Vegetable Lasagna was the challenge today, and I succeeded. I live by the motto “Food is Art is Life”, and I work it into my everyday as much as possible. My life is surrounded by food, considering I own a vegan bakery. But today on a not so lazy Sunday I decided to take my lasagna to a new vegetarian level. I spent hours reading different recipes from all over the web, and decided to come up with my oven vegetarian/vegan able version, and by that I mean, this recipe can EASILY be vegan if you substituted vegan cheese. I used earth balance butter, and almond milk to make my bechamel sauce, considering that is what I use everyday. I used regular Ricotta cheese, regular mozzarella cheese, as well as parmesan cheese, but if you substitute those out for the vegan versions you could have a vegan winner.
The process was a bit lengthy, as is any Lasagna, so you may want to pour yourself a glass of wine and set aside two hours. I started with cooking the noodles for 5 minutes in salted boiling water. While that was working I chopped all my veggies. I used 1 zucchini, 2 carrots, 1 sweet vidalia onion, 1/2 small container mushrooms, 1 red bell pepper, and a HUGE handful of fresh baby spinach. I sauted those with 3 cloves of minced garlic and olive oil for about 5 minutes. I was very careful not to over cook the veggies so they did not turn to mush in the oven. After I drained the pasta, and cooked the veggies I set those both aside and began the bechamel sauce. My version is not a classic version, I “veganized” it a little bit. By that I mean, I made a roux with 2 T of Earth Balance vegan butter, and 2T of flour and cooked that for about two minutes stirring out the lumps. I then whisked in 2 cups of almond milk, that is a personal preference because I do not drink cows milk anymore. While whisking constantly I raised the temperature to medium high, and let the sauce thicken. I then stirred in 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese, and set aside to cool. After I finished the sauce I shredded my mozzarella cheese, got a tub of ricotta out and was ready to assemble. You know the drill..noodle…sauce…cheese…veggies…noodle..sauce…cheese…veggies etc, you get the point. I topped it with a final layer of noodles, and cheese, dollops of “butter” and in she went to my pre heated 375* oven. I baked her for 45 minutes covered, and 20 minutes uncovered. Once she was nice and bubbly I let her rest on the counter (while I took pictures) and made a salad to go with it, and Voila!
This one is going in the files for the future cook book that may or may not ever happen 😉
Food is Art is Life