NO PASTA LASAGNA (Vegan and Gluten Free!)

I took a walk on the wild side over the weekend and decided to give this a shot. No Pasta Lasagna…..not just gluten free but also vegan. Woah. Is it really worth the time and effort when you are pretty sure tofu and vegan cheese could never come close to the real thing? These were my thoughts while slaving away in the kitchen Friday night after a long day of work. Why was I wasting my time (Friday evening time that is) when I know it will never compare to the real thing. Boy was I shocked. So pleasantly shocked that this may be my new favorite dinner. And the taste test of all truth, the husband actually loved it. I made 2 versions of No Pasta Lasagna (both gluten free) but one was vegan and the other used real cheese. Do you believe me when I say that both my husband and I preferred the vegan version best? I know…..wild times.

However I can’t take full credit for this delicious vegan recipe as it was adapted from doctor and best selling author Joel Fuhrman, M.D. and his new book 3 Steps To Incredible Health! (Volume 2). It’s a great book focusing on nutrition and how to get back into a healthy lifestyle via eating healthy — but what mostly brought me to purchase it, are the 150+ recipes in the back of the book, most of which are vegan. I rarely cook totally vegan as I am a HUGE CHEESE HEAD and I find it hard to find a non-dairy substitute that actually melts/cooks well. However, I think I have turned over a new leaf.

You must give this recipe a try and surprise yourself at how great this vegan No Pasta Lasagna satisfies. Especially if you are a pasta lover like me!

NO PASTA LASAGNA (Vegan and Gluten Free!)
2 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices
3 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise (thin as possible)
3 small yellow squash, sliced lengthwise (thin as possible)

16 ounces of silken tofu
1 small onion cut into quarters
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 cup of fresh basil leaves
16 ounces of firm tofu, squeezed dry and crumbled
2 tablespoons of dried Italian herbs
1 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of non-dairy mozzarella cheese (I used Daiya)
1/2 cup of non-dairy Parmesan cheese (I used Go Veggie!)

4 cups of sliced mushrooms of choice ( I used baby bellas)
8 ounces of spinach
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 cups of low-sodium pasta sauce (I used L.E. Roselli’s)
1/2 cup of non-dairy mozzarella cheese (I used Daiva)
1/2 cup of non-dairy Parmesan cheese (I used Go Veggie!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take out two cookie sheets and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Add the eggplant slices to each tray (it’s okay if they overlap slightly) and lightly spray again with the cooking spray. Bake in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the eggplant is tender but not fully cooked. (You may need to do this in a few batches depending on how many slices you have). Remove the eggplant and set aside on a plate. Repeat the process with the zucchini and squash until all the “noodles” are tender.

While the “noddles” are cooking, make the tofu ricotta. In a food processor, add the silken tofu, onion, garlic, basil, Italian herbs and salt. Process until smooth. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the drained/crumbled tofu, the non-dairy mozzarella cheese and the non-dairy Parmesan cheese. Mix well with a spoon until combined and set aside.

Next, in a large sauce pan, add the olive oil over medium heat until warm. Add the mushrooms, spinach and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Toss well with tongs. Let cook over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes (tossing occasionally) until the mushrooms are soft and the spinach is just beginning to wilt. Remove from heat and set aside in a medium bowl.

Now assemble your lasagna using a glass lasagna dish (my size was 15 3/4″ x 10 1/4″). Start by spraying the dish with non-stick cooking spray. Then add a small amount of pasta sauce just to coat the bottom of the dish. First layer the eggplant slices, then the spinach and mushroom mixture, then the zucchini and squash slices, then the tofu ricotta, and end with a layer of tomato sauce. Repeat the layers making sure you end with the tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle the top of the lasagna with the remaining 1/2 cup of non-dairy mozzarella and 1/2 cup of non-dairy Parmesan cheese covering the sauce evenly. Bake in the oven (uncovered) at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with freshly chopped basil. YUMMY!

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