipped the cheese sauce and just used a small amount of vegan shredded mozzarella. It turned out really good. LOVE the marinara!

  3. Chris November 20, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    Hey Rhea, I made this on vacation for my family. My Dad and sister loved it! Mom, not surprisingly, wouldn’t try it but I did get her to try a tofurkey pizza!

  4. stuartambient November 14, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    Rhea, Thank you for the reply. I was happy to find that the Tinkyada Lasagna noodles I have do require boiling prior. Now I know not to buy no-boils again. My experience was the same as yours, the no boils never completely cook.

  5. Rhea Parsons November 13, 2012 at 3:22 am #

    Thanks Kyleigh!

    Stuart – It’s best to let a lasagna sit for a good 15 to 20 minutes after taking it out of the oven so it can set. It works even better to make it way in advance.

    I don’t like no-boil noodles. It seems like they never completely cook to me. Thanks for the compliment about the ricotta!!

  6. stuartambient November 12, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    So do the noodles hold together well after cooking then baking?. I have some Tinkyada but not sure what the package says right now.. I know in the past I’ve used GF lasagna noodles that said no pre-cooking required but when the baking was over they still lacked completeness. I will say your ricotta is the best having won over two anti-tofu people here at home with the ziti recipe.

  7. Kyleigh November 9, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Wow, this looks really, really good. I love a good lasagna and sometimes you want one that is really super oozy and gooey. This seems to fit the bill! =D

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