Lasagna is such winter comfort food.
The kind of dinner you want after a long day, when it’s dark by the time you get home, and things are dreary and cold out.
But with all it’s cheesy, pasta goodness, lasagna is definitely not vegan. And if we’re honest with ourselves, it’s not exactly health food either.
I love lasagna but wanted to find a way to make it healthier, and make it vegan.
To start, I replaced the pasta with thinly sliced eggplant. Eggplant holds up well to lots of tomato sauce and a long session in the oven, so it’s perfect as lasagna noodles. Plus, it’s much lower in carbs, and with many more vitamins than pasta.
My big issue though, was the cheese. What’s lasagna without ricotta?
I’m usually pretty skeptical about vegan ‘cheese’ (sorry guys, that grated vegan cheese you can get at the grocery store is oily and gross and just doesn’t do it for me). But after a lot of online research, I decided to try vegan ricotta. It’s pretty easy to make – whiz your drained tofu in the food processor, then add nutritional yeast (every cheese loving vegan’s best friend), lemon zest and juice, salt, and chili flakes. The texture is definitely the same as ricotta, but how did it taste?
SO good guys. Trust me. Ricotta isn’t even a cheese that tastes that good on its own, but this vegan version is delicious. I even spread it on some toast while I waited for the lasagna to bake! Amazing. And once it’s baked in the lasagna, it’s the exact texture of creamy ricotta. I swear you will fool people with this one.
I made a tomato sauce for this recipe because I like having a fresh sauce bubbling away on the stove, but you can use your favourite pasta sauce if you’re tight on time. Just check the label – so many store bought tomato sauces contain added sugar, and none of us need any more hidden sugar in our diet!
1 large eggplant
1 tsp salt
2 cans whole plum tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp sundried tomatoes, minced
salt and pepper
2-3 tsp chili flakes
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 package tofu, drained
zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chili flakes
First, get your eggplant ready. Thinly slice the eggplant (make it as thin as you can). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lay out the eggplant slices in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt, flip, and sprinkle other side with salt. Let sit 30 minutes (this step is essential, otherwise your eggplant will be bitter!)
Next, start your tomato sauce. Blend tomatoes with their juices (I leave it just a little bit chunky). Heat olive oil in a large skillet that has a lid over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and sundried tomatoes and cook 2-3 more minutes. Pour in tomatoes, season with salt, pepper, and chili flakes, and cover. Let simmer about 30 minutes, add rosemary, and simmer until you’ve prepped all your other ingredients.
To make the tofu ricotta, blend tofu in food processor until it’s nice and creamy. Add remaining ingredients, and blend until combined.
To finish the eggplant, use a paper towel to blot the liquid off each side of the eggplant slices. Turn oven to broil, brush slices with a little olive oil, and broil each side until slightly brown.
To assemble, preheat oven to 350. Line the bottom of a 9×11 inch baking dish with a thin layer of the tomato sauce. Top with a layer of eggplant slices, then about a third of the tofu ricotta. Continue layering sauce, eggplant, and ricotta, topping with a layer of eggplant. Spread tomato sauce over the top layer of eggplant slices.
Bake lasagna until nice and bubbly, 40-50 minutes.
Cold, grey days got you down? Warm up with this hearty, filling, delicious vegan lasagna. Your tummy will thank you.