Hearty Veggie Lasagna—Test Kitchen Style!

Before Kevin and I became vegan we loved consulting America’s Test Kitchen for recipes.    Their recipes are full-proof and delicious—always the result of hours and hours of testing various methods and ingredients.  ATK recipes are truly the best examples of culinary science!   Each recipe has a “What Makes This Work” abstract that walks you through various ingredients and attempted methodologies before they give you their final version of perfection.   That is very appealing to my “But, I need to know why” personality.  So all of that aside…THIS. LASAGNA.

Now, I’ve made vegan lasagna before.  Many times, in fact.  But never, ever, like this.  I had always used tofu ricotta, and while the flavor was good, the texture was lacking and it was always too dry.  This recipe skips the tofu and uses cauliflower and cashews that are cooked and blended together.  SO simple, and it gave my lasagna a moist creaminess that it had been missing!  No joke, this is the BEST lasagna I’ve ever had.  So, without further ado…I present this amazing adapted  America’s Test Kitchen “Vegan for Everybody” recipe.

You’re welcome.


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Hearty Veggie Lasagna—Test Kitchen Style!

  • Author: Adapted by Stephanie Bosch

Ingredients

Scale
  • For the Tomato Sauce: (See Note)
    • 1(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
    • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
    • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 teaspoon organic sugar
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • For the Filling:
    • 8 ounces cauliflower florets, cut into ½-inch pieces (2 1/4 cups)
    • 11/2 cups raw cashews, chopped
    • Salt and peppers
    • 1/2 white onion, diced
    • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • For the Vegetables:
    • 1 pound zucchini, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
    • 1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
    • 5 oz spinach, washed
    • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • salt
  • For the Lasagna:
    • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
    • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. For the tomato sauce: Process tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of basil, oil, garlic, sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes in a food processor until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 30 seconds. Transfer sauce to a bowl and set aside. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
  2. For the filling: Bring 3 quarts of water to boil in a large saucepan. Add cauliflower florets, cashews, and 2 teaspoons salt and cook until cauliflower is very soft and falls apart easily when poked with a fork,  about 20 minutes. Drain cauliflower mixture in a colander and let cool slightly for about 5 minutes.
  3. Process cauliflower mixture, 1 tablespoon oil, diced onion, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, and ¼ cup water in a blender until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 2 minutes (mixture will be slightly grainy). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer ¼ cup mixture to bowl and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and basil; set aside for topping. (Mixtures can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
  4. For the vegetables: Warm a medium-size saute pan over medium-high heat.  When heated add olive oil.  When oil begins to shimmer, add zucchini and mushrooms.  Saute for 5-6 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.  Add garlic and spinach cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until spinach is wilted and tender.  Set aside. (Cooked vegetables can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
  5. For the lasagne: Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375°F—grease 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Spread 1 1/3 cups tomato sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange 4 noodles on top. Spread half the cauliflower filling over noodles, followed by half of the vegetables. Spread 1 1/3 cups tomato sauce over vegetables. Repeat layering with 4 noodles, remaining cauliflower filling, and remaining vegetables. Arrange the remaining 4 noodles and layer with the remaining tomato sauce.
  6. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake until edges are bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Dollop lasagne evenly with 8 to 10 spoonfuls of reserved cauliflower topping, and let cool for 25 minutes. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon basil, and top with vegan parmesan and serve.
  7. Enjoy!

Notes

NOTES
Feel free to substitute a jar of your favorite pasta sauce. Keep in mind, if you do, you will use a full jar plus 1/3 of another.  I would also add fresh basil and red pepper flakes.

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