Vegan and Gluten-Free Lasagna

Decadent melt-in-your-mouth lasagna, pretending it was eaten with green accompaniments. Lies!

Catchy name, hey? Fret not, this lasagna is so saucy cheesy good that it has little use for clever titles and is also omni-approved. It’s only downside is that it is a wee bit tedious. But then, isn’t that always the case with lasagna?  While delicious, it’s not really a weeknight food.

So, obviously I made this on the weekend and it wasn’t really that much work. I just prefer to make lasagna when company is coming over because it feeds a crowd and also pleases said crowd. I’m sorry, folks, it’s been a long day and I have a cold and am not feeling especially clever and this recipe is going to be a doozy to write!

I hope I’m not turning you off making this now! Don’t listen to me! I’m cranky. What I was trying to say was that it’s not a big deal. People are coming over, so you’re cleaning your house, right? Trying to make it look like your bathroom always sparkles! Well, while you’re doing that, have your sauces simmering. Once they’re done, you really just have to assemble your lasagna and bake it. Do your dishes, and it looks like a lasagna just magically appeared out of your squeaky clean oven. I love that! There’s something so 50s housewifish about pulling a casserole or something out of a pristine kitchen.

Another good thing about lasagna, and this recipe in particular, is that not only allows your guests to feast, but also feeds you for a week, because this recipe makes one big lasagna, and then also a secret second mini one. I had some of my secret one for lunch today, and it really does get better with age. So freaking good. Sadly, it’s gone now, but yours doesn’t have to be! Invite people over so you have an excuse to indulge, or just treat yourself because you deserve it! Yes, you.

The main lasagna, all dressed up and ready to go! Into the oven.

This recipe is made without wheat or dairy, but honestly, you can’t tell. The cheese sauce recipe is pretty much Karina‘s, although I didn’t consult it this time because I have made it so often that I just wing it now.

A note on the vegetable layer: this recipe made enough for the larger lasagna, but not the secret mini one, which is the one I photographed. Honestly, it was really good without the veggies, because it was more comfort food-y. I like to throw the veggies in for a little extra nutritional value, but they are optional.

As for the noodles, I used rice lasagna noodles, which aren’t specifically oven ready, but you can treat them like they are! No boiling necessary, for real! They turn out beautifully every time.

The following sauce recipes are really handy, as they are ones I make all the time as my go-to tomato and cheese sauces, respectively.

Tomato Sauce Ingredients:

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 white onions, diced

1 tsp. dried basil (or fresh basil, if you have– use more!)

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup red wine

2 tbsp. capers, chopped (optional)

2 24-0z bottles Italian strained tomato sauce aka passata di pomodoro (mine had basil leaf in it)

2 small or 1 large can Hunt’s plain tomato sauce

salt and pepper to taste

Tomato Sauce Directions:

Heat oil in a soup pot on medium to medium-low heat. Add onion and sprinkle with a little salt. Sauté for 15-20 minutes until soft, stirring as needed and adjusting the heat so the onions don’t burn at all.

Add basil, rubbing it between your hands. I think this releases the flavour, but I might be making that up. I kind of just don’t like the texture of dried herbs, so I like to soften them up.

Add garlic and let cook 1 minute until fragrant.

Turn heat to max, and add wine. Stir until wine has reduced and the alcohol has evaporated. Turn heat back down to medium and add capers and all of the tomato sauces.

Cover, reduce heat a little and simmer for half an hour.

Taste, and add salt and pepper if needed.

Cheese Sauce Ingredients:

4 tbsp olive oil

4 heaping tablespoons rice flour

2 cups plain non-dairy milk

3 cups water

1 tsp. onion powder

1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tbsp tahini

1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp. cayenne (optional- this’ll give it a kick, which you may not want for mac ‘n’ cheese, but it’s good in lasagna)

1/2 cup Daiya (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Cheese Sauce Directions:

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat.

Whisk in flour and let cook for around 2 minutes.

Slowly whisk in milk and water, letting the sauce thicken in between additions.

Once sauce is almost as thick as you’d want it to be, whisk in all other ingredients.

Let the sauce cook until desired thickness. Taste for salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I added a little more of all these things!

Vegetable Mixture Ingredients (Optional and Flexible):

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 white onion

crown of broccoli

3 cloves garlic

1/2 bunch kale

2 handfuls fresh spinach

small box of mushrooms

Vegetable Mixture Directions:

Dice all ingredients into small pieces. The idea here is to sort of mimic your standard spinach layer, not create a vegetable lasagna.

Heat olive oil in a large frying pan or, even better, a wok, on medium-high heat.

Sauté vegetables until soft, around 20 minutes or so.

Lasagna Ingredients:

The above 3 components

2 boxes of rice lasagna noodles (or 1 if you don’t want an extra mini one)

1 small tub of vegan cream cheese (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, assemble your lasagnas! My large pan is 9″ x 13″ and my small one is 8″ x 8″, by the way.

Spread a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan, followed by noodles, then tomato sauce, then cheese sauce, then noodles, then all of the vegetables and continue on like that until you run  out of space, leaving about an inch of room on top. I like to finish with cheese sauce. Don’t be stingy with sauce! The noodles need it to cook properly and they soak up a fair amount. I also like a saucy lasagna. Also, don’t overlap the noodles. You’ll need to break them to fit, possibly, as I did. Save little weird noodle pieces for your secret lasagna! It’s pretty much made of them!

Distribute little dollops of cream cheese evenly on top, cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and bake another 15 minutes, or until noodles are easily pierced with a fork.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Note: I don’t bake 2 lasagnas at once, because I tried it once and the noodles turned out really gross. You can assemble the 2 lasagnas at the same time, but bake them one at a time. The little one likes to bake while everyone’s eating because then everyone is distracted and won’t realize that you’re holding out on them!

Whew! I need some lasagna after all that. How about you?

Cheesy, saucy goodness, just like a real lasagna!

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2 Comments

Filed under Dinner

2 responses to “Vegan and Gluten-Free Lasagna

  1. Stunning tower of pasta! Lasagna is always so impressive, but a bit of a hassle to make. It does tend to be worth the extra effort in the end though… I just have to remind myself that when looking at lengthy recipes. Yours sounds very promising for a meal in the near future. ;)

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