Saturday, May 16, 2015

Don't Raise Your Cholesterol Plant-Based Lasagna - gluten free option

Unbelievable that's what this is!  Another awesome recipe from Rip Esselstyn, he calls it Raise-the-Roof Sweet Potato-Vegetable Lasagna. Wow...that's a mouthful!  But seriously...this is worth the effort it takes to prepare, it is one of the most delicious vegan recipes I have ever had. And yes, my family loves it too.

Check this out! I actually have found another awesome use for the filling of this recipe. See the note at bottom of this post!

* I make this lasagna with gluten free lasagna noodles and found the need to be slightly precooked. Plus I made a few other changes to better serve my needs. Click on the  link above for original recipe.

Don't Raise Your Cholesterol Plant-Based Lasagna                Serves 10-12
1 onion, chopped very fine.
1 heaping tsp minced garlic.
2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced.
1 head broccoli, chopped in small pieces.
2 carrots, chopped finely.
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped (I used yellow and orange).
1 1/2 cups frozen corn.
1 package firm tofu, non GMO.
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper.
1 tsp oregano.
1 tsp basil.
1 tsp rosemary crushed a little.
2 regular size jars or 1 large jar of pasta sauce, any healthy brand you like. I use the big 67 oz size.
2 boxes whole grain lasagna noodles, ( I used gluten free)
16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained. I squeezed the liquid out with my hands.
2 medium or 1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed. Wash and dry, wrap in foil and bake at 400 for 1 hour. Or microwave following the instructions from this link, How to Cook Sweet Potatoes Quickly-Simply Daily Recipes.
4-5 roma tomatoes, sliced thin. Other types work fine too.
1- 1 1/4  cup raw cashews, ground. Walnuts could be substituted here.

Preheat Oven to 400.
Sauté  the onion and garlic on medium high heat for 3 minutes or so in a nonstick pan, this will not work in a stainless steel pan. I tried it and had a big mess. Add the mushrooms and cook until onions soften and a watery liquid forms from the mushrooms. Remove mushrooms and onions with a slotted spoon and set aside in a large bowl, reserving the mushroom liquid if possible in the pan. Or dump everything into a strainer and let juices run into a bowl underneath. Sometimes I don't end up with any liquid. Add liquid back to the pan and sauté the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes. If you need a little more liquid, add a couple tablespoons of water.  Add broccoli and carrots to the bowl with the mushrooms. Sauté the peppers and corn until they just begin to soften. Add them to the vegetables in the bowl. Drain the tofu by wrapping the square form in paper towels. Break it up and mix into the bowl with all the other vegetables. Add spices and combine.

To Assemble:
Cover the bottom of a 9"x13" pan with a good layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with more sauce. This way the noodles will cook in the oven. Spread the vegetable mixture over the noodles. Cover with another layer of noodles and more sauce. Add the spinach carefully over the sauce, placing it as evenly as possible. Cover the spinach layer with the mashed sweet potatoes. Add more sauce and one last layer of noodles. Finish with a last layer of sauce. It will seem like too much…but trust me, it will be fine. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced roma tomatoes.

Cover lasagna with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the ground cashews, and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Let sit a few minutes before serving.

Leftovers? If there are any freeze them, this makes a wonderful reheated meal on a busy night.Leftovers? 

Prepare all the vegetables.



                  Chop...with a little help from a food processor.

Saute onions and garlic.

Add mushrooms.

Remove onions and mushrooms leaving any liquid.

Sauté  broccoli and carrots.  Then add to mushroom bowl.

Sauté  peppers and corn. Then add all other sautéed vegetables together. I used my large skillet for this step.

Wrap tofu in paper towel to absorb liquid.

Add tofu to sautéed vegetables. Mix.

Stir in the spices.

I often make a double batch of this mix…see note at end of post.

Mash cooked sweet potatoes.

Begin layering process...

 and more layers....

Until you arrive at the final layer.

Top with sliced tomatoes, cover with foil and bake.

Sprinkle raw cashews last 15 minutes of cooking, uncovered.

And the masterpiece is finished and ready to devour!

*Note- Here is another way we like to use the vegetable and tofu filling at our house. Fill flour or corn tortillas with filling, heat up in the microwave 30-60 seconds, (depending microwave and on size of your wrap) roll up like a burrito and enjoy a delicious, protein rich, vegetable burrito. These are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

I will make a double batch of this filling and freeze smaller amounts in containers. This can be defrosted for a quick meal on a busy night.

 I hope you enjoy this recipe both ways!

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