This is very reminiscent of traditional lasagnas, but of course, without the meat, cheese, and added salt and oil. Bottom line: it’s delicious! Instead of meat, I have used zucchini and mushrooms, and a great tofu blend to take the place of the ricotta.
Lasagnas are a labor of love, for sure. But they are worth the wait. I like this recipe best with brown rice noodles, but see Notes below for instructions on making it with sliced potatoes instead, which will give you a more stout lasagna.
- Tomato sauce:
- 1 medium yellow or white onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- ½ pound mushrooms (8-10 medium white or cremini), thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
- 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (about 1¼ cups)
- 1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped (3-4 medium cloves)
- 1 26-ounce box of Pomi strained tomatoes (or other brand)
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb seasoning
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional; these are spicy)
- For layering and garnish:
- 1 10-ounce package lasagna noodles (I like brown rice noodles)
- 6 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard
- ¼ cup unsalted, unroasted cashews or walnuts (as garnish; optional)
- Faux ricotta “cheese”:
- 10 to 12 ounces of soft tofu (see notes), cubed
- 1 cup coarsely chopped Swiss chard
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning, Italian herb seasoning, or other no-salt seasoning blend
- Add a tablespoon of water to a large frying pan or soup pot at medium-high heat. When the water begins to sputter, add the onion and mushrooms, and cook while stirring for 3 to 5 minutes, adding a little water as needed. Add the zucchini and garlic, stirring for one minute. Stir in the strained tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, Italian herbs, ground fennel, and red pepper flakes (if using). Reduce heat to low and cook covered while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Set aside a 13x9-inch baking dish. Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of water according to the package instructions. Drain and rinse, and set aside until ready to use.
- Place all of the “cheese” ingredients (tofu, chard, lemon juice, vinegar, and seasoning) into a food processor, and process for 20 to 30 seconds until blended but still bumpy, adding water as needed (if too thick).
- In your baking dish, you’ll begin making layers. First, evenly spread 1 cup of the red sauce in the bottom. Add a layer of noodles (next to each other, not overlapping), then a layer of half the chard, then half the tofu “cheese” (by spoonfuls then spread out), then 1½ cups sauce (spreading out a bit). Repeat this layering once more: noodles, spinach, tofu, and sauce again.
- Now, finish with a single top layer of noodles, and spoon all of the remaining sauce (about 1½ cups) on top, spreading out evenly. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil (sealing the edges), and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and, using a rotary cheese grater, grate on some grated cashews or walnuts, and baked uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving (to help set the layers).
Lasagna noodles: I like the Tinkyada brand of brown rice noodles. If you are not gluten-free, a whole-grain, wheat-based lasagna noodle may be used.
Tofu: I think “soft” is best in this recipe, as it resembles ricotta cheese texture best; but if you can’t find “soft,” “firm” is the next best option.
Greens: I think Swiss chard is the best green to use for this dish, as it imparts a naturally salty flavor, more so than spinach. But if you only have spinach, you can use that as well (in the tofu mixture and in the layers).
Basil: If you have some good fresh basil on hand, feel free to add ½ to 1 cup chopped to the sauce toward the end of simmering, as well as a garnish on top of plated servings (as in the top photo).
Above: A slice of Lasagna using brown rice lasagna noodles.
Above: Made with potato slices instead of pasta noodles (see Notes).
Above: These are three of my favorite products for this recipe. I love the Pomi strained tomatoes. If you can’t find this, my second choice is the BioNature strained tomatoes (or you can use any brand that is salt-free). And these are my favorite lasagna noodles (Tinkyada). They taste great and they also give you just the right amount of noodles, not extra as many packages do.
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