Sunday, March 9, 2014

Deconstructed Vegan “Lasagna” - Meatless #SundaySupper

With retirement looming for the both of them, my mom and stepdad are beginning to re-evaluate what constitutes a "full meal". Both of them came from families where meat was revered as the "centre" of the plate, even when times were lean, and vegetables were often starchy and/or overcooked necessities to form a semblance of balance (and likely prevent scurvy). Now that they're older, not only are they facing the reduction in income but they're also beginning to mind their health a bit more. Both have a history of heart problems and diabetes, and my mom's side is prone to high blood pressure and cancer as well - none of which are particularly helped by the "meat and three" mentality for every day of the week.

"Ricotta" for Deconstructed Vegan “Lasagna”The catalyst for their expansion into vegetarian and vegan cooking wasn't actually any of the above reasons, though. Those were merely side bonuses. No, what really kick-started the movement in our household was my stepfather's birthday party, where his vegan daughter was in attendance. After that, my mom (the main cook for the rest of the house) asked me to help her come up with some dishes they could enjoy, both with and without her present, that weren't too "health-foody" or bizarre looking - AKA, meals my notoriously picky stepdad would at least try.

Given that my stepfamily is staunchly proud of their Italian roots, and that pasta seems to be the "great equalizer" in the kitchen, I immediately thought of a vegan lasagna. I've made tofu-based ricotta several times before, sneaking it into baked pastas as a dairy "stretcher", but never used it alone. However, I had a good idea of the Mediterranean flavours I wanted to infuse into the relatively bland bean curd, from standard garlic and basil to fennel (the Italian sausage herb). Vegan "Parmesan" cheese, nutritional yeast and Kalamata olives added the necessary salty/tangy element, and the whole mixture got a final punch from fresh parsley before marinating for an hour.

Somewhere down the line my mom and I modified our usual "lasagna" format to become more of a baked pasta, mostly for serving ease and partially because the only whole grain pasta my stepdad will eat willingly is Kamut or spelt (he hates whole wheat, for some reason) and lasagna sheets with either of those grains are few and far between. However, our local bulk store carries an array of short cut pasta made from them, so we picked up a bag of Kamut spirals that would hold the sauce and "cheese". Topped with marinara and a sprinkle of Daiya mozzarella, the dish looked exactly like it's non-vegan counterpart, and when we served it to mixed company nobody (except the visiting vegans) knew about the switch until well after dessert and coffee were served. It took some major insistence to convince them that yes, there was "scary" tofu in there!

Deconstructed Vegan “Lasagna”

This week our #SundaySupper group is sharing a medley of meatless meals. Whether you're "Spring cleaning" your system or celebrating Lent, you're sure to find a dish (or ten!) that will tempt your tastebuds in a way that will make you forget all about steak and potatoes!

Salads, Soups, Stews and Starters


Pastas, Pizzas and Casseroles


Tacos & Everything Wrapped

Other Main and Side Dishes


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 We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Deconstructed Vegan “Lasagna”
Serves 8
1 ½ lbs firm tofu, drained
1 tbsp vegan Parmesan (optional but recommended)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp garlic powder
¾ tsp onion powder
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
¼ tsp fennel seed
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ cup minced parsley
¼ cup minced Kalamata olives
3 cups low-sodium marinara sauce
1 lb Kamut® (or whole grain) spiral pasta, cooked and drained
2 cups shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)
  1. Mash tofu with vegan Parmesan, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, fennel, salt, pepper, parsley and olives. Cover and let stand 1 hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F and grease a 9x13” dish.
  3. Stir the pasta, 1 cup of the mozzarella and 2 cups of the marinara into the tofu mixture.
  4. Spread mixture in the baking dish, pour over the remaining marinara sauce and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
  5. Bake, covered, 20 minutes, then uncover and bake 10 minutes longer.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 442.6
Total Fat: 14.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 658.8 mg
Total Carbs: 57.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 10.1 g
Protein: 22.1 g