I gave it some thought and decided to go for a gluten free, soy free, and dairy/casein free lasagna. The main challenge was coming up with a delicious substitute for the ricotta cheese mixture that is standard in lasagna (at least here in the U.S.) My usual trick is to blend tofu, with a whole pantry full of seasonings, into a ricotta-like mixture that is actually really yummy. That wouldn’t work this time since I was eliminating soy, so I decided to try to mimic the creaminess of the ricotta with pureed beans.
I know, I know. If you’re not a vegan this probably sounds gross. But give it a try anyway. We all loved this recipe and will definitely be having it again.
Spinach & Mushroom Lasagna
(yield: 8 servings)
(A note of warning – this took a long time to make. Feel free to be nice to yourself and use your favorite bottled sauce, a food processor, and a glass of wine.)
2 28 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
1 c. water
1 Tbsp. Better than Bouillon*
2 tsp. honey
2 Tbsp. basil, minced
splash of balsamic vinegar
1. Add tomatoes, water, and bouillon to a stock pot and bring to a simmer. Allow sauce to simmer until it is time to assemble the lasagna. Add the basil and balsamic vinegar right at the end of the simmering so that the flavors don’t dissipate.
1 lb. mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 1/2 medium onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. radishes, grated
1 tsp. salt
16 oz. bag of frozen chopped spinach
2. While your sauce is simmering, prep the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and radishes. Place the mushrooms in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir frequently until they release their liquids. Then add the onion, garlic, and radish and saute the vegetables and cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring periodically.
3. While the other veggies are cooking, thaw the bag of spinach and squeeze/drain/beat as much water as possible from it. Add the spinach in with the other veggies, stir, and turn the heat down to low.
4. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 can red beans
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
heaping 1/2 tsp of some ingredient that I can not decipher from my notes (hopefully it’s not important)
5. Drain the liquid from the beans, and then dump/pour/throw the beans into your handy-dandy food processor. Pulse about 5 times, and then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
6. Turn the food processor on again, and slowly drizzle 1 to 2 Tbsp. of olive oil into the bowl. Turn the food processor off and test the consistency of the bean puree. If it is not smooth, continue processing as you slowly drizzle water into the bowl. (More oil would make it too rich.) Add water until you get a smooth, spreadable bean puree.
7. Remove the bean puree into a mixing bowl and stir in the nutritional yeast and 1/2 tsp of whatever other mysterious ingredient you would enjoy. (I seriously cannot decipher my notes from that night!)
2 packages of gluten free lasagna noodles
8. There’s nothing to this step. I added dry noodles to the lasagna and it turned out great.
Okay, we’re going for layers here. Specifically three layers each of the creamy bean puree , and spinach and mushroom veggie mixture, and 4 layers of tomato sauce and noodles. You may find it helpful to divide everything into thirds or fourths before you start. I didn’t and I ran out of tomato sauce. (If this should happen to you, I won’t tell anyone if you grab a jar of salsa.)
9. Ladle a thin layer of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Add a layer of noodles (it took 4 for me) on top of the sauce. Dab the bean puree on top of the noodles and spread it out with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula. Top the bean puree with a layer of the veggie mixture. Repeat this process 3 times. Then top with a fourth layer of noodles, topped with a fourth layer of tomato sauce.
10. Cover the lasagna with tin foil and bake for an hour. if you have to, you can remove the foil about 15 minutes before the lasagna is done and top with cheese of your choice. We didn’t and it was still delicious.
*This contains soy. If you’re not vegetarian, substitute 1 c. beef consomme for the water and bouillon. If you are vegetarian, use your favorite gluten free, soy free bouillon and add the amount that you would normally use to make 3 c. of stock.