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Better Than Classic Lasagna

By • May 26th, 2007 • Category: Pasta Print Print

Better Than Classic Lasagna

This is a glorious layering of pasta, light and tasty tofu “cheese,” savory “beefy” crumbles, and a creamy béchamel sauce that can be prepared two ways – either with or without dairy ingredients. I know you’ll love the scrumptious flavors and textures of this high-protein classic.

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Lasagna Ingredients:
8-10 sheets of no-boil lasagna noodles
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 c. coarsely chopped basil leaves (reserve 1/4 cup)

Béchamel Sauce Ingredients:
6 T. vegan margarine, or olive oil, or unsalted butter
6 T. unbleached flour
3 c. unsweetened soy milk (or 2% dairy milk)
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated nutmeg

Tofu “Cheese” Layer:
1 block extra firm tofu, drained well
1/2 c. vegan Parmesan-style cheese (or freshly grated Pecorino Romano), optional
1/2 c. chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 c. chopped spinach
1/2 t. grated nutmeg
1 t. salt

“Beefy” crumbles Layer:
1 pkg. “beef”-style crumbles
2 cloves garlic, mashed
1 onion, chopped into 1/4″ dice
3 t. dried oregano
2 T. chopped San Marzano tomatoes or prepared sauce (1/2 cup reserved for filling additional layer)
Salt and pepper to taste

To prepare:
First, drizzle olive oil over the bottom of an 8X8-inch baking dish and set aside.

Next, prepare the béchamel sauce by heating (soy)milk until hot but not boiling. You can do this in a microwave. (Milk at room temperature will work, but heating, in my experience, makes a smoother sauce.)

Melt the fat you’re using in a saucepan, but don’t let it burn or brown. Slowly whisk in the flour until you have a smooth roux. Continue whisking for a minute or two, then begin adding the hot (soy)milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and is creamy but not runny. Season with salt and pepper and the grated nutmeg, cover, and set aside.

Now prepare the tofu filling by crumbling the drained tofu into a bowl, work the tofu with your fingers until smooth – the texture should be similar to ricotta. Add all remaining ingredients, mix together with a fork until blended, season with salt, pepper, a bit more nutmeg, and set aside. (Hint: when preparing the dairy-free version, you can substitute 3 T. of nutritional yeast flakes as a tasty substitute for the vegan cheese or grated Romano.)

Finally, prepare the “beefy” crumbles, by heating olive oil over medium heat in a heavy saute pan. Add garlic and onions and stir and fry until they’re translucent – about five minutes, then add your oregano. Saute for a few minutes until the oregano becomes nicely aromatic. Add the crumbles and continue to stir fry until everything is browned and heated through. Add the two tablespoons of the tomatoes along with another sprinkling of olive oil and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Season and set aside.

To assemble:
Place all layer ingredients within reach. Start with a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles. Spoon “beef” mixture onto noodles, then some of the bechamel. Toss on some of the basil. Add another layer of noodle, then tofu mixture, basil and more bechamel sauce. Continue layering, ending with a layer of the 1/2 cup of reserved tomatoes, then place lasagna noodles on top. Spoon the remaining bechamel sauce over the top, making sure to cover the entire surface of the uncooked top layer of noodle.

Take about 1/4 cup of fresh water and pour around the sides of the casserole to bring the moisture content up a bit, drizzle additional olive oil over the top then cover with foil, and bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking the lasagna for another 15 minutes or so. The lasagna should be bubbling and the noodles cooked through. Remove from oven, sprinkle with reserved chopped basil, additional olive oil if desired, and serve.

This lasagna keeps well and is even more delicious the next day. I usually make two 8X8 inch pans and then freeze one for days when I’m too busy to cook but want a quick, hearty, and nutritious supper.

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is Toni Fiore was raised by an Italian-American father and a German mother who instilled in her a sociable nature and the love of travel and of good food. She has lived in Italy and Germany and now resides in southern Maine. She is the author of: Totally Vegetarian: Easy, Fast, Comforting Cooking for Every Kind of Vegetarian
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15 comments
Jane
Jane

Love the lasagna and love vegan diets. Keep up and may God bless!

Tatiana
Tatiana

A bit too much oil for me, though. :)

Tatiana
Tatiana

Excellent recipe! I loved it!! (vegan version) Thank you!

Michelle
Michelle

I just wanted to say that I love this site

ROSY
ROSY

I've seen your show on " better than classic" (Lasagna). I am going to start to change ways of eating for a better health. Thank you for your show It teaches us to eat better and healthy. be well be safe God bless

Gene Cialini
Gene Cialini

Just watched for 1st. time-Can't wait to try Lasagna Recipe-Looks yummy& healthy yet.Thanks

Mr.Designer
Mr.Designer

Wow, that lasagna was good. I left out the spinach and basil because I'm not the biggest fan of greens and it was still delicious. This recipe has been added to my "make again" list. :-)

Chef
Chef

Hi Liz, Beefy style vegetarian crumbles are made by a variety of companies and usually sold frozen or in the refrigerator section of the supermarket near the tofu or tempeh. The brands I prefer are, Morningstar Farms or Yves. These brands are pretty much available everywhere. Thanks for writing! Toni

Elizabeth Walter
Elizabeth Walter

Please tell me what is a beefy style crumble and where do I get it? Thank you, Liz Walter

claire DeLuca
claire DeLuca

Love your show. Is there anywhere I can find the calorie and fat metrics for this recipe and others you feature? Thank you.

Ron
Ron

This was great (I used soy milk and regular parmesan cheese). This was my first time making a bechamel sauce and my wife was really impressed. Your recipe is very detailed and easy to follow and I couldn't screw it up. Thanks and love the show.

JIM WOODS
JIM WOODS

THIS WAS VERY GOOD, EVEN THE NON-VEGETARIANS LIKED IT BETTER THAN THE PURCHASED LASAGNA.

Chef
Chef

Hi Carolyn, The mandoline and julienne slicer I used are made by ROSLE, I purchased them is a kitchen shop in Portland. That particular show is a few years old, I'm not sure any longer of their availability. However I would suggest you look into a BENRINER mandoline. It's handheld, inexpensive and does just about everything! Toni

CAROLYN ROTUNNO
CAROLYN ROTUNNO

I watchdd your show on the vegie lazagana. I loved thee haandd held mandoline and the julianne cutter you used. Could you let me know who the manufacture is and where I can buy them. Thankyou Carolyn

Migdalia
Migdalia

I just saw a show featuring sweet lasagna-panzanella, I can't find the recipe on this site. Can you please email it to me. Thank you very much. P.S I love Toni Fiore, she's very detailed. Migdalia

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