Few things say “cozy family dinner that everyone likes” quite like lasagna. It can be a little labor intensive, though. Here are a few perks to this version:
- You don’t have to boil the noodles.
- You can use any summer garden produce you have in abundance.
- You can prep it in advance and forget about it (oven or crock pot instructions below!).
- It’s so good, you’ll want the leftovers for breakfast the next day. I speak from experience.
Gather your ingredients. You can use any type of lasagna noodle. I don’t boil them first (they dont’ have to specificially say “no-boil”). You can use gluten-free, whole wheat or regular lasanga noodles.
Chop some vegetables of your choice. I love zucchini, red bell peppers, and spinach especially.
Make the tofu ricotta, which includes hummus for creaminess. I use homemade hummus, but you can also use store-bought. The hummus in the ricotta filling is an idea I got from the Hummusapien’s recipe that we’ve made several times. This recipe is a mash-up between that one and the Moosewood Restaurant’s Cookbook, and some of my own tweaks to make it just right.
If you’re using the slow cooker, it will look a bit like this:
Layer sauce, noodles, tofu ricotta, and vegetables. Repeat.
It bubbles and bakes in just 3 hours in the slow cooker.
Alternatively, you can bake it in the oven. It’s more eye-pleasing, but both ways are yummy.
Don’t let the tofu scare you off–it’s an amazing replacement for cheese and even my tofu-hesitant husband loves this. If you’re anti-tofu, I would recommend a cashew lasagna, like this recipe. I like a tofu ricotta because of calorie density! Cashews have 157 calories per ounce, whereas tofu has 21 calories per ounce. If you like to eat, you want foods with low calorie density so you can feel full without eating too many calories.
Unlike typical meat-and-cheese lasagna that has 24 grams of fat, 75 grams of cholesterol, and over 400 calories per serving, this recipe has less than 200 calories per serving (so eat up!), 6 grams of fat, and 0 grams cholesterol (cholesterol is only found in animal foods).
If you make this recipe, please let me know by taking a picture and tagging @faithful.plateful on Facebook or Instagram, or leaving a comment!
Put this in the crock pot after lunch, and this will be ready for dinner! So yummy, you'll never miss meat or cheese.
- 1 12-16 oz package extra firm tofu
- 1 cup hummus
- 2 TBSP red wine vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground or whole fennel (optional)
- 1/2 cup packed fresh basil (or 2 tbsp dried)
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 3-5 cups veggies (broccoli, peppers, kale, zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, etc)
- 1 package lasagna noodles
- 2 24-oz jars your favorite spaghetti sauce
Drain tofu and press as much moisture as possible out in a clean towel or paper towels.
In a food processor, blend all the ricotta filling ingredients together. Taste and adjust lemon juice/vinegar for tangy-ness, and add more salt and pepper to taste. You want the ricotta to be delicious on it's own.
Dice vegetables into small pieces, or slices (depending on if you're trying to sneak vegetables into people who don't like them, or let them be seen in all their glory).
For the slow-cooker version I just use raw vegetables, since they will have plenty of time to cook. The water release of the veggies does make the lasanga a bit runnier though, so you can pre-cook the vegetables if you like.
For the oven-cooked version, saute vegetables in a skillet, no need to add oil. Vegetables will release moisture. Cook about 5 minutes until crisp-tender. I like to season with pepper, and sprinkle with dried basil and oregano while it cooks.
In the slow-cooker, cover the bottom with spagetti sauce. Layer some uncooked lasagna noodes (break them to fit), half of the ricotta filling, half of the veggies. Cover with more spagetti sauce, then repeat: noodles, ricotta, veggies, sauce until all your ingredients are used up. Make noodles and sauce the top layer.
Cook on low for 3-4 hours until noodles are soft.
Lasagna will be a little runnier and more watery than oven-cooked lasagna, but delicious.
Preheat oven to 350.
In a 9x13 inch pan, pour a thin layer of spaghetti sauce. Put one layer of noodles (my pan fits 3 noodles across the bottom), then spread ricotta onto each noodle, using half of the ricotta. Layer half the vegetables on top, then about 1/3 of the rest of the sauce.
Repeat with another layer of noodles, ricotta, vegetables, sauce. Then one more layer of noodles and cover the whole thing with the remaining sauce.
Cover with aluminum foil (necessary for the raw noodles to bake), and bake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove foil and let it cool at least 15 minutes to firm up.
Based on 1/12 of the recipe. Salt not included in nutrition facts.