Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cooking with a Carnivore!: Week 1, Vegan Lasagna!

Welcome to the first installment of the latest segment on the blarg, 'Cooking with a Carnivore!' in which we help out a friend who's given up meat on Fridays for lent figure out what to eat in the form of multiple-course delicious vegan meals! :D

This isn't Garfield's Lasagna (It's better)!!!
Quick disclaimer - our friend is a self proclaimed "carnivore" (in the, every good meal should have at least one steak sense), we don't mean to offend/generalize anyone who consumes meat, I know that carnivore is sometimes used by vegans derogatorily. Ahhhh, maybe I don't mean that either! Too much politics!

We are all one big family here! ~(^_^~)
Either way, we mean it lightly, don't mean to offend anyone, and only say it because our friend says it about himself. And because it's alliterative! Whoohoo! :D

Super high tech in our house!
Anyway, back to the FOOD! For our first Friday meal we made a vegan vegetable lasagna, inspired by the suggestion of fellow vegetable enthusiast and housemate, Julie, with help from another friend, Emily! :D

Look at how it GLOWS!! ~(@_@~)
We whipped up a batch of Alex's delicious Butternut Squash Soup with Greens, which was AWESOME (the kale really adds and amazing texture), stir fried some broccoli, kale, and spinach, and served it all with our first batch ever of homemade whole-wheat sourdough bread! YUM!

A soup to supplement!
It was quite a feast. :)

Vegan Vegetable Lasagna
yields 8 - 10 servings (but we powered through it with five people!) 

the vegetable sauce
2 Tbsp. oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped

2 zucchini, sliced
2 yellow squash, sliced
several small, or one large sweet bell pepper
10 oz baby bella or white mushrooms

1-28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
2-28 oz cans of chopped tomatoes

3 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried parsley flakes

the tofu ricotta
2-14 oz packages firm tofu
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 package (10 oz) lasagna noodles (we had a 16-oz package, but this ended up being wayyy too much noodle)

~1/3 cup of nutritional yeast (for sprinkling!)

vegetable tomato sauce
1. In a large, deep frying pan (or wok), heat up the oil. Toss in your chopped onions and garlic and sauté for a few minutes.
Stir fry ze on-yon liaka dis!
2. Add in the sliced zucchini, squash, bell pepper, and mushroom and give it a good stir. Let it cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a little more oil if it seems like things are sticking!

Mushrooms and peppers, zucchini and garlic! These are a few of my favorite things.
 3. Once the veggies have sautéed a bit, toss in your canned tomatoes (first, take them out of the can...), and mix it all up! Mmmmm.

Wooo! I could just eat that and be happy! ~(@_@~)

4. Add in the herbs (basic, oregano, parsley) and stir well. Let the tomato-veggie mixture simmer for a few minutes, then remove from heat.

CLOSE UP! \(@o@\)
tofu ricotta
1. Drain your tofu, toss 'em in a large bowl, mash up 'em up! We used a potato masher but a fork will do the trick too. It should be nice and crumbly.

Mashed so fast it's blurry! ~(^_^~)
2. Stir in the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic and onion powders, salt, and pepper! Mix it well!

lasagna assembly!
1. Preheat your oven to 350°F! Once your sauce and ricotta are all made, cook your lasagna noodles (according to the instructions!).

Use a bigger pot than we did. Hahaha.
2. Spread a scoop of the tomato-veggie sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 13" pan rectangular baking pan (like for cake, not for cookies!).

3. Carefully scooping your lasagna noodles out of the water, (they're hot! ouch!) arrange the noodles on the bottom of your pan so that they're touching and cover the whole surface. It's alright if they overlap a bit, and you may have to cut some up a bit to make them fit perfectly.

4. On top of the noodles, layer about 1/3 of the ricotta, 1/4 of the sauce, and a hearty sprinkling of nutritional yeast. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you're all out of noodles! On top of the last layer, put the remaining sauce and sprinkle some more nutritional yeast.

5. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. You can cover it with foil if it seems like it's drying out, but we chose not to and it worked fine. :)

I'm pretty sure Garfield would actually love this lasagna!

This lasagna was pretty darned delicious! We didn't use any vegan cheese substitutes (they're often a little on the pricey side), but you could easily add some vegan mozzarella to the layers and the top. We didn't think it needed it though!

Happy Eats! :D
The "carnivore"'s feedback? Delicious! :D

Successful dinner adventure!


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