Well, Valentines Day is tomorrow. You know, when someone puts their time and energy into making a homemade meal, there is nothing that could be better or more loving, at least in my opinion. I would much rather enjoy a delicious homemade meal for Valentines Day in the privacy of my own home than to sit in a crowded restaurant with (often) over-priced food. Maybe that’s just me, but there is something extremely sexy about a man (or woman) cooking in the kitchen for their loved one.
Valentines Day is also one of those occasions where you may want to consume a small (or large) amount of wine – I would like to use Sir Paul McCartney as my example here, when he sings, “I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I gotta have a belly full of wine”… well, who wants to stop ole Paul from saying that?! And what better a day than Valentines to say or hear those words ‘i love you’… without also hearing an “Uh oh, my dear – we are being pulled over”! Yes, Valentines Day is a great opportunity to stay home and have a nice candle-lit home cooked meal… and to indulge a bit 😉
So, one of my favorite meals EVER is lasagna. There is nothing in the world like a good lasagna. There are many things to love about lasagna. I love how versatile lasagna is. I love how yummy it is. I love how you have leftovers. I love that my kids love it. I love how you can basically make it out of whatever veggies you have in the fridge.
When I make lasagna, I usually stick to the basics… onion, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash. Combine those with some noodles, a good sauce (homemade is best, but sometimes you gotta go with the jar), and a good ricotta recipe and you will find yourself content. Make that very content.
Now I would like to share with you my delicious homemade ricotta recipe. It is SO easy, and SO good, you better just prepare yourself!
~ TOFU RICOTTA ~
This is my original delicious tofu ricotta recipe. This is enough for one lasagna. Simply blend until desired consistency in the food processor – be sure to pulse in the basil last so your ricotta wont turn green!
- 1 block extra firm tofu (drained)
- 1/2 – 1 cup soymilk
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 cup Vegan Gourmet mozzarella cheese, shredded (you will need one entire block to have enough to shred some on top)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- salt & pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (pulse in last)
ricotta necessities (minus basil and tofu)
blending up the ricotta in my food processor
Heres how much basil I used - please note that this amount of basil is for two lasagnas.
TO MAKE (ONE) LASAGNA:
You will need:
at least one jar of sauce
lasagna noodles (1-2 boxes)
veggies of choice (my last lasagna contained: 1 onion/ 1 cup chopped mushrooms/ 2 zucchini & 1 squash, quartered/ 2 cups packed spinach).
Start by cooking your lasagna noodles al dente. I like to saute my veggies about 5 minutes to soften them up, then I just stir them right into my ricotta to save a step for easy lasagna stacking. Assemble lasagna as shown below in a 13 x 9″ pan and bake for an hour, covered, at 350. Sometimes I like to broil it uncovered for 2-3 minutes at the end, just to get the top cheese meltier.
(That last step of broiling is unnecessary if you use Daiya cheese, though I LOVE the flavor of the Vegan Gourmet so much, I have actually never tried to make lasagna using Daiya, though I bet it would be just as fabulous. You maybe would need two bags though, since it comes pre-shredded.)
- shredded cheese on top
- layer of sauce on bottom of pan
These are my favorite noodles
dont forget to wash your veggies!
I like to lightly saute all the veggies
Here I am, building up the layers...
Here is one of them about to go in the oven... I would've liked to have a bit more cheese on top but I ran out!
Voila! This slice for my daughter came out beautifully!
I like to eat mine with some good buttered bread on the side! You gotta have bread to wipe up all that extra yummy sauce and ricotta that falls out!
Our family was part of a “food tree” where we signed up to bring a home cooked meal to a friend who just had a baby, hence the two lasagnas. If you ever have the opportunity to participate in one, sign up! It feels so good to help people! And you parents (especially you new parents) know how good a nice meal can be when you don’t have to throw it together yourself while the baby is napping! (And just so you know, they said the lasagna we brought them was “the bomb”!)