“No noodles and no meat! It’s super healthy and packed with lots of veggies and quinoa for an extra boost of protein.” That was my selling pitch to the family. At first it didn’t work, until the smell drifted from the oven and down the halls. Well, it smells like lasagna was their reply. I managed to get a husband and a son or two to give it a try. The hubby even had seconds. There wasn’t even a complaint regarding the eggplant-noodles (eggplants are not popular in the family). I have found them to be easily disguised by covering them in pasta sauce.
To get started, gather the “noodles”:
Then, you’ll need to make up a batch of tofu-ricotta. I keep this one a secret from the other people who live in my house because tofu doesn’t sound like it goes in lasagna, and my family would turn up there noses with this one for sure. The real ricotta can be used, but I’m trying to keep the animal protein to a minimum so I use tofu. I’m already splurging on the real mozzarella cheese with this recipe. Vegans, you may want to substitute the mozzarella for a plant based, non-dairy cheese.
Next, the veggies need to be chopped. An assortment of peppers, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms. It would be lovely to include an assortment of different types of mushrooms to get the maximum health benefit, but I usually have baby Bella so that’s what I included in my recipe.
Noodle-less Vegetable Lasagna
Author: Dana Garner
The idea for this recipe idea came from two sources: Dr. Joel Fuhrman, M.D. and Quinoa Revolution by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming; Pintail Books, 2012. I combined ideas from both recipes and added my own twist to suit my family’s taste-buds. I welcome you to try different combinations of ingredients to create your own version of my lasagna. Be sure to share your changes with me. I love trying something new.
- 1 large eggplant, sliced into long strips ¼ inch thick
- 5 small zucchini squash, sliced into long strips ¼ inch
- 4 small yellow squash, sliced into long strips ¼ inch
- 16 ounces silken tofu
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt or salt-free seasoning mix
- 24 oz firm tofu, squeezed very dry, crumble into small pieces
- 1-cup mozzarella cheese (Total of 1½ cups: add another ½ cup for top)
- 2 heads of broccoli, chopped
- 3 large orange, yellow, or red bell peppers, chopped
- 2 cups spinach, packed and lightly chopped
- 2 cups sliced baby Bella mushrooms
- 32 oz of your favorite pasta sauce
- ½ cup quinoa
- ½ cup of mozzarella cheese to sprinkle on top
- shredded basil for garnish the top
- Preheat oven 350 degrees. To make the "noodles", bake the squash, zucchini, and eggplant for 10 minutes to soften and dehydrate a little. The “noodles” should be flexible but not fully cooked. Set aside.
- Prepare the quinoa. In a small saucepan, add ½ cup quinoa to 1-½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- To make the tofu-ricotta, puree the silken tofu, onion, and garlic in a blender or food processor. Add the chopped basil leaves and lightly blend. Place the mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add the firm tofu, crumbled (make sure it has been fully dried with a cheese cloth or paper towel to prevent watery lasagna), Italian seasoning, shredded mozzarella cheese, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Note: If you choose to use store bought ricotta instead of tofu-ricotta, chop the onion, garlic, and basil generously and stir into the ricotta to create a seasoned ricotta.
- Get the veggies ready in a skillet lightly covered in olive oil. Add broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers and spinach. Sauté until tender. Drain off any excess water or again, the lasagna will be watery.
- In a 9×13 casserole pan begin to assemble the lasagna. First, lightly coat the bottom with olive oil. Add a very thin layer of pasta sauce. Place layers in this order: a layer of eggplant, a layer of vegetables sprinkled with cooked quinoa, a layer of squash and zucchini, a layer of tofu/ricotta, and a generous layer of sauce. Lightly sprinkle salt or salt-free seasoning between layers according to taste. Repeat the layers and add any remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with ½ cup of mozzarella cheese. Add any remaining sauce on top to keep cheese from burning or drying out.
- Cook uncovered for 1 hour. Garnish with basil.