I thought of my boyfriend as I tied my Vera Bradley apron around me.
"I really hope Stuart likes this," I told my mom. "He hates tofu. But the only time he had it was here when we sauteed in in little cubes, so hopefully this will be different."
"Just don't tell him what's in it," she said.
I shrugged as I began preparing dinner for that night: lasagna rolls with a creamy vegetable filling.
Stuart just got a job working for Crocs at the mall, where I also work (but I work at Victoria's Secret!). Because it was his first week, he was staying at my house, which is about a ten minute walk from the mall. I had already returned from work and was ready to tackle the lasagna I'd been wanting to make ever since I saw it in the cookbook Vegan Family Meals by Ann Gentry.
Thanks, Amazon, for the picture!
It took a while to make, but it was definitely worth the effort. This is by far the BEST vegan lasagna I have devoured yet. And I do mean devoured. The tofu based filling is so delicious and creamy, it totally passes for a ricotta cheese filling. Plus, it's much cuter than your average lasagna because it's rolled into cute little packages!
You know what's even better? Stuart said he actually liked it. That's a win in my book.
I know the recipe says that it makes 12 rolls, but I easily got 14-16 out of this recipe. It made a LOT. So delish. I didn't make the tomato sauce; instead, I just used a jarred tomato sauce by Barilla. And it was still amazing.
Get ready to get your taste buds sizzlin.
Serves 6 (makes 12 rolls)
- 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 2 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 1 head broccoli, stems removed and florets finely chopped
- 2 cups Tofu Ricotta Cheese (recipe follows)
- 12 eggless lasagna noodles
- 3 cups Everyday Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
- Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, basil, salt, and pepper. Saute until the onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the carrots, zucchini, and broccoli and saute until the carrots are crisp-tender, about 12 minutes. Let cool completely. Mix the vegetable mixture int the tofu ricotta cheese.
- Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the noodles, then toss them with 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
- Coat a 13 x 9 by 2-inch baking dish with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil. Spread 1 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish. Using a spatula, spread about 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture over each lasagna sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch of each end uncovered. Roll up each sheet tightly and place it seam-side down in the baking dish. Pour the remaining 2 cups tomato sauce over the lasagna rolls.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Bake until the sauce bubbles, about 55 minutes.. Remove the foil and continue to bake for 15 minutes.
Tofu Ricotta Cheese
- 1 (14-ounce) container water-packed firm tofu, drained and cut into quarters
- 2/3 cup yellow miso
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 large cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth. The cheese will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated.
Everyday Tomato Sauce
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
Heat the olive oil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and salt and saute until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and the water. Bring to a gentle simmer, then decrease the heat to low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, to allow the flavors to blend. Stir in the basil and oregano. Remove from the heat.