Childhood Favorite Lasagna

Lasagna was always a staple in our house growing up; it was one of the first recipes our mom taught us to make. Years later, it is still our favorite comfort food and perfect for serving to guests and family.

Today, we’re sharing updated twists on a childhood favorite. Jess shows us how to make a vegan tofu ricotta lasagna with “meat” sauce while Nikki mixes things up with a hearty lasagna soup. Both of these robust and comforting dishes are perfect for a chilly fall night. Enjoy!

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Click the continue reading link below to find out more about our updated twist on classic lasagna recipes!

Tofu Ricotta Lasagna with Meat Sauce

(VEGAN)

When constructing the perfect lasagna recipe I knew I wanted it to taste like the classic lasagna I grew up loving. Layered with cashew cream, tofu ricotta with pesto, and meaty marinara sauce, this lasagna is creamy,  rich and full of savory flavor. Since we’re making the cashew cream and tofu ricotta from scratch, I used jarred marina sauce; you can find my marinara sauce recipe here if you’re okay with adding a little bit of extra time to the prep. When using store-bought marinara sauce I add some extra spices and garlic. For the meat sauce I used Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles. If you’re not a fan of faux meat (I still urge you to try this brand!) throw in some mushrooms or other veggies instead.

Ingredients:

  • 2 jars marinara sauce, or 1 pot homemade marinara
  • 1 package vegan beef crumbles
  • 9 lasagna noodles to fill 9 X13 dish

Cashew Cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 handful of herbs; I use mostly basil with a little bit of thyme and oregano

Tofu Ricotta:

  • 14 oz firm tofu, drained (no need to press the water out)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • juice from 1/2 small lemon
  • homemade pesto:
    • 3-4 cloves garlic
    • 3 cups basil
    • 1/2 cup pepitas
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • juice from one small lemon
    • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 375. Begin boiling your lasagna noodles while you make your cashew cream.

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In a food processor or blender, combine cashew cream ingredients and blend until smooth. This may take a few minutes. Scrape down the sides of the food processor every minute or so to make sure all the ingredients are combined, and add a splash more water if necessary.

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You should be left with a smooth paste.  Transfer into a small bowl and set aside.

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Keep an eye on your noodles! Drain & set them aside if they’re done.
Next we’ll make the pesto for the tofu ricotta. No need to rinse your blender/food processor, just pop in all of the pesto ingredients & blend for about 1 minute, or until almost smooth; it should have some texture to it.

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Once your pesto is done, start heating your pasta sauce and faux meat crumbles while you finish the tofu ricotta. Set aside about 1/2-2/3 cup of the sauce to add to the top of the lasagna; place the rest in a  medium pot and add the beef crumbles, stirring occasionally.IMG_3872While your sauce simmers, crumble the firm tofu into a mixing bowl with your hands. The consistency should be similar to that of tofu scramble. With a spatula, mix in the pesto, nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt until well combined.

After your noodles & sauce are ready, begin your lasagna layering, starting with a layer of noodles.

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Spread on half of the cashew cream with a spatula.

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Next add half of the tofu ricotta.

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Add half of the meat sauce.

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Add another layer of noodles and repeat the process. Add a final layer of noodles and top with the extra pasta sauce you set aside.

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Cover with foil and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes. Let the lasagna cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Bon appetite!

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LASAGNA SOUP

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Am I the only one who loves lasagna but HATES how much work it is to make? Sometimes it seems like an all-day process! While certainly worth it, during the busy fall season, I am always searching for fast and easy dinner recipes without all the prep and hassle. Enter lasagna soup! This recipe only takes about 40 minutes (most of which are unsupervised cooking time) to make and the only prep is chopping the basil, onion, and garlic. You’re left with a hearty and filling soup and a lot more time to, you know, shop online and important things like that! This is a super easy weeknight dinner recipe that is also affordable to make. Let’s get going!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes in sauce with basil
  • 8 oz tomato sauce 
  • 32 oz low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (I used part skim)
  • 10 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped, plus some for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese, for garnish

Directions:

First, let’s take care of the prep. Chop the half of a yellow onion and 4 cloves of garlic. Also, to make things easier, chop the 2 tablespoons of basil now and set aside.

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Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Then, add the minced garlic and cook for an additional minute or so, stirring constantly to avoid burning the garlic.

Next, mix in the sausage and ground beef and cook until browned.

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Now add the seasonings: 2 tbsp basil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp Italian seasoning.

Also, add the crushed tomatoes with sauce, tomato sauce, and ricotta cheese here. Stir well until evenly combined.

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Now it’s time to add the liquids. Pour in the 32 oz of chicken broth, 1/2 cup water, 2 tbsp red wine. Stir to combine.

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Break the 10 lasagna noodles into small pieces. Stir well to ensure even cooking.

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Let the soup simmer for 20-30 minutes, uncovered until the lasagna noodles are soft. After that, we’re done! How easy was that?

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Serve with shredded mozzarella cheese and basil on top. Yum!

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