Vegan Freezer Lasagna

>> Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Of all the vegetarian freezer meals I made this month, the vegan lasagna was by far my favorite recipe. Actually, I didn't follow a recipe while making it, which might be a reason it turned out so well. It was spur-of-the-moment + tossing-stuff-in-a-dish. I was cooking a bazillion 4 other things and just decided I'd use whatever we had in our CSA basket for the week, which is how the ratatouille sauce came about.

It sounds fancy, right? It's not.

Cooking from scratch doesn't need to be fussy or intimidating or time-intensive. It seems that way, but it's not the case at all. Home cooked food doesn't even need to look particularly nice on the plate in my opinion. So long as a dish satisfies and tastes good, it's mission accomplished. Bellies full. Hearts warmed.

This recipe makes 8 sizable portions that are as great for lunch as they are for dinner. 

What you'll need . . .

For the "ricotta" mixture:
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, drained well
  • 1/2 to 1 cup fresh or frozen spinach
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
//  Drain the tofu as well as you can. I actually just used my hands and squeezed over the sink. Then in a small bowl, I combined all the ingredients with my hands and set aside.

For the "ratatouille" sauce:
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 large zucchini or other squash
  • 1 large onion
  • Several cloves garlic
  • salt, pepper, olive oil
  • Homemade tomato sauce
//  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Chop eggplant, zucchini, onion, and garlic and -- on a rimmed baking sheet -- toss in some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake in 10 minute intervals until lightly browned. About 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly.

//  Then combine with 1-1/2 to 2 cups tomato sauce (depending on how much veggie mixture you have) in a blender or food processor by pulsing. I left mine quite chunky.

  • 12 sheets no boil lasagna noodles
  • (I used Wegmans, fancy cut, no. 15)
//  Lower oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Get out a 9" by 13" baking dish. Layer starting with 1-1/2 cups sauce covered by 4 sheets of noodles then 1/3 of the tofu mixture. Repeat. Repeat again. Top with remaining tomato sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and let bake for 40 minutes.

If you plan to eat right away, remove foil and let bake another 15 minutes and stand 10 before serving.

If you're freezing, just stick to 40 minutes.

Note: If you aren't vegan, feel free to substitute ricotta cheese in for the tofu, about 2 cups. You can sprinkle the top with bread crumbs or parmesan cheese or whatever else you'd normally like on your lasagna, too.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

To freeze, let the cooked dish cool overnight in your refrigerator. Then cut into individual portions and wrap in plastic wrap. I put all my wrapped individual portions in yet another airtight container as an extra measure to ward off freezer burn. Worked very well.

When you want to cook it again, let defrost overnight in your refrigerator (or in an afternoon on your kitchen counter) and bake at 350 until the center is warmed through.

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