Rich, Tasty, Creamy, Yummy Lasagna
Lasagna is a bit labor-intensive, but in my view, it's a fabulous special occasion or Sunday dinner main course when you have a bit of time and want to wow your loved ones. My vegan version is richly flavored and completely satisfying.
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
Generous pinch dried oregano
1, 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 large cans diced tomatoes, do not drain juices
1 carrot, left whole
2 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed
Cracked black pepper
1 pound uncooked lasagna noodles (eggless)
1 pound extra firm tofu, coarsely crumbled
3 sprigs fresh basil, leaves removed and minced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 package vegan mozzarella, grated
Prepare the tomato sauce. Place a small amount of oil, onion and garlic in a soup pot over medium heat. When the onions begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add tomato paste, 2 cans of water (tomato paste can) and stir until smooth. Add tomatoes, a light seasoning of salt, carrot and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove carrot and bay leaves; season taste with salt and pepper; stir in basil and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes more.
While the sauce cooks, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook lasagna noodles until about 80% done, 8-9 minutes. Drain and rinse noodles and place them back in the pasta cooking pot submerged in cold water. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Crumble tofu in a mixing bowl and mix in basil, oil and sea salt to taste. Mix well with your hands to create a ricotta cheese-like texture.
Assemble lasagna by spooning a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Lay noodles flat on top of the sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover with 1/3 of the tofu mixture, a sprinkling of cheese, sauce to cover and another layer of noodles. Cover with another 1/3 of the tofu mixture, a sprinkling of cheese, sauce to cover and another layer of noodles. Continue this process until all the noodles and tofu are used. Be sure and end with sauce and 'cheese' in the top.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the sauce it bubbling and the edges are browned.
Makes 10-12 servings