Lasagna has always been one of my favorite comfort foods. I remember many family dinners prepared lovingly by my Italian American mama, starring her scrumptious lasagna recipe passed, down from her grandmother. With her fresh noodles, 12 eggs, a whole lot of ricotta and ground beef, Mama Mia, it was good! Over the years, I’ve dropped all those ingredients from my diet. When I went vegetarian, it was still easy to make a tasty veggie version. But now I need to eat gluten-free and with my switch to a 100% plant-based (vegan) diet, the quest for a great lasagna recipe without wheat or cheese became challenging. An Italian- American girl needs her lasagna. So not wanting to feel deprived, I created this gluten-free, vegan version that’s not only comforting, but also healthy and pretty scrumptious too!
1- 10 oz package brown rice lasagna
2 ½ cups organic pasta sauce (I usually used a prepared version in a jar – pick your favorite)
3 cups organic baby spinach
½ cup shredded gluten-free vegan mozzarella
¾ cup cashew ricotta (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bring a large pan of water to boil and add noodles. While they are cooking prepare the cashew ricotta.
Make cashew ricotta by combining the following and blending in the food processor until smooth and creamy.
½ block of extra firm tofu (about 8.5 ounces)
1 cup raw cashews
¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs vegetable bullion or sea salt
1 Tsp liquid amino acids or gluten-free tamari sauce
(This recipe makes 1 ½ cups, enough for two pans of lasagna or use the remainder for veggie dip or sandwich spread.)
Cook noodles to al dente and drain
In a 9 x 12 glass baking dish, spoon and spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom to prevent burning and sticking. Gently placed three drained, cooked noodles across the bottom, laying them side by side to cover the bottom of the pan. If they don’t go all the way across the pan, that’s OK. I leave a little space on both ends and it bakes fine.
Gently spoon the ricotta on top of the noodles. (It doesn’t have to be perfectly spread but should be evenly distributed so each bite has a little, layer over layer. It will spread out more during the baking process.) Spoon on a little sauce and cover the entire lasagna with a layer of fresh baby spinach. Repeat this process in layers until you get to the top layer. Place the noodles on top of the last layer of spinach, top generously with the remaining sauce and sprinkle the entire top with gluten-free, vegan mozzarella.
Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.
9 pieces per pan
Janie Gianotsos, aka Gluten Free Vegan Me, loves to get creative in the kitchen. She makes her living in marketing communications, and spends her free time finding new ways to help others on gluten-free and vegan diets discover delicious things to eat. http://www.glutenfreevegan.me
What’s your favorite comfort food?