More Time and Worth It

Disappearing Raise The Roof Lasagna*

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Many people will recognize that the name of this dish is a mash-up of two well-known vegan lasagna recipes created by two well known healthy food authorities: "Disappearing Lasagna" by Chef A.J., and "Raise the Roof (Sweet Potato) Lasagna" by Rip Essylstyn.

I've been on a mission to find good vegan lasagna that tastes reasonably similar to the cheesy version we all remember. Hats off to Chef A.J. for coming up with a faux ricotta filling that is truly satisfying; it makes the dish.  One variation here is to include some larger nut pieces for crunch. I like Rip Essylstyn's approach to the veggie component, and this recipe is simpler than his original.  This may be as good as vegan lasagna is ever going to get.  It seems to taste even better as leftovers, and it freezes!

PASTA SAUCE: At least 4 cups. Store - bought or use the fat-free low sodium Home-Made version, which is easy, but hopefully you've made some in advance.


THE NUT LAYER:
1/2 cups (or a little more) of coursely chopped walnuts, to sprinkle among the layers.  (You can use the food processor to coursely chop these). 


FAUX RICOTTA FILLING:

2 cans cannellini beans, rinsed & drained  ( = about 3 cups cooked beans)
2 oz (a large bunch) of fresh basil (or 1 TBSP of dry basil)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup miso
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

20 oz of frozen chopped spinach: thawed and drained. Process all ingredients EXCEPT the spinach in a food processor until smooth. Add the spinach and process a little more.  



THE VEGGIE LAYER:


1 entire small head of garlic, all cloves chopped   (use these raw)
1 lg onion chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 head of broccoli, chopped
1-2 celary stalks
Approx 1.5 cups chopped carrots

Keep the garlic pieces raw.  Dry-fry the other ingredients in a non-stick pan (adding a bit of water if needed).  I usually cook each vegetable separately while chopping up the next one.   Don't use oil.   I recommend not using salt (it's optional).  Combine the raw garlic and cooked veggies together in a bowl.  



LASAGNA NOODLES:
 

Can you skip the boiling step?    If you use whole wheat noodles, boil in water until they're thoroughly cooked.  If they're partially cooked, you run the risk that they'll be under-done since the oven may not finish them off, and whole wheat pasta tends to require more cooking than white.   Some brands of whole wheat lasagna noodles claim that they cook completely in the oven, but we haven't confirmed this.  If you wanted to try this, you would need pasta sauce completely surrounding the noodles, and also would probably need to bake in a covered dish.  (We bake in an uncovered dish to help evaporate the excess liquid.  

FYI, it's easier to work with boiled noodles if you boil them at the last minute, then cool them with water so they're not too hot to handle.  If you boil them too far in advance they may get stuck together.  You probably need 1/2 - 3/4 pounds of noodles.   


ASSEMBLING THE LASAGNA:

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Start with a layer of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, then noodles, then spread on the "ricotta," then the veggie layer, and repeat until out of room. (If you're going with uncooked noodles, they'll need sauce on both sides).  Don't forget to sprinkle the nuts at various points along the way.  

The "ricotta" is excellent, but use thin layers.  Too much imparts a squishy texture and can be overwhelming.  You may need to thin it with water to make spreading a thin layer possible.  

The exact amount of each component depends on the size of your baking pan. I used a 9 x 9 x 2" pan, and used about 2 cups of "Ricotta" filling, 4 cups of sauce, and all of the veggie filling.  

Keeping the layers thin allows adequate amounts of noodles.  You'll probably have left-over fillings of various kinds; use them in other ways.

Bake uncovered in a preheated 375 degree oven for an hour. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

 

 

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No Meat Loaf*

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Modified from the ‘Eating Right for Cancer Survival’ DVD
produced by The Cancer Project (a project of PCRM, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)

This is surprisingly similar to meat loaf, and a little bit addicting.  Baking uncovered s important to get rid of excess liquid.     

INGREDIENTS:

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2 onions
4 celery stalks
2 carrots (1 cup)
1 green pepper
8 oz mushrooms
1 med zucchini (1 cup)

2.5 cups rolled oats
1.5 cups cooked bulgur

1 TBSP soy sauce
1 cup plain tomato sauce

2 teasp mustard
½ teasp dry sage
½ teasp dry thyme
¼ teasp pepper
(no salt is needed)

Bread crumbs, approx 1.5 cups.
½ c BBQ sauce (optional), or whatever quantity is desired.


INSTRUCTIONS:

Use food processor to chop walnuts, onion, celery, carrot, and green pepper:  well-chopped but not too mushy. 

Transfer to a large bowl

Combine with the remaining ingredients except BBQ sauce.

Stir, while gradually adding additional bread crumbs until mixture becomes thick enough to be difficult to stir.  

Lightly spray a 5 x 9” loaf pan with cooking spray, or rub a small amount of oil in the pan with a paper towel.  
Transfer the mixture into the pan, smooth the surface, top w/ BBQ sauce.

Bake one hour at 350 degrees *uncovered.*   Allow to partially cool before serving.

 

 

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Asian Stir-Fry with Seitan*

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(Photo shows a variation with pineapple pieces)


Modified from ("Chinese Vegetable and Hoisin Stir-Fry") at about.com

NOTE:  Seitan is optional in this recipe; you could have a veggie stir-fry.  Seitan adds an appealing meat-like ingredient.   It's pretty easy to make seitan yourself from vital wheat gluten.  Seitan is essentially pure gluten and doesn’t add much nutritional value, but it can be a delicious meaty ingredient.

                                                                           

Seitan with sauce:  seitan_w_sauce_100.jpg

INGREDIENTS:


2 TBSP soy sauce
2 TBSP rice vinegar
2 TBSP hoisin sauce or BBQ sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 TBSP corn starch
3/4 cup water or vegetable broth
Approx 2 cups broccoli, chopped
1 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped (Optional)
1 yellow onion coarsely chopped
Approx 1 cup of seitan, cut into 1 inch pieces (see the recipe for home-made seitan)
Optional: roasted peanuts for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

In a small saucepan, whisk together soy sauce, rice vinegar, vegetable broth, garlic, ginger and corn starch over medium heat.  (Don't add the   hoisin or BBQ sauce yet; that comes later). 

Allow to simmer until mixture thickens, about 5 minutes, then set aside.

In a large dry non-stick wok or skillet, fry seitan either dry, or with a little water or with 2 tbsp extra soy sauce, until lightly browned, a few minutes. Add onions, pepper and broccoli (or whatever veggies you are using) and stir-fry another few minutes.  Don't over-cook veggies, they should be very crisp.

Add sauce mixture to the stir-fry and combine well, allowing to cook another 2-3 minutes, until broccoli is done cooking

At this point, stir in hoi-sin sauce or BBQ sauce.  (If this is done too early, the sugar in these ingredients tends to burn in the pan)

Serve with noodles or rice.
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                                                 The freshly made seitan before cooking:







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Home Made Seitan

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HOME MADE SEITAN

Note that there are many variations, and amounts are not critical.
Vital wheat gluten is available at grocery stores or health food stores.  Nutritional yeast, if using, is available at health food stores).

INGREDIENTS:

  • Two 6.5 oz boxes of vital wheat gluten  (each box is 6.5 oz which is about 1.5 cups, so you’ll use about 13 oz. = about 3 cups)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (completely optional - don't make a special trip to the health food store; We haven't yet done the test with vs. without; most recipes don't call for this).   FYI, nutritional yeast is not the same as ordinary yeast.  It is added for flavor and comes as dry flakes, widely available in health food stores.
  • 3 TBSP total of dried spices or your choice, like garlic powder, onion powder, turmeric, etc.
  • ½ cup low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 2.5 cups of water


DIRECTIONS:

  • Mix the dry ingredients, then add in the wet ingredients.  It will become too thick to mix with a spoon, so finish mixing by kneading with your hands.  Don’t over-knead, which can worsen the consistency.
  • At this point, you can cut into meatball-sized pieces with a scissors, or flatten it out on a board and cut it into pieces with a knife.
  • Meanwhile, pour 12 cups of water or vegetable broth into a pot. (or use water with vegetable bullion cubes)
  • Add 1.5 cups of tamari to the water.
  • Add the seitan pieces into the pot of cold broth, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  (It is said that the texture is better when the pieces are added to cold liquid first).
  • Remove the cooked seitan from the liquid (you may save the liquid for another use if you like).
  • Press or strain the water out of seitan (as you would with a block of tofu), such as by pressing into a strainer.  (See the Tofu recipe, and scroll to the bottom, for easy methods for doing this).

Ready to add to your stir-fry.  See:  www.nutritionasmedicine.org/drjoe/asian_stir_fry_with_seitan

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Seitan with sauce                                                                                  Seitan in stir-fry

 

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Minestrone Soup*

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 MINISTRONE: 


NOTES:   

  • Originally contributed by Lauren Bateman, with refinements / measurements by Dr. Joe
  • Quantities are mostly arbitrary and reflect what I happened to use, and it turned out fabulous.
  • (And many of the ingredients are optional / arbitrary, so don't stress about them)
  • Most spices were added part way through cooking as a compromise to preserve their flavor and also let the flavors mix and develop.  (Not sure what a professional chef would think of this).
  • Note that salt is not included, delicious without it;  could always be added at the table.
  • Marjoram is not essential, I have not yet performed a taste-test with and without.
  • Freezes very well


INGREDIENTS:


1 quart water
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped  (about 4 cups)
Two 15-oz (or one 28 oz) cans of crushed, chopped or whole tomatoes
                  (if whole, can cut the with a scissors)
2 medium zucchini cut in half-moons (about 3 cups)
Fresh parsley, one bunch, chopped (about 1 cup or more)
1-2 bay leaves
3 medium potatoes, chopped (3 – 4 cups)
one 15-oz can of cannellini beans or other white beans (= 1.5 cups cooked beans)
3 stalks celery, chopped (about ¾ cups)
3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (about ¾ cup)
¼ teasp ground pepper (I used 3/8th teaspoon – was too peppery for most people, but just right for me)
3 teaspoons dried ground thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried Powdered thyme)  
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2-3 medium to large garlic cloves minced (about 1+ TBSP)

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Saute chopped onion for several minutes in a large pot (optional: with 1 teasp oil, or some water if needed)
Add the water, bay leaves, pepper and other ingredients EXCEPT potatoes, zucchini, parsley, garlic, and other spices.
Boil, then simmer for 15 minutes and add potatoes, garlic and remaining spices.
Simmer an additional 10 minutes and add zucchini, & parsley
Simmer an additional 5 – 10 minutes or until potatoes and zucchini are cooked. 

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