Saturday, October 11, 2008

the easiest vegetarian lasagna ever

I love Mark Bittman as much as the next person, and I actually own the cookbook and use it quite frequently. But over the years I've devised my own semi-vegan, sorta lowfat lasagna method, which now M makes when we have people over for dinner. People luv it. And it's way easier than Mark's.

you need:

lasagna noodles
2 jars pasta sauce or you can make your own (I make pasta sauce all the time, so I often have some kicking around)
2 packages tofu: one soft, one extra-firm*
1/2 cup grated parmesan (grate it yourself! on the small holes. don't buy pre-grated, blech.)
2 eggs
frozen spinach OR sauteed fresh spinach and garlic OR sauteed mushrooms and onions OR slices of baked eggplant
one package veggie ground (the fake ground meat stuff), optional
grated mozzarella or cheddar for the top (again, grate it yourself!)

and here's how you do it:

first) consider your veggies; ie, saute your mushrooms, defrost your spinach, bake your eggplant, etc.

second) mash the whole package of soft tofu and half the package of extra-firm tofu* with the two eggs. Add the parmesan cheese and some salt and pepper.

third) don't cook the pasta! You don't need to. And you don't have to buy special "no-boil" pasta. It just doesn't matter. If there are any exposed edges they might get a tad crunchy. Whatevs.

fourth) construct. Layer as follows in a big glass baking dish:
on the bottom: about 1/3 a jar of pasta sauce, ish
pasta, in one layer
tofu/cheese/egg mixture
spinach/mushrooms/eggplant/whatever veggie you're using
about half the package of veggie ground, no need to cook it first
Keep layering. You'll run out of stuff as you go. No biggie. End with pasta and then another layer of sauce on top. You need lots of sauce in this lasagna, since you didn't cook the pasta first.

fifth) on the top: a whole lot of grated mozz or cheddar. I really like cheddar for this, and as a plus, I always have it in the house. Also add lots of Italian seasoning (or any fresh herbs you may have). Sometimes it's nice to add cherry tomato halves, nestled facing up amongst the cheese.

sixth) bake at 350 for 45 minutes, covered with tinfoil. At this point, take the tinfoil off and bake for another 15 minutes. Let it sit for 15 minutes after you take it out; this helps it stay together.

* About the tofu: this recipe works best with 1 1/2 packages of tofu. Therefore, I always do one soft and one half extra-firm, since I am way more likely to use the leftover extra-firm in a stirfry before it goes bad. By all means use two softs and then you can use the extra half block of soft for something else. Smoothie? Pudding? I have no idea.

Take that, Mr. Bittman!

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