Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Recipe: Kale Lasagna (vegan)

(Lasagna with kale, all ready to cover with foil and bake)

Kale in my lasagna? You bet! I've put spinach in my lasagna for years (even decades), and I'll bet you have, too. So the next logical step for me was to substitute kale where my recipe says spinach. I made this lasagna recipe last December, and it gave me a chance to finally use up the remaining frozen fresh kale being held in my garage that I picked from our garden just before our first big snowfall.

This lasagna recipe is vegan and was inspired by a recipe in the cookbook Eating for Lower Cholesterol by Catherine Jones and Elaine Trujillo. I made it before Christmas, put it in the freezer, and then pulled it out to bake during the holidays. Easy!

Kale Lasagna

• 8-ounce package whole wheat lasagna noodles (uncooked)
• 16 ounces extra firm tofu
• 7-ounce package soy shredded mozzarella cheese
• 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce (look for one made with no added sweetener, one that uses olive oil, and is relatively low in sodium)
• 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
• 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (can use fresh if available – to taste, 1/3-1/2 cup thinly sliced)
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 small onion, finely diced
• 8-ounce package sliced mushrooms (I used baby portabella for their hearty flavor)
• 1 medium zucchini, washed, cut lengthwise in quarters and slice thinly (or shred with a grater)
• 1 large carrot, wash, and chop to small pieces in food processor or shred with grater
• 4-6 cups of chopped fresh kale (I remove the large stems and then chop the kale in a food processor)
• 14.5 ounce can of cooked small red beans (rinse and drain well)

Step 1
Mix together in a bowl and set aside:
16 ounces extra firm tofu, drain well, mash with fork
2/3 of the 7-ounce package soy shredded mozzarella cheese (save about 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese for the final top layer)

Step 2
Mix together in another bowl and set aside:
One 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce
One 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or fresh)
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Step 3
Add oil to a non-stick pan, heat, and then add all chopped veggies to pan and cook 3-5 minutes until slightly cooked.
Add 1-2 tbsp. of water if necessary to keep veggies from sticking on the pan.
Then add red beans to veggies and mix together.
Season with a bit of salt and pepper.

(Veggies cooked and ready to layer with the noodles and tofu mixture)

Step 4
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 if using a glass baking dish).

Using a 9x13 inch-baking pan, start with 1 cup of sauce on the bottom of the dish. Place 3-4 uncooked noodles on bottom of dish. Spread half of veggies including juices, half of tofu and cheese mixture, and 1 cup of sauce over the noodles. Then repeat these layers ending with noodles, remaining sauce, and the soy-mozzarella cheese set-aside in the beginning.

(Building the layers)

Step 5
Add 1 cup of water to the dish (next time I'm going to try adding only 1/2 cup of water).
Cover with foil. Place on a cookie sheet and cook for approximately one hour. (Make sure noodles are soft by cutting through with a knife.) Take off foil to cook for another 5-10 minutes. Let sit for ~10 minutes before eating.

(Yum, yum, yum, however, next time I'll add only 1/2 cup water!)

Serve with a fresh green salad, whole grain bread spread with roasted garlic cloves, and a bit of fresh fruit or dark chocolate for dessert.

This recipe can be quickly put together using a food processor to chop or grate the vegetables. It is easy to assemble and can be held for a day or two in the refrigerator before cooking, freeze to cook later, or even cook ahead of time and then reheat when needed. It serves 8-12 depending on how large you cut the pieces and is a great dish to have ready to eat when you are feeding a crowd during the holidays or other times of the year you have a house full of people. It is also a great-tasting dish to take to a family that needs help with their meals for any reason.

Next time, even try making the recipe with any other type of healthy and delicious greens such as collards.

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Unknown said...

This was fantastic! Thanks for the great recipe. I will definitely check out your other ones. I am trying to learn to cook seasonal vegetables (and greens are something with which I have little experience). I have to admit, I used real cheese. I just can't do soy cheese.

Diana Dyer said...

I agree with you about vegan cheese - it is more for looks than flavor or texture. It is a great recipe though. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you will visit again in 2011!

Anonymous said...

A nice substitute for vegan cheese (that keeps the vegan thing going): Soak a handful or two of pinenuts in warm water. Puree with a squeeze of lemon from a lemon wedge. This mixture is great spread over vegan lasagna, and browns a bit if put under the broiler. My family requests it over parmesean!

Diana Dyer said...

I love the last comment about a substitute for vegan cheese, which I almost never purchase anymore as I am continuing to focus more and more on buying food that is the least processed possible plus locally grown. Pine nuts are not local to Michigan by any stretch of the imagination but at least they are a whole food. So this sounds like a very acceptable substitution for vegan cheese. Thanks for the tip!

Diana Dyer said...

I just checked with my daughter in law about her version of vegan cheese and found out she blends cashews with roasted red pepper and garlic. She swears that mixing it with macaroni makes it look just like the what comes from a box and is sooooo much better tasting! I might leave out the roasted red pepper if it was a topping for lasagna to give more of a traditional cheese appearance, but I can't wait to try these versions. So much good food to cook and eat!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the recipe. I have been thinking about lasagna all day at work, so I made your recipe. I added some vegan Italian "sausage". It comes out of the oven in a few minutes. I can't wait!

Olga said...

Wow this is great! I have a collection of kale recipes, but they are all quick'n'simple. Check them out when you have time.
This lasagna looks fantastic, and (based on the ingrediests) should taste just as good as it looks.
Really happy I found your blog, Diana. You have an amazing story.

Taylor said...

I made this last night and it was absolutely terrific! I had never made lasagna before, and was pleasantly surprised with the result :) I did replace the zucchini with broccoli and used diaya vegan cheese. Thank you so much for this hearty, healthy recipe!