Monday, 13 January 2014

Epic Lasagna - Whole Grain, Vegan and Delicious!

So that sauce that I made for my last post? It was pretty much made with this lasagna in mind. I have had lasagna on the brain for weeks for some reason. Of course I didn't wanna settle for a simple sauce-and-cheese lasagna with store bought sauce and Daiya - although I'm sure it'd be terrific. But I love the satisfaction of creating a meal from scratch. I control which flavours are in it, the salt content, and of course no preservatives to boot.

I wasn't about to make the noodles though, so I bought kamut lasagna noodles. I saw some brown rice noodles (which would have made a gluten free lasagna), but opted for the kamut for the protein content, and the fact that it wasn't pre-cooked (I don't know why but pre-cooked stuff seems a bit sketchy to me...don't ask me why I think so!). I used these, by Artisan Acres:

As I said, I posted the recipe for the sauce in my last post. I made a ricotta style cheese out of tofu, and I really liked it both on it's own and in the lasagna. I had leftover toasted nuts that I combined with nutritional yeast to use as a parmesan to sprinkle on top. 

I also included plenty of roasted vegetables to balance out all those heavy ingredients. Can't ever have a recipe without some vegetables!

Of course lasagna has a gazillion variations. Feel free to use whatever cheese, sauce, noodles, or other filling ingredients you wish. You can also use the ricotta in other things like pasta or on pizza. Like I said, it's quite lovely on it's own!

The Best Ever Vegan Lasagna


-1 box lasagna noodles of choice, cooked according to package directions

For the tofu ricotta:
-1 block organic tofu, medium firm to firm
-3-4 tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
-1 tbsp lemon juice
-1 tbsp tahini
-1 tsp oregano
-1/2 tsp sea salt

For the sauce:
Use recipe here

For the veggies:
Use enough chopped vegetables, roughly the same size, to fill a large, lightly greased baking sheet. I used broccoli, bell peppers, red onions and zucchini. 

For the parmesan topping (optional):
-1/4 cup finely chopped toasted nuts (you can use a food processor and pulse)
-1/4 cup nutritional yeast


*Note: I roasted my veggies the night before at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, until they looked "roasted enough", for lack of a better word. You can do this too to save time! Just toss with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. No need to add oil, except to lightly oil your baking sheet.

1. Preheat oven to 375. If you haven't roasted your veggies yet, you can turn the heat up higher. Roast them for about 20-30 minutes, checking that they don't burn. 

2. Meanwhile, fill a large pot with water and a pinch of sea salt or a kombu leaf, and cook the noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water gently. Set aside.

3. Take your block of tofu and crumble with your hands into a bowl until it resembles ricotta cheese. Take half of it, along with the other cheese ingredients, and process in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth. Return to bowl and toss with other half. This gives it some texture. If you don't have a processor or blender, I'm sure you can just keep the whole thing chunky and combine the ingredients in your bowl manually.

4. If your oven was turned up higher, bring the heat down to 375. In a lightly greased lasagna pan, layer cooked noodles, a generous dollop of sauce, ricotta, and vegetables, followed by another layer of noodles. Repeat until you have three layers of noodles, but don't put veggies on the top layer. So it's gonna be like this from the bottom: noodles, sauce, cheese, veggies. Noodles, sauce, cheese, veggies. Noodles, sauce, cheese. Now you can mix your parm ingredients, then sprinkle it on top if you're using it.

5. Cover your lasagna with aluminum foil, and pop it in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 5-10 minutes. Gently remove from the oven, let it cool for a bit, slice, and devour!

You're welcome. :) I added more fresh basil on top of mine!

What a housewife... excuse my messy hair. It's part of the look...


Wednesday, 8 January 2014

High Protein & Oil Free Tomato Sauce

Happy 2014 to all!!! This is an exciting time to start fresh and reevaluate our priorities, as we head into another year of our lives. Of course we have all made some resolutions, big or small, realistic and maybe not so realistic.

My personal resolutions have actually been the opposite of a lot of people's. I am NOT going to weigh myself or count calories any longer. I want to get to a point where I can just listen to my body. I eat whole and plant based foods, a lot of raw veggies (including a shit ton of leafy greens), so whatever size my body decides to be is gonna have to be okay. I am trying to lose some weight that I've gained, and truth be told it has been a huge mental battle, but with this strategy I think I'll win it. My "strategy" is to continue living a fit and active life, eat plenty of whole foods and drink tons of water. I do want to moderate desserts and definitely drinking alcohol. I know it sounds like a mixed message - to sum it up, I don't wanna care about my weight obsessively, but I'm hoping some comes off in this process. I'll keep you posted.

ANYWAY, to the recipe. I plan on making a lovely roasted vegetable lasagna from scratch this week, and I knew I had to bulk it up with some protein. I decided to add some fibre and protein by adding red lentils into my homemade sauce. The result was incredible. I licked my spoon with delight!

High Protein and Oil Free Tomato Sauce


-3/4 dry red lentils, rinsed
-1 796ml can crushed tomatoes (go for organic!)
-1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
-1 tbsp raw honey or agave
-1 tsp each parsley, rosemary and oregano
-1/2 tsp each thyme and paprika
-Handful of fresh basil leaves
-2-3 cloves roasted garlic*

*For an awesome tutorial on how to roast garlic, click here

1. In a medium pot, bring lentils and 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer on medium heat. Keep simmering uncovered for about 15-20 minutes, or until lentils are cooked. They will get mushy, and this is the idea!

2. While the lentils cook, soak the sun dried tomatoes in some water. 

3. When the lentils are done. transfer them to a blender and allow to cool for a couple minutes. 

4. Drain your sun dried tomatoes of water, and add them to the blender. Add in all the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. 

Enjoy over pasta, on a pizza, or off the spoon!

This will make a very thick sauce. When you wanna thin it out, just add a little water! 

Also note I did not add salt. I realized I (unintentionally) bought a can of tomatoes with salt added. If yours are salt free, you can add a little salt to taste.

Happy eating! I'll be making a delish kamut lasagna with this sauce, along with tofu ricotta and lots of roasted veggies. Stay tuned.