Vegan Mofo day 24: Worldly Wednesday: Walnut Meat, tofu ricotta, and pesto lasagna

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Hello everyone! I’m very excited today because I just got put up on my college program’s website about the work I’m doing. They interviewed me and I talked about my blog and my future plans of incorporating a vegan project into my education plan.

You can view that article here!

Anyways, on to the food!

This lasagna is quite rich with the walnut meat, and has tons of protein due to the tofu ricotta, and a healthy dose of greens due to the pesto (with basil and parsley!).

This walnut meat here is very similar to my earlier recipe but changed slightly to change the flavor from a hamburger style to a more italian style. The tofu ricotta is also quite similar to the one for the pizza recipe I posted earlier on Sept. 12, but I changed it again because there is a separate basil factor with the pesto, so extra basil in the ricotta was not necessary.

Here is the recipe:

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Ingredients:

For the walnut meat:

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 portobello cap
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes in juice, no salt added, canned
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the pesto:

  • 2 cups basil, packed
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, not packed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the ricotta:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 tsp salt free italian seasoning blend
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 3 tbsp water

Other necessary ingredients:

  • 1 & 2/3 cup Tomato sauce, either homemade (your favorite recipe) or store bought (I love Victoria brand marinara)
  • no-boil vegan lasagna noodles
  • 1/3 cup Daiya brand vegan mozzarella style cheese, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare the walnut meat. Place walnuts, onion, garlic and portobello into a food processor and blend until everything melds together but remains chunky.
  3. Place this mushy walnut meat into a bowl, and fold in the remaining ingredients.
  4. On a parchment lined baking sheet, pat down the “meat” into a thin layer with a spatula.
  5. Bake 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and with a spatula, scrape up the “meat” and flip it.
  6. Bake for 15 more minutes and set aside.
  7. Prepare the pesto. First place the basil, parsley, and garlic and chop in the food processor until finely ground.
  8. Add the pine nuts and olive oil into the mix, and blend. You will need to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula to ensure that everything gets properly mixed together and to get a good consistency. Set aside, in a bowl, but leave some of the remnants of the pesto in the food processor for the next step.
  9. Make the ricotta by adding all the ingredients into the food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides with the rubber spatular once or twice to get everything together.
  10. Grease a 9 x 13” pan with cooking spray.
  11. Lay out three dry lasagna noodles (or more if you could not find the no-boil type after boiling them, of course) on the bottom of the pan.
  12. Spread 2/3 cup of the sauce on top.
  13. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta and pesto on top.
  14. Crumble and sprinkle 1/2 the batch of the walnut meat on top with your hands.
  15. Place another layer of dry lasagna noodles on top and repeat steps 12-14.
  16. Place the final layer of noodles on top, and add just 1/3 cup of the sauce and the remainder of the pesto and ricotta (with the ricotta on the top layer!)
  17. Sprinkle 1/3 cup daiya mozzarella on top.
  18. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
  19. Let sit 10 minutes after taking out of the oven, and enjoy.

photo 1 (4)The pesto

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The ricotta

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The first layer of the lasagna

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Buon Appetito!

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Vegan MoFo 2014: Soup, Sandwich, Salad Saturdays: Easy Creamy Tomato Soup and Basil Grilled Daiya Cheese

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Growing up, as a kid I loved creamy tomato soup. I’d even put some mozzarella cheese shreds in the soup and let it melt and swirl it around. Thankfully, due to Daiya that part was easy. However, finding an easy to make vegan creamy tomato soup was more difficult. Luckily, I figured out something that tastes good, especially if you dip the Basil and Grilled Daiya Cheese sandwich in it too!

These are two very simple recipes to make, which I am happy about.

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Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can organic tomato sauce
  • 1 cup unsweetened, original hemp milk
  • Italian Seasoning blend, to taste
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Daiya Mozzarella shreds (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, mix together the tomato sauce, hemp milk, and seasoning (you can also add salt and pepper if desired).
  2. On medium heat, begin to heat up this mixture.
  3. When starting to become hot, whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry in a little cup, and then whisk into the soup.
  4. Stir constantly until bubbling and thickened more. If the soup doesn’t really thicken you may need to add more cornstarch and water.
  5. Serve in a soup bowl and sprinkle some Daiya Mozzarella shreds into the soup for a melty, delicious extra kick, or dip the basil grilled Daiya cheese sandwich in it.

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Basil Grilled Daiya Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices bread of choice (I used sprouted rye)
  • 2 slices Daiya Provolone or Swiss
  • 6 leaves of fresh basil
  • Spray oil

Directions:

  1. I recommend lightly toasting the bread first, especially if you have a softer type of bread you are using.
  2. Spray each side of the bread with oil.
  3. Place the cheese slices on one slice of bread, followed by the basil leaves.
  4. Place the other slice of bread on top.
  5. Spray a bit more oil onto a frying pan.
  6. Heat on both sides of the sandwich on medium heat until the bread is crispy and brown and the cheese is melted.
  7. Dip in the soup or eat alone. Enjoy!

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Vegan MoFo 2014 Day 12: Soft Pretzel Dough Crust with Faux Pepperoni, Tofu Ricotta and Caramelized Onions

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First of all, Friday’s theme was inspired mostly by the Aquabats’ song, Pizza Day. Here is a link to it on youtube. It’s a fun song, and it is indeed the best day of the week.

This pizza is really delicious, that’s all I can say. Although I cannot really tell the crust is actually pretzel crust as I had intended it to be, it is the yummiest, easiest to make, and most bread-like type of crust I’ve ever made for a pizza. It’s now my main crust I go to any time I want to make pizza.

Recipe for Pretzel Crust Faux Pepperoni Pizza with Caramelized Onions and Basil Tofu Ricotta

Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

For the caramelized onions:

  • 1 large sized sweet onion, chopped into ring slices
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or Earth Balance
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

For the ricotta:

  • 1/2 cup basil
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 – 3/4 tsp salt depending on your tastes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp water

For the pizza:

  • 1/4-1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 10-15 slices prepared vegan pepperoni 

Directions for the dough:

  1. Mix yeast with lukewarm water in large mixing bowl until the yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add to the yeast mixture the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved; add flours and stir with a spoon until combined.
  3. Knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Let rise in the bowl with a towel covering it for 30 minutes.
  5. Prepare the rest of the pizza ingredients while rising. If you need more time after the thirty minutes rising time to keep preparing the pizza ingredients, you can place the dough in a plastic bag after it has risen in the fridge until ready to use.

Directions for the onions:

  1. Heat the oil or Earth Balance on medium high heat in a large frying/sauté pan with a cover (do not place the cover on top yet).
  2. When the oil is heated, add the onions and toss to coat in the oil.
  3. Let cook, stirring every so often in a single layer.
  4. Once starting to brown turn the heat to a lower temperature. Stir every so often.
  5. Add the brown sugar after about 20 minutes of cooking. Be careful because they may start to caramelize fast at this point.
  6. You’ll want to cook the onions like this for around 25-30 minutes covered, continuing to stir occasionally but not frequently.

Directions for the ricotta:

  1. Place everything but the tofu and water into a food processor and pulse until combined and pasty like a pesto.
  2. Add tofu and pulse until combined.
  3. Add the water.
  4. Scrape down the sides with a spatula to get everything further combined, and pulse again. Repeat this step as necessary.

To assemble the pizza:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Roll out the pretzel pizza dough into a thin circle, with extra flour on the surface.
  3. Place on a round pizza pan, or other type of pan if you don’t have a pizza pan.
  4. Spread the sauce on the pizza first.
  5. Add the desired amount of ricotta onto the crust. You don’t want to use the whole batch. About 1/2 cup of it is a good amount, but you can do what you like/think will be good. Spread it around with a rubber spatula on top of the sauce.
  6. Spread the caramelized onions on top evenly.
  7. Add the pepperoni slices.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes or more if needed.

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