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:
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
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare the walnut meat. Place walnuts, onion, garlic and portobello into a food processor and blend until everything melds together but remains chunky.
- Place this mushy walnut meat into a bowl, and fold in the remaining ingredients.
- On a parchment lined baking sheet, pat down the “meat” into a thin layer with a spatula.
- Bake 15 minutes. Take out of the oven and with a spatula, scrape up the “meat” and flip it.
- Bake for 15 more minutes and set aside.
- Prepare the pesto. First place the basil, parsley, and garlic and chop in the food processor until finely ground.
- 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.
- 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.
- Grease a 9 x 13” pan with cooking spray.
- 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.
- Spread 2/3 cup of the sauce on top.
- Spread 1/3 of the ricotta and pesto on top.
- Crumble and sprinkle 1/2 the batch of the walnut meat on top with your hands.
- Place another layer of dry lasagna noodles on top and repeat steps 12-14.
- 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!)
- Sprinkle 1/3 cup daiya mozzarella on top.
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
- Let sit 10 minutes after taking out of the oven, and enjoy.
The first layer of the lasagna
For those who might be reading my blog and be new to the idea of veganism and vegan food, I’d like to offer a definition of what seitan is:
Seitan: a vegan mock meat (or meat substitute) made from wheat gluten. It has a firm and somewhat rubbery texture. It is typically made by making a dough (main ingredient: vital wheat gluten) with a variety of dry and wet ingredients and be made to substitute many different meats. Seitan needs to be cooked in a broth for a fairly long time in order to form properly, but the method in which you can do that varies. I have made seitan in a crockpot and been able to go about my own business most of the day, but I’ve also made it in the oven on low temperatures and had to stick around and be more careful. You can also boil it on the stove, and then saute or bake it, but that requires the most care and time. It is probably one of the most advanced types of foods you will consider making as a vegan concerning the cooking skills required to make it.
This recipe was adapted from here. It came about from the need for a vegan ham I could make myself. Next Sunday I plan on using it in a recipe for brunch. This would work really well if you make another sweet glaze for it and use it as a roast or something. I didn’t try that (yet!) but it can essentially be used in multiple ways and serve many purposes. As always with seitan, if you can’t use it all within a week, wrap the pieces up in plastic wrap (and maybe a plastic bag too) and freeze until needed.
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup soy flour
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed between fingers
1/2 cup hot water
- 3 tbsp vegan bac’un bits
- 1/2 block extra firm tofu crumbled into pieces
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp agave
For the cooking broth:
1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp marmite (a yeast extract that can be found in your grocery’s British international section if it has one)
- 1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1/2 tablespoon vegan poultry seasoning blend
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl or your electric stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.
- In a blender, place the hot water, bac’un bits and whir the blender on a high setting until the bits have combined with the hot water as much as possible. Add the tofu, cold water, soy sauce, liquid smoke, tomato paste, and agave and blend.
- Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and run the mixer with the dough hook for about ten minutes. Alternately, you can knead it by hand for about 15 minutes, I’ve done it before, it takes a lot of elbow grease, but is possible. It is more difficult to knead than bread, makes your hands smell a bit funny, and can make quite a sticky mess on the surface you are kneading it on.
- Let the dough sit covered for an hour.
- In the meantime, prepare the cooking broth. Place the broth, water, marmite, and agave together in a saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat until the agave and marmite melt into the other liquids.
- Take off the heat and stir in the seasoning blend, sesame oil, ketchup, and liquid smoke. Set aside.
- After the hour of letting the dough sit is over, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Knead the dough for another ten minutes. The dough should be smooth.
- Take the whole ball of dough and place into an oiled loaf pan. Press down with your hands. Pour the broth over the seitan.
- Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven.
- Immediately after placing in the oven, turn the temperature down to 200 degrees F.
- Bake for three hours.
- With a good spatula, loosen the loaf and flip the seitan so that side that was the bottom is now the top and facing up. Re-cover with the foil.
- Turn the heat back up to 325 degrees again and bake for another 30 minutes.
- After the 30 minutes, flip again, re-cover, and bake for 15 minutes.
- After the 15 minutes, flip for the last time and re-cover and bake for a final ten more minutes or until the broth has been fully absorbed into the seitan.
- Take out of the oven, let it cool slightly. Slice as desired and use in other recipes, such as my french toast, rosemary “ham” and cashew cheese sandwich coming next Sunday! I love freezing seitan wrapped in plastic wrap and in ziplock bags to save for later when my recipes call for it, as mentioned in the beginning of my post.