Saturday 11 September 2010

PPN Tofu-Ricotta, Zucchini and Pumpkin Lasagne

I once made a lasagne with tofu. It was very soon after I became a vegetarian. My mum was away and I offered to make dinner for my brother and my dad. I was both inexperienced and gung-ho with the tofu. Not a good combination. I made a brilliant lasagne with tofu last week and I am confident my dad and brothers would appreciate this one far more now that I know what I am doing.

I was inspired by this Carrot Courgette and Ricotta Lasagne that Katie posted recently. It looked delicious and lighter than the average béchamel-sauce-laded lasagne. Ricotta is a lighter alternative. Perfect if I liked the stuff. But I don’t. I feel I should but it rarely tastes right. Then I looked at all the tofu in the fridge and dug out a PPK recipe for tofu ricotta. So much better.

We needed the vegie-packed lasagne after all the chips and pasties during our trip to Port Fairy. I made it while listening to the independents announce their allegiances to the country. Seventeen days after the national election, seventeen days of a hung parliament, two independent votes gave the Labor Party enough support to govern. The nation breathed a collective sigh of relief when finally we had a Prime Minister appointed. A momentous day. The lasagne was a celebration of interesting times and our female prime minister being returned to power.

It was an excellent lasagne. Different to my regular lasagne. No béchamel sauce. No tomato sauce. Almost vegan. Only a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top. Nutritional yeast could be used instead. I used pumpkin instead of carrot but either would work well. The tofu ricotta and slices of fresh tomato made the difference. Both tasted lighter and were full of flavour. Exactly what I loved in this lasagne.

I am sending this lasagne to Abby of Eat the Right Stuff. She is hosting this week’s Presto Pasta Night, the blog event for pasta lovers founded by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year:
Chocolate cookies and pizza
This time two years ago: Choc chip and cherry cookies

Tofu-Ricotta, Zucchini and Pumpkin Lasagne
serves 4-6

Zucchini and pumpkin filling:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 medium zucchinis, grated (400g)
  • 400g pumpkin, grated (weight before trimming and peeling)
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup passata

Pesto Tofu Ricotta:

  • 350g tofu, crumbled (this was what I had but in future I would use 450g)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • plenty of black pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp pesto (I used 2 but you could have a bit more in there if you want the pesto taste to shine through more)

To assemble:

  • extra ¼ cup passata
  • 4 (or 5) medium tomatoes, slices in about ½ cm slices
  • 2-3 tbsp parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast flakes for vegan lasagne)
  • 2-3 tbsp stale breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • fresh lasagne sheets – about 200-300g

To make the zucchini and pumpkin filling: fry onion in olive oil for about 10 minutes on low heat in a large frypan till onions are quite soft. Add zucchini, pumpkin, garlic and salt. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until vegies soften. Stir through passata. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

To make pesto tofu ricotta: mix all ingredients together with a spoon till well combined. This will be quite crumbly in texture.

To assemble grease a lasagne dish (oops I didn’t grease it so this is optional) and spread layers of components as below:


  • ¼ cup passata and ¼ cup of zucchini and pumpkin filling
  • lasagne sheets
  • ½ of the zucchini and pumpkin filling
  • ¼ of the ricotta
  • lasagne sheets
  • half the tomatoes
  • seasoning (if I had more ricotta I would used it here but instead I sprinkled a bit of extra nutritional yeast)
  • lasagne sheets
  • ½ of the zucchini and pumpkin filling
  • ¼ of the ricotta
  • lasagne sheets
  • ½ of the ricotta
  • Sprinkle with parmesan, breadcrumbs, sesame seeds

Bake at 220 C for about 45 minutes or until the topping is crispy and the lasagne sheets are soft when a knife is inserted in the middle. Check about halfway through and if topping is browning too fast you could cover with foil or place on a lower rung of the oven.

On the Stereo:
Mojo Presents the Quiet Revolution – Various Artists


  1. I'm not a vegetarian, but I really love vegetable lasagne. I've never tried it with tofu - but i have a pumpkin and ricotta version I love - so I'm putting this the list for this week coming! It looks awesome.

  2. That looks really delicious Johanna - and a lighter veg packed lasagne must be perfect for the spring too.

  3. That does look divine. I'd always go to the vegetarian cafe at uni and order their lasagne but it never looked this good! :P

  4. I was just thinking about lasagna the other day and thinking, "How am I going to make this without cheese?" (I'm very new to this.)

    This sounds perfect. We will definitely be trying this. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. This looks amazing, Johanna! I've never been that interested in lasagna (and, like you, think ricotta is not-awesome-tasting), but this looks so fresh and veggie-ful and vibrant.

    I bet I'm too lazy to actually make it, though ;)

  6. Your lasagne looks delicious and I love the sound of the pumpkin. Never would have thought of adding tofu to lasagne, will have to give it a go

  7. I'd like to try vegetarian lasagna but there is no way The Bloke would partake. So I would be the only one eating it. Do you think it would freeze okay?

  8. oooh tofu ricotta? What a brilliant idea! I normally use regular ricotta in place of bechamel sauce - so the idea of making it with tofy really appeals to me :)

  9. this looks lovely johanna - thanks for sharing with ppn. and hurrah for cracking tofu lasagne and wiping out memories of your early failure - i love it when i manage that :)

  10. Mum used to try a vegetarian version of lasagna for me, but it doesn't look anywhere near as tasty as your one! Love the addition of tofu.

  11. Your bake looks great and glad you thought it a success too. I was also inspired by Katie's courgette lasagne and made it for a friend who prefers not to eat dairy. I compromised by using goat's cheese instead (also couldn't find any ricotta). But never thought of using tofu - it obviously takes a great culinary mind. I didn't use tomato sauce, just layered top with fresh tomatoes. I was mightily impressed though - we all thought it was great and friend didn't get any bad effects phew!

  12. I do love that PPK tofu ricotta. It makes a damn fine dip too.

    Try making tofu ricotta gnocchi too. The recipe is somewhere on my blog.

    I promise to write my muffin round up soon.

  13. I've never made that PPK tofu ricotta, but I am SO onto it now, thank you.

  14. This looks and sounds amazing! I love pumpkin in pasta dishes of all kinds. I think I may make this tonight! (Menu plan be damned!)

    Your story of your first tofu lasagne reminds me of mine. Years ago, when I was about 21, my mom had breast cancer and her oncologist put her on a very restricted diet (basically macrobiotic vegan). I was her chef, and one day I made a veggie lasagne using tofu ricotta. But the problem was, this lasagne had next to no fat in it. So to feel full you had to eat about a quarter pan... Not the results you're looking for when you put together something as elaborate as a lasagne! I think the pesto in your recipe will really provide that satiety that mine was missing. :)

  15. Pumpkin in a lasagna sounds absolutely brilliant to me--and yes, it could easily be vegan. And it looks great as well. Fabulous recipe! And thanks for the tofu ricotta as well--I will be making it! :)

  16. This sounds devine, and much healthier than regular lasagne.

  17. This lasagna looks awesome! It is so good without the bechamel, and much lighter... I ate tofu lasagna once in a restaurant and always thought I should tried to prepare these at home...

  18. Thanks Lexi - I loved vegetarian lasagne before I was vegetarian - it is delicious - hope you enjoy it

    Thanks C - I think the start of spring made this lasagne perfect as I wasn't up for a really heavy one

    Thanks Lorraine - there are too many uninspiring veg lasagnes about (and too many uninspiring meat lasagnes too if I remember from my meat eating days)

    Thanks Jaime - there are lots of great lasagnes without cheese - hope this is the beginning of many inspiring recipes for you

    Thanks Hannah - I wish you a day to feel inspired by such lasagne - though truth be told I wouldn't have the energy today

    thanks katie - tofu is good when done well

    Thanks Deb - shame the bloke isn't as polite as my dad but I am sure you could try freezing it - tofu slightly changes its texture when frozen and defrosted so I think it would be fine but maybe a bit different to my version

    Thanks Lisa - am sure you would enjoy the tofu version

    Thanks Abby - glad to share a tofu lasagne success with ppn :-)

    Thanks Emma - mums making veg lasagne for their kids always seems an act of love, even if not the best ever

    Thanks Choclette - am sure a goats cheese version would be really interesting - glad your friend enjoyed it

    Thanks Helen - the tofu in ricotta in dip sounds very good - must try that

    Thanks Lucy - yes you must try it

    Thanks Scrumptious - this is probably the lightest lasagna I have ever made but it was satisfying - am sure your mum appreciated your efforts - hope she is ok now

    Thanks Ricki - pumpkin in anything always makes me happy - hope you enjoy it

    Thanks Cakelaw - I am sure it must be healthier - it felt it

    Thanks Sweet Artichoke - I found this tofu ricotta easier to make than bechamel sauce as well as lighter - so highly recommend you try it

  19. this sounds utterly delicious! I love it that you have such healthy ingredients in this too Johanna - the lower fat ricotta and tofu for protein.

    I've been mildly obsessed with squash lasagne ever since I had the most delicious squash, mushroom and garlic lasagne at a winery last time we came to Australia. I've tried to recreate it but never quite made it, but the sweetness of squash in a lasagne does work really well

  20. I'm with you on most ricotta, taste wise. I've found a Ricotta Salata - goat, that has more flavor though. But, it's always fun and creative experimenting with tofu. Will have to try this.

  21. This looks delicious! I love that you used tofu ricotta.


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