This post is also known as “The lasagna that nearly ruined my relationship” but I didn’t think people would want to make it, let alone share it, and I’m really hoping that you give this one a crack because I don’t even really LIKE lasagna and I’m drooling just thinking about it. Pair this with white wine, a hearty loaf of Italian bread, and there you have a very vegan Valentine’s Day dinner to serve a small army of hungry people. Or love birds.
Let’s start at the beginning.
It was supposed to be a nice dinner. Work and life have been so stressful and I wanted to do something special for Bryan, to thank him for being my rock and navigating rough terrain by my side.
But the night didn’t go as I had planned.
I was following along John Joseph’s vegan lasagna recipe. It required two soup pots, a sauté pan, and of course a dish big enough to hold a lasagna.
What could possibly go wrong?
I lined up the spices, checked to make sure I had everything on hand. There were so many steps! In the end, I thought it would all be worth it and measured and poured and
I don’t have two bags of vegan mozzarella. That’s okay, I thought. I’ll just substitute Parmesan cheese. No one will know!
And I mixed and I chopped and
Son of a bitch! My ricotta went bad. I didn’t even know since I hadn’t opened the container in… well, I don’t remember the last time. I needed to think fast which is never really my strong suit. I decided to call Bryan and see if he could pick up ricotta and mozzarella on his way home.
“What are you making?” He sighed into the phone. It was a major derailment and I knew he already had a long day.
“I thought I’d surprise you with lasagna! From your punk rock guy!” (*Side bar: John Joseph, in case anyone is curious, was a member of the Cro Mags.)
“Charlotte, it takes at least an hour to cook.”
Shit. I forgot about that part, too. If this dinner was going to happen, I needed him to pick up ingredients. Even though I had already been to Whole Foods once today. Bryan was in a foul mood because I screwed up directions and instead of solving my own problem, I wanted him to fix it.
He picked up the ricotta and mozzarella on his way home, but it was past 7 and neither of us were in the mood for lasagna any longer.
That night, I ate a sad avocado and Bryan had sleep for dinner.
Anyway, there is a lesson in all this as there usually is. 1) Reading is fundamental 2) Don’t expect someone else to fix your headaches and 3) Don’t attempt a vegan lasagna unless you are fully prepared.
Did I mention that I didn’t even have aluminum foil?
I swear, It’s like I’ve never cooked before.
The next night, we started over. I told him I was hurt because, while my execution may not have been the best, my intentions were good. He apologized for being a monster and we ate the most delicious lasagna ever made. Here is the recipe, slightly amended because I dunno what the fuck asafoetida is and it was delicious without. Also the hell is that, seriously?
Also here’s a friendly tip: make the sauce, meat, and veggies the night before for easy assembly day of eats. Enjoy!!
- 3 tablespoons olive oil (John's recipe calls for 6, which I think is a bit excessive, personally)
- 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
- 3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (original recipe calls for fenugreek but I wasn't able to locate this)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 dried chilis (or more, depending on preference)
- 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
- 5 cups pasta sauce
- 1/3 cup organic tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or blend of rosemary/oregano, which is what I had on hand)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Earth Balance butter and olive oil (to grease pan)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 (one) 11- or 12-oz. bag vegan beef crumbles, depending on what you find (I used Quorn brand)
- 8 oz. vegan ricotta
- 2 (two!) 8-oz. bags Daiya vegan mozzarella shreds
- 2 broccoli crowns
- 1 large yellow zucchini
- 1 box (approx. 12-oz.) whole wheat lasagne noodles
- 1 bunch organic spinach, chopped
- 1. Heat olive oil and butter in a large saucepan
- 2. When warm, add mustard seeds, turmeric, coriander, fennel seeds, cumin, and chilis and cook until fragrant (roughly 2 mins)
- 3. Add in tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste and stir until tomatoes are soft (roughly 8 mins)
- 4. Add molasses, Italian herbs (or rosemary/oregano mix), and salt. Lower heat and cook for an additional 30 mins.
- 1. Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat
- 2. Add beef crumbles and cook until browned, roughly 10 mins
- 3. Season with black pepper and transfer to a large bowl; wait to cool
- 4. Once this has cooled down considerably, stir in the ricotta and 1/4 cup of mozzarella shreds. Set aside.
- 1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook broccoli and zucchini until tender (roughly 5 mins)
- 2. Drain and transfer to an ice bath to cool
- 3. Make sure ALL veggies are completely dry (No more ice! No more water!) and mash those suckers to bits on your chopping board.
- 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- 2. Grease the lasagne pan with olive oil and butter, making sure to cover all sides
- 3. Run lasagne under water (do not precook!) and add first layer to lasagne pan (about three pieces)
- 4. Top with 1/3 of the meat mixture and spread in an even layer, pressing into the pasta
- 5. Add about 1 1/2 cups of pasta sauce, then top with 1/3 veggies and 1/3 of spinach
- 6. Top with 1/2 cup of mozzarella and another 1/2 cup of pasta sauce
- 7. Top with another layer of lasagne noodles (making sure to rise ALL noodles before placing in pan) and repeat for two more layers
- 8. End with fourth layer of pasta and top with remaining sauce
- 9. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour
- 10. Remove foil and top with remaining cheese (or go rogue and add however much cheese you like!), and bake for an additional 15 mins
- Let cool and then tell me that's not the most delicious lasagne you've ever had in your life. Serve with white whine; Italian bread. Enjoy!
- Many thanks to John Joseph for this recipe (and video! he's hilarious).