I've had an Italian start to the weekend - Pizza for Friday night dinner and this awesome Homemade Vegan Zucchini Kale Lasagna for Saturday lunch.
I'll be honest, this is my first time trying to veganize a dish that has Cheese in it. I'm never vegan when it comes to Italian food either. I'm more than liberal with cheese, usually adding more than what the recipe calls for. I'm a big fat LOVER of cheese. I've been known to eating cheese cubes the way other's eat chocolate. Sometimes, I like it over chocolate...
So what converted me? While I'm not converted, I'm definitely trying to reduce dairy. I'm also very excited to try a new range of cheese that I can make at home. I've always wanted to make my own cheese - sounds super exciting. I've looked around endlessly for vegetarian Rennet, but I'm yet to find it in Bangalore. Bangaloreans out there, any tips? So I gave up the idea of making my own cheese except Cottage Cheese or Paneer. And now I can make my own cheese - no rennet or any bacteria needed.
When I stumbled upon a recipe for vegan Mozzarella, no one could stop me. I HAD to try it!
While my cheese wasn't as stretchy as Mozzarella is meant to be, it tasted good and added the required creaminess to the Lasagna. I did not use Pasta sheets. I make Lasagna very rarely and I usually end up throwing out half the box of lasagna sheets as they are way past their shelf life. So I did what everyone is doing these days - used vegetables as pasta. I see new recipes for Zoodles almost every other days.
Zucchini works so well in Italian food. Lightly steamed zucchini tends to have the al-dente texture that pasta demands. I used thinly sliced baby zucchini to replace the pasta sheets for the lasagna. I also used Kale as I like the pepperyness it adds. If you cannot find Kale, use spinach. I used raw Kale cut into large pieces, you can steam it to soften them and then use it. I layered slices of Tofu too. That's just cause I had it and I love the texture of Tofu. I know, I'm weird, but I really do love Tofu.
All that I talked about already is the texture component of the lasagna, the taste is entirely due to this super easy chunky Tomato Sauce. You've gotta try this sauce, even if you are not making the lasagna. I can have bowls of it with anything - Bread, Roti, Rice, Noodles. And it is so simple to make too. Just fry onions, garlic, carrots and peppers in olive oil. Add tomato puree and all the herbs and spices. Cook until you have a nice thick chunky sauce all perfect to layer on that Lasagna. Job done!!
Bake it until the cheese brown a little and the zucchini and kale are cooked, about 15 minutes. You have to eat this immediately, just because it tastes amazing when hot.
And if you are not a fan of vegan cheese, just replace the cheese with regular Mozzarella, I bet it tastes just as great.
Tag me on Instagram @oneteaspoonoflife when you make this recipe. Happy Lasagna Weekend to you, Ciao!!
If you liked this, you may also like:
- Gobi Manchurian Pizza - Fusion pizza topped with fried Cauliflower and Indo-Chinese Manchurian Sauce.
- Curried Brown Rice Zucchini Fritters - Fritters or Tikkis made with mashed Brown Rice and grated Zucchini. Spiced with Garam Masala and pan fried.
- Eggplant Pizza - Pizza made with Eggplant as the base and topped with homemade tomato basil sauce and cheese.
Vegan Zucchini Kale Lasagna
Zucchini Kale Lasagna is a vegan and gluten free pasta dish made using zucchini, kale, vegan mozzarella cheese and a chunky tomato sauce.
Recipe Type: Pasta
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 2
5-6 baby Zucchini
5-6 large Kale leaves
100 gms firm Tofu
For the Vegan Cheese:
1/2 cup Cashew nuts
1/4 cup Tapioca Flour
1/4 tsp Mustard Powder
1/2 tsp Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Water
For the Tomato Sauce:
1.5 cups Tomato Puree
1 large Onion
1 small Carrot
1/2 green Capsicum
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Sugar
2 tsp dried Basil
1 tsp Thyme
1 Tbsp minced Garlic
1 tsp Celery Salt
1/2 tsp Chilli Powder
Salt to taste
Water as required
To make Vegan Cheese:
Boil the cashew nuts in 1 cup of water for 8-10 minutes until soft.
Drain and keep aside to cool.
Blend together cashew nuts, tapioca flour, mustard, vinegar and salt along with 1/2 cup water.
Heat a non stick pan and add the blended paste to it.
Stir continuously until it thickens. Adjust salt and water.
To make Tomato Sauce:
Heat olive oil in a pan.
Add finely chopped onion, carrot, capsicum along with minced garlic. Saute for 4-5 minutes.
Add tomato puree, celery salt, red chilli powder, basil, thyme and sugar.
Simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add water if required.
Add salt to taste and mix well.
To Assemble the Lasagna:
Take a deep baking dish and layer with chopped kale, sliced zucchini and sliced tofu.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper.
Spread the tomato sauce.
Spread the vegan cheese.
Similarly, make another layer of the vegetables, sauce and cheese.
Preheat the oven to 180 degree C.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the cheese browns.
- Replace the vegan cheese with regular Mozzarella for a non-vegan version.
- In case you don't have Tapioca Flour, you can grind sabudana or sago pearls in a high power mixer to get a fine powder.
- Kale can be replaced with spinach (palak). You can steam the kale or spinach before using it in the lasagna.
- If you don't have celery salt, add chopped celery to the sauce along with the onions or just use regular salt.