Monday, February 19, 2007

Tonight's Dinner: Lasagna

This one is easy to do. I make it in an 8x8" baking dish, which is plenty for two of us for dinner with leftovers.

You need:

• approximately 9 lasagna noodles (maybe 1 or 2 more to account for breaking)
• 1 23 oz. can (that's 680 mL for you Canadians) of pasta sauce
• 1 block firm tofu (medium works too)
• 2 small cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons or so olive oil
• 1 tbsp packed fresh parsley, finely chopped
• 1-2 good squirts of lemon juice
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 pkg vegan ground beef
• optional: mushrooms, or whatever veggies you'd like to add (I skip this if I don't feel like it)
• also optional: vegan mozzarella or parmesan to sprinkle on top

Begin by draining and pressing liquid out of the tofu. While the tofu is pressing, cook the lasagna noodles, chop the parsley and mince the garlic. When the tofu is done pressing (about 15 minutes ought to be enough), place it in a bowl with the garlic and parsley. Mix well with a fork until tofu is mashed and garlic and parsley are evenly distributed. Add a couple of squirts of lemon juice (to cut the "tofu" flavour), the olive oil, and some salt. Mix until a ricotta-y consistency. Add more olive oil if it's too dry or clumpy, more lemon juice if it's too tofu-y, and more salt if it's too bland. By this time the lasagna noodles should be ready, so drain them if you haven't already. Spread some sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, layer 3 noodles, spread on the ground beef (and whatever veggies you want to add), spread on more sauce, 3 more noodles, the tofu ricotta mixture, more sauce, 3 more noodles, more sauce, and cheese if you want it. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes (until heated through).

I'm pretty proud of the way this turns out -- it wasn't my idea to use tofu in place of ricotta, but I did come up with this method and it's quite surprising how much it tastes like the real thing.

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