Another phenomenal recipe from Ricki at Diet, Dessert and Dogs! My midwife wanted me to choose a special meal as my first “celebration meal” after giving birth. I chose this recipe and I’m so glad I did. Not only is it delicious, but it is complex and time-consuming, making it perfect for ultra-special occasions. This easily gets a 5 out of 5 happy monkeys. My everything-eating husband said it was just as good as traditional lasagna, and coming from him, that’s saying a lot.
The key to this recipe is the amazing cauliflower “meat” that Ricki has created. I was skeptical at first, but as the cauliflower cooked and browned, it went through an amazing transformation. This “meat” could be used in so many great ways. I can’t wait to try it out more when I am back to eating cauliflower. (I am supposed to avoid it while breastfeeding, unfortunately 😦 ) The original recipe is here, although I altered it slightly because I’m not a fan of spinach pesto.
Meaty Gluten-Free Vegan
from Diet, Dessert and Dogs
I package Gluten-Free brown rice no-boil lasagna noodles (about 8-12 sheets)
About 5 cups homemade or prepared marinara sauce
1 package frozen red and yellow pepper strips
32 oz fresh spinach
16 oz fresh mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1 batch ground “meat’ (recipe below).
1 recipe tofu ricotta (recipe below)
Dried parsley to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Grease your lasagna pan. Set aside.
2. Make your tofu ricotta and your cauliflower meat from the recipes below. Set aside.
3. In a skillet, heat olive oil and saute mushrooms and spinach together. Set aside.
4. Defrost pepper strips and add to marinara sauce. Reserve about 1 and 1/2 cups of the sauce for the final lop layer of the lasagna. Set aside.
5. Assemble lasagna, starting with a layer of lasagna noodles, a layer of sauce, a layer of cheese and a layer of mushrooms and spinach. Continue these layers until the meat and cheese is used up and the pan is almost full. Cover with one more layer of noodles, then coat with the reserved sauce. Make sure the noodles are fully covered so they cook fully. Sprinkle dried parsley over the top for color.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, until bubbly and browned on the edges. Remove from oven and allow to set for at least 15 minutes before cutting into squares. Makes 8-10 servings.
Meaty Veg-Based Ground “Meat”:
from Diet, Dessert and Dogs
1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and washed, broken into florets (about 1 pound/450 g after trimming)
2 cups (250 g) raw walnut halves
2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1tsp (5 ml) garlic powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) dried sage
1.5 tsp (2.5 ml) smoked paprika
1/2-3/4 tsp (2.5-3.5 ml) fine sea salt, to taste
2 Tbsp (30 ml) tamari
1. Preheat oven to 350 F (180C). Line a large rimmed cookie sheet or rectangular pan with tin foil or parchment, or spray with nonstick spray.
2. In a food processor, blend the cauliflower and nuts to a fine meal. Depending on how grainy you like your “meat,” it can be more or less fine; Ricki made hers like a coarse cornmeal.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients.
4. Using your (clean) hands, knead everything together thoroughly, until the grounds are uniformly coated.
5. Turn the mixture into the pan and spread out evenly. Bake for 45 minutes and up to 1 hour 15 minutes (it will depend on the size of the pan and how thick the mixture is when you first begin to bake it), stirring after 30 minutes and then every 15 minutes after that, until the meat is dry and brown (if the layer underneath comes up looking wet and white–as cauliflower tends to do–then you need to keep baking). The grounds will begin to separate and intensify in color as they roast.
5. Once the meat is cooked, you can cool, package, and freeze it for later use, or use it right away. Will keep, up to 3 days, covered in the refrigerator. May be frozen.
Tofu Basil Ricotta
Originally from the Post Punk Kitchen but unfortunately it is no longer posted there.
1 pound extra-firm tofu, pressed
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
handful fresh basil leaves, chopped fine (ten leaves or so)
dash fresh black pepper
and as originally posted on PPK, tireless hands (so true!)
In a large bowl, mush the tofu up with your hands, until it is crumbly. Add lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and basil. Mush with hands again, this time you want it to get very mushy so squeeze through your fingers and mush until it reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese. This may take 2-5 minutes, but keep mushing until the consistency changes to how you want it. Add olive oil, stir with fork. Add nutritional yeast and combine all ingredients well. Use a fork now, because the oil will make it sticky. Cover and refigerate until ready to use.