This is a fun way to serve lasagna: Instead of the traditional layering, you top the individual noodles with a vegan ricotta cheese and vegetable mixture and roll it up. The tofu ricotta cheese is a blend of tofu, miso, and tahini, which creates a creamy consistency that easily spreads. The tomato sauce takes no more than 10 minutes to make; if there is any left over, use it the next day over rice or noodles. Serves 6 (makes 12 rolls)
2½ tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch pieces
2 zucchini, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 head broccoli, stems removed and florets finely chopped
2 cups Tofu Ricotta Cheese (recipe follows)
12 eggless lasagna noodles
3 cups Everyday Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper. Sauté until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, zucchini, and broccoli and sauté until the carrots are crisp-tender, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely. Mix the vegetable mixture into the tofu ricotta cheese.
Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the noodles, then toss them with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
Coat a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish with the remaining 1½ teaspoons oil. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish. Using a spatula, spread about ½ cup of the vegetable mixture over each lasagna sheet, leaving about ½ inch of each end uncovered. Roll up each sheet tightly and place it seam-side-down in the baking dish. Pour the remaining 2 cups tomato sauce over the lasagna rolls.
Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake until the sauce bubbles, about 55 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking for 15 minutes.
Tofu Ricotta Cheese
When blended, the tofu gives this vegan cheese a creamy consistency that resembles ricotta. This recipe is borrowed from my first book, The Real Food Daily Cookbook—when you have a good recipe, why change it? Makes about 3 cups
(14-ounce) container waterpacked firm tofu, drained and cut into quarters
²⁄3 cup yellow miso
²⁄3 cup water
½ cup tahini
¼ cup olive oil
5 large garlic cloves
1½ teaspoons dried basil
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
¾ teaspoon sea salt
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. The cheese will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated.
Everyday Tomato Sauce
This is a perfect, simple tomato sauce. The key is to use canned crushed tomatoes, easily found in a grocery or natural foods store. Eden and Glen Muir are my favorite brands because they are organic.
Makes about 4 cups
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 shallots, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and salt and sauté until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and the 1 cup water. Bring to a gentle simmer, then decrease the heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, to allow the flavors to blend. Stir in the basil and oregano. Remove from the heat.