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
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
For the Lasagna
1 box of gluten-free lasagna noodles
Cooking oil spray
1 ½ cups vegan mozzarella, divided
Fresh parsley and/or basil for garnish
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.
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.