Lasagna has always been a family favorite, and I've had to try several recipes until I found a combination of two different recipes which we like. I've tweaked these recipes to my family's tastes, and omitted the oil and sugar from the original recipes.
Here's a close up showing all of those lovely layers!
While it takes a bit of time, and is done in 3 steps - Marinara, Ricotta Sauce, then the actual assembly, this recipe is probably my kid's most requested meal, and it feeds a crowd.
1 cup red lentils
2.5 cups water
1/2 t. salt
Rinse lentils in a sieve, then combine ingredients and heat in a pan, boil in water for 15-20 minutes.
1 medium onion - chopped
1 medium red, orange, or yellow bell pepper - chopped
5 large mushrooms - sliced
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 quart canned tomatoes, or equivalent (including juices)
1 six oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1-2 Tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon oregano
1.5 teaspoons fennel seeds - crushed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste - optional)
black pepper - to taste, optional
Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add oregano, paprika, fennel & basil and toast lightly, stirring constantly. Add fresh veggies and red wine vinegar. Saute until softened. Add water if needed to keep ingredients from sticking.
Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Use a potato masher to break tomatoes down to desired chunkiness if needed. Season to taste.
Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Add additional water to thin if needed, or blend if a thinner consistency is desired.
Add 3 c. cooked lentils to marinara, mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Cashew ~ Tofu Ricotta
1.5 cups raw cashews
16 ounces of firm tofu, cubed
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (optional)
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning
Salt to taste
Place cashews in blender or food processor, process until ground to a medium fine consistency. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside.
1-2 packages whole wheat or 100% semolina durum lasagna noodles
3 cups fresh spinach or greens
Preheat oven to 350* F.
Line a large baking casserole dish with foil.
Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with a thin layer of sauce.
Arrange noodles in a single layer in casserole dish. Gently break off corners of needles if needed to make fit.
Using a spatula, spread a layer of ricotta over noodles.
Cover noodles with a layer of spinach or greens.
Cover greens layer with a layer of marinara sauce.
Continue layering in this pattern until last layer.
For the final layer spread ricotta onto the noodles, then cover with a final layer of marinara.
Sprinkle with finely grated cashews.
Bake for 1 hour. Allow to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving.