Vegan Freezer Meals: Lasagna

My husband works away from home Monday-Friday.  His shifts are long and the shared apartment he stays in doesn’t really inspire him to create fabulous meals (although he is a fantastic cook when motivation strikes!). I spend one evening a week making and freezing meals for him to have for lunch and dinner and me to have for lunch at work.  I have been doing this for years and I love knowing he is eating a home cooked meal and it’s nice to think we are sharing a meal even though we can’t be together.

Since I have switched to mostly plant-based eating these meals have to change as well.  Some things lend themselves to freezing better than others. Variations of  curry, chili, shepard’s pie, meatballs and stew have been staple freezer meals for me and I am now starting to make these vegan while still being tasty and freezer eligible.  Tonight I decided to make a vegan lasagna.  I looked at lots of vegan lasagna recipes and took some of the techniques I saw and adjusted the meat lasagna recipe that I usually make to create the recipe below.

There are 4 main components to this recipe. The tofu ricotta layer, the vegetable layer, the tomato sauce layer and the pesto layer.  This is a time consuming recipe but you could make the pesto and tomato sauces the day before to make this come together quickly.

Tomato Sauce

  • 28oz can diced tomatoes
  • 14oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Pesto

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 tbsp water if needed

Tofu Ricotta

  • 2 packages of extra firm tofu
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup chopped cashews
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Tbsp lemon juice

Vegetable

  • 2 tbsp grape seed oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 3 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 10 oz fresh spinach (1 bag)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

Place all ingredients for the pesto into a food processor and pulse until combined. Put into a small bowl and set aside.

Add oil to large skillet on medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  You could add other veggies in to this mixture – peppers, zucchini, carrots would all work well.  Add the spinach and cook until greens are all wilted.  Add the rest of the ingredients, cook for another 3 minutes and then remove from heat. Stir in a heaping tablespoon of the pesto mixture.


Place ricotta ingredients into food processor and pulse until mixture has the consistency of dry ricotta – do not over mix.

Preheat oven to 375

Combine all ingredients for tomato sauce in a medium saucepan and simmer on medium low for 15 minutes.


Cook one box of lasagna noodles.  I pour boiling water onto noodles using a cookie sheet and leave for 5-10 minutes.  I find this to be easier than boiling in a pot as the noodles do not overcook (I hate mushy lasagna noodles) and are easy to work with.


You are now ready to assemble to lasagna.  Put 1 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan and lay down a layer of noodles.  Top with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the veggie mixture, 1/4 of the tomato sauce and then a few spoonfuls of the pesto.

Add a layer of noodles and repeat the process two more times.  Pour the remaining 1/4 of the tomato sauce on top of the last layer of noodles.  I topped it off with 1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese but that is optional.

Cover the pan with tinfoil and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 10-20 minutes until the edges start to brown.  Remove from oven and allow lasagna to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

This recipe made 10 generous servings and will be healthy delicious lunches for us all week.


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