Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vegan Spinach Lasagna

Like the title says, it's vegan.  You've been warned...

This post had to wait a day because it took longer than I expected for this thing to come together.  I'm never, ever hungry past 7:30 p.m., and I realized when this went in the oven that it wouldn't be done until almost 8:00.  So, I let it do its thing and ate hummus and tortilla chips again while a computer handed his competitors' asses to them on Jeopardy.

I was a bit skeptical as to how a tweaked version of this recipe would turn out, but I was curious to see exactly what flavor combination would be produced by the ingredients for the tofu ricotta cheese.  Plus I still have a bunch of lasagna noodles left over from the two or three times I've made it over the past year (in a bread loaf pan, which only takes four or five noodles for three layers), I'm not a fan of ricotta cheese, and I was intrigued by the notion that the marinara sauce didn't have to be cooked down for over an hour and the lasagna noodles didn't have to already be cooked as long as the steam was held in.  Suddenly, lasagna seemed to have gotten easier.

Well, the sauce part was easier, and I just used frozen spinach and fresh baby bella mushrooms instead of the more complicated vegetable layer described in the original recipe.  Still, the time got away from me while I was blending the ingredients for the "cheese," thawing packages of frozen spinach, draining them, mixing in a little salt and pepper, then thinly slicing mushrooms and having the time of my life stirring the contents of a brand new can of tahini until I achieved an even consistency.  Think of stirring all the oil back into a deep jar of all-natural peanut butter and multiply that times 5.  No, make that 10.  So, despite having started this thing just after 5:00, it didn't go into the oven until 6:30.  So, tonight was the first opportunity I had to taste the end result while I had any appetite.

The result?...To be honest, I was expecting the "cheese" to be a little funky, but it actually wasn't!  Steve even finished his helping before I finished mine.

I do think that if I use my 9 x 13-inch baking pan again instead of the usual bread loaf pan, I'll make more sauce.  Maybe not the half-gallon used in the original recipe, but more than I did for this lasagna.  I only had two 15-ounce cans of diced tomatoes on hand; one I pureed, the other I left diced because the dice were small.  However, since it took more sauce than usual to cover each layer of veggies, etc., I hardly had any left to cover the top layer of noodles and half expected them to come out uncooked.  Thankfully, the sauce and everything else produced just enough steam (held in by foil) to keep that from happening, but next time I'll at least go up to three 15-ounce cans' worth of tomatoes so that I can have an equal layer of tomato sauce on top to swirl with the cheese mixture.

Off to watch three humans compete in tonight's Jeopardy teen tournament and to enjoy a nice long weekend.  Good night!

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