PLANT-POWERED LASAGNA

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by Jesse Miner, Vegan Personal Chef

Lasagna is a flavorful labor of love, yet the techniques involved are easy enough for even the most novice cook. Packed with vegetables, tomatoes, aromatic herbs and tons of protein, the mouth-watering end results are well-worth the effort.

Serves 6

Start with six parboiled lasagna noodles. Here’s how to parboil: In a large pot of boiling water, add uncooked lasagna noodles and boil for a few minutes, until softened, but not fully cooked. Drain, cool, and separate to keep them from sticking together.

Homemade Tomato Sauce:
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
2 large zucchinis, diced
1 large red bell pepper, de-seeded and diced

8 ounces cremini mushrooms, de-stemmed and chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews
28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes (canned or fresh)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried black pepper

1. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of water and onion, carrot, garlic and sea salt and cook until carrots are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add an additional tablespoon of water if onions start to burn. Add zucchini, bell pepper and cremini mushrooms and cook until vegetables are tender, another 10-15 minutes. Vegetables should release enough liquid to cook without burning, but feel free to add a little additional water if needed.

2. In a high-powered blender, blend cashews and water until completely smooth and creamy. Add whole peeled tomatoes (with juices). Blend until completely smooth. Add to pan with sautéed vegetables. Add oregano, thyme and black pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes to allow tomatoes to cook and sauce to thicken.

Tofu Ricotta:
16 ounces firm tofu, drained
10 ounces frozen spinach, defrosted, drained and chopped
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 bunch basil, de-stemmed and thinly sliced

In a medium bowl, crumble tofu. Add spinach, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt and basil. Mix to thoroughly combine.

Shredded Tofu Topping:
4 ounces extra firm tofu, drained
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp onion granules
1/8 tsp Himalayan salt

Grate extra firm tofu into small bowl. Add lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. Toss to combine.

Build Your Lasagna Layers in this Order and then Bake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/195 C.
2. Spread one cup of tomato sauce along the bottom of an 8 x 8” glass baking dish. Add two lasagna noodles side by side. Add half of the tofu “ricotta”, evenly spread over the noodles. Repeat. Add two final lasagna noodles and one more cup of sauce. Sprinkle shredded tofu over top.
3. Bake, covered with foil, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until topping is lightly browned and noodles are tender.

Per serving: Calories 405 - Fat 16 g - Carbohydrates 43 g - Protein 30 g

Chef Jesse Miner is one of San Francisco’s most sought-after and respected vegan personal chefs. A graduate from Bauman College’s Natural Chef program, Jesse refined his craft during an 18-month internship with Chef Eric Tucker at the famed Bay Area restaurant, Millennium. Over the last decade, Jesse has become a trusted and indispensable partner to busy Bay Area executives. By taking the burden of healthful meal planning, shopping and cooking off their plates, families can turn their attention to the people and endeavors they love most.

Jesse recently celebrated his 25th veganniversary – over half of his life solely eating plants! One read of John Robbins’ Diet for a New America was life-changing, and there was no turning back. Jesse’s 20s were dedicated to animal rights activism, his 30s brought the spotlight to fitness and eating whole foods, and his 40s have been focused on inspiring the next generation of compassionate and healthy vegans. A devoted husband and father of two young children, Jesse looks forward to thriving as a vegan for many decades to come!

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