Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tofu Kale Lasagna

Lasagna is the kind of dish that almost always disappoints me. Perhaps, as my brother-in-law suggested, it's from the horrible variations of it we were subjected to throughout grade school. This dish turned out to be a pleasant surprise.  To combat the feeling that lasagna is boring, I recommend calling it "Italian Enchiladas".

Servings: 8-10
Time: 70 minutes

The Sauce:

2 tbsp butter
1/2 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup of vodka 
2 cans of crushed tomatoes
1-2 tsp dried basil
1-2 tsp dried oregano
Salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
Pinch of brown sugar

This is my variation of a vodka sauce minus the heavy cream (and delightful pink color). I find that the cream kills a lot of the flavor and adds a bunch of unnecessary fat.
  1. Sauté the onion and garlic in butter until they become soft and translucent.
  2. Add the vodka and reduce by about half.
  3. Mix in the crushed tomato and spices and cook for at least half an hour to let the flavors absorb.
The rest of the recipe is adapted from Clean Food by Terry Walters. This is my go to book for vegetarian dishes. It's actually vegan, so I just substitute in actual milk and cheese.
With a name like that, you just know she's brilliant and can be trusted.

7 sun-dried tomatoes
12 lasagna noodles
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
8 oz baby bella mushrooms
1 1/2 packages of firm tofu, drained
2 tbsp dry basil
Salt, pepper, oregano, and crushed red pepper to taste
1 bunch kale, chopped
1 package  (1 1/2 cups) shredded mozzarella 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. While preparing your sauce, get the noodles ready by cooking in boiling water until soft.
  3. Sauté the garlic and onions in your olive oil until soft.
  4. Add in the mushrooms and cook for another 3 minutes.
  5. Crumble in the tofu (be sure to press it tightly to remove excess water first) and spices and stir for 5 more minutes.
  6. Fold in kale and cook covered for 3 minutes. The kale should now be a darker green and softer.
  7. Now it's time to assemble the lasagna. Cover the bottom of a lasagna pan (approximately 9"x12") with sauce.
  8. Make a layer of noodles and top with half of the filling. Cover this in sauce and mozzarella.
  9. Repeat for the second layer then make one final layer of noodles covered in the remaining sauce and cheese.
  10. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes making sure to turn halfway through.
  11. Remove the foil and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.
Mmm cheese.

As is always the case, food covered in melted cheese is delicious. The kale ends up working better than the traditional spinach because it's firmer, so it doesn't degrade into a soggy mess upon cooking. Add some crushed red pepper on top to give it a nice kick and enjoy.

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