In my Husband's vocabulary spinach is a four letter word. That's why i wasn't surprised when his response to my announcing i was going to try making a vegan lasagna was thinly veiled concern.
"Why are you so skeptical?" i confronted him "isn't everything i make usually pretty good in the end?"
This didn't completely erase his look of concern, but he nodded, unconvinced.
White Bean+Ratatouille Lasagna (with Daiya---you gotta love it!)
Okay, this lasagna is a bit of work, as are most made from scratch meals, and require a few steps in the prep process.
it consists of three layers of noodles, sandwiching a layer of white beans and daiya, and a layer of ratatouille, and the whole thing is smothered in homemade vegetable tomato sauce and topped with more daiya.
vege sauce: ok you're not idiots, make a vegetable pasta sauce. most common vegetables to use would be
mushrooms (i skipped these for personal ethical reasons, just kidding, there's no ethical reason on earth not to eat a mushroom.),
2 cans of diced tomatoes (i did one but in retrospect i didn't make enough sauce, so i would say do two of everything--two carrots, two cans of tomatoes, two celery sticks etc...
use a couple table spoons of olive oil an cook vege in a deep pan or pot, or a dutch oven, whatever. add some spices, parsley is good, basil, oregano, thyme, all good options. salt and pepper, and the two cans of tomatoes but not all the liquid (i save the liquid for use in other things like soups.). let it cook down, add a bay leaf if you want. when it's done i put mine through the blender to make it smoother and easier to use, but this is really a question of preference, not necessary at all. however if you have picky eaters this is a good way to avoid them picking out the vegetables.
White Bean layer.
1 can white kidney beans (or whatever white beans you want.)
almond-milk (or whatever--water will work)
put this stuff in a good blender or food processor and blend til smooth. adjust the flavour and thickness based on personal preference. it's meant to replace the ricotta so it is meant to be a bit on the bland side. you may even want to add a touch of honey to simulate the sweetness of the cheese. but whatever, go wild.
The Ratatouille Layer.
okay it's a poor excuse for a ratatouille and true blue ratatouille lovers would probably be offended. i don't use peppers, or yellow squash (not that i discourage their use, i just don't eat peppers and small yellow summer squash isn't in season these days).
1 japanese eggplant (or whatever)
1-2 zucchinis depending on the size
six tomatoes (i used half sweet yellow and half roma--i like the roma for this because they are fleshy.
thyme, parsley, basil salt pepper (or Herbamare--my secret weapon.)
heat water til boiling and blanch the tomatoes. (cut a small X on the bottom of each to make removing the skin easier)
as soon as the skin begins to peel up or spilt plunge into cold water. peel, seed, and dice tomatoes
slice zucchinis and eggplants.
Okay, now you're ready to assemble. you have your sauce, your beans, your sliced vegetables, and your cheese ready to go. now you need to cook noodles. you've already got a pot of boiling water from blanching your tomatoes, so bring it back to a boil. i like to cook one layer of noodles at time so they don't get all stuck together, but i realize that is overly finicky for most people so just boil your noodles. i use the regular lasagna noodles not the ready to bake ones. i find 6 minutes to be good. they are firm but not too firm, and they cook the rest of the way in the oven so they aren't over cooked by the end.
How I Assembled it:
drizzle of olive oil, first layer of noodles, layer of tomato sauces (me realizing i didn't make enough tomato sauce), second layer of noodles, layer of eggplant, zucchini, (me realizing i'm running out of space so i have to cram more into this layer) white beans and cheese, layer of noodles, layer of fresh tomatoes and a bit of remaining sauce, layer of cheese.
How i SHOULD HAVE assembled it:
Layer of tomato sauce, layer of noodles, layer of white beans and cheese (add spinach here if you want), layer of zucchinis, eggplant, and fresh tomatoes (drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with herbs and salt and pepper), layer of noodles, more sauce, cheese.
Bake at 375 F for 40 minutes covered with tin foil, and then for another 20 or so uncovered. or adjust for your oven, mine tends to be a bit hot, so anywhere between 350 and 400 i would say.
I would say it turned out to be a pretty big success. we eat it over several days and were both disappointed when it was all gone. i suspect that this recipe will probably become a beloved classic around our house.