Wednesday 8 June 2016

Vegan lasagne with cauliflower, hummus and tofu "ricotta"

In the retro sitcom The Kennedys set in the 1970s, the very idea of lasagne is totally alien to the small town Brits: "pasta!  not in a tin!  that's madness!" So imagine what they would have said if the lasagne had a "ricotta" style layer made up mainly of cauliflower, tofu, hummus and nutritional yeast flakes.  Even I found it weird!  The world of vegan cookery continues to surprise and deliver great food.

E said it was the best vegetarian lasagna he had tasted.  I suspect he really liked it because it didn't have the heavy cheese sauce and yet had a richness that was quite satisfying.  I really loved it too, though perhaps not my favourite ever (not because I have a favuorite but because the world is full of excellent lasagnas).  I found the cauliflower didn't cook as much as I expected and I would cook it a bit next time.  There is something about raw cauliflower that I don't like when it is not fresh.  I was quite taken by the cracks on top which made it look interesting.

Sylvia was given a small amount.  Her first ever lasagna, I think.  She scraped the sauce off the pasta and ate it.  Which is progress.  She told me the sauce was chocolate mayonnaise.  Huh!  Then we tried to explain to her that a lasagne was layers of pasta and sauce.  She then asked why Princess Leia was in the sauce.  If her plan was to bamboozle us into not asking her to try any more than it was successful.

At least I was able to do this while she was building a house out of blankets and cushions outside with a friend.  I love lasagna but need to find the time for it.  Having said that, Janet at the taste space called it an easy vegan lasagna.  My version is not quite so quick because I made rather than bought the pasta sauce.  I wouldn't have minded buying pasta sauce.  However I only realised I had almost everything for the recipe after I had been grocery shopping and it was as easy to make a tomato sauce as to go out to the shops again.  However now I have made it, I would love to plan to make it a little more.

I am sending this to Healthy Vegan Fridays, Pasta Please, Meatless Mondays, Eat Your Greens.

More lasagna recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Fennel and lentil lasagne (v)
Green lasagne with broccoli and rocket pesto
Meaty cauliflower and walnut lasagne
Pea lasagne (with tofu sour cream) 
Tempeh and pumpkin lasagne (v) 
Tofu-ricotta, zucchini and pumpkin lasagne (v)

Vegan lasagna with a hummus, cauliflower and tofu ricotta
Adapted from the taste space
Serves 6-8

350-400g wholemeal lasagna sheets
good handful chopped baby spinach
725g jar of tomato-based pasta sauce or the tomato sauce below

Vegan ricotta:
half head medium cauliflower (around 300-500g)
300g tofu (ideally firm, I used medium)
1/2 cup hummus
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp salt, or to taste
small handful of basil

[If making tomato sauce, make this first and prepare other ingredients while it simmers.]

Make vegan ricotta: Trim and chop cauliflower and then rice in the food processor or blender.  I used it raw but next time would fry it in a spoonful or two of water to soften it - perhaps 5-10 minutes.  Crumble tofu into bowl with the cauliflower rice.  Mix in other ingredients, checking seasonings.

To assemble lasagna, spoon a little tomato sauce onto a 9x13 inch casserole dish and spread it to cover the bottom.  Place a layer of lasagna sheets over tomato sauce.  Now layer one third of vegan ricotta, one third tomato sauce, all the chopped spinach, lasagna sheets, one third of vegan ricotta, one third tomato sauce, lasagna sheets, one third vegan ricotta and one third tomato sauce.

Bake lasagna for 45 minutes at 180 C (or if your oven is slow like mine at 200 C).

Tomato (pasta) sauce:
1 tsp oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
700g passata
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt flakes
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
handful basil

To make the tomato sauce, fry onion in oil on low for 5 minutes in a small saucepan.  Add carrots and continue frying for about 10 minutes until softened.  Stir through garlic.  Add remaining ingredients, except basil and simmer for about 15-30 minutes until thickened but still pouring consistency.  Tear up basil and stir through when the saucepan is removed from heat after cooking. 

On the stereo:
Everyone else is doing it so why can't we - The Cranberries


  1. I have to say I am really intrigued by this unusual vegan take on lasagne and the only way I know I will like it (or not) is to make it. Not sure about the cauli either, but I am willing to give it a go. And thank you so much for sharing with #EatYourGreens

    1. Thanks Shaheen - I was originally really taken by the hummus and then gobsmacked to read it made it ricotta-like - honestly I am not a huge fan of ricotta so I don't eat it much and I don't think it is really similar but it plays a similar role in the lasagna - highly recommend you give it a go.

  2. I find lasagna to be a real labour of love. Even if it doesn't seem so at the time there's so much work involved. Even more with a sauce like this!

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I made tomato sauce like this quite a lot so it is not too much extra work for me - though I would only make this sort of lasagna with the sauce if I had time to potter about in the kitchen - so yes definitely a labour of love

  3. Hey Johanna, Yay for the lasagna! Glad your hubby liked it even if it wasn't your favourite. It is true - it is not particularly heavy but we really liked it. You are a trooper for making the sauce. If one made the hummus and sauce for scratch, this definitely wouldn't be a quick and easy recipe. :(

    1. Thanks Janet - don't get me wrong - I just don't do favourites with lasagnes - but I loved this one and would put it in a list of the ones I would love to return to. I didn't make the hummus from scratch but that would make it quite slow food if you did that and the sauce. Good to have a flexible recipe!

  4. How brilliant - I've made vegan lasagna with hummus and seen it with tofu but never this particluar mix all together! I loved Sylvia's baffling response too :-)

    1. Thanks Kari - yes kids are inscrutable sometimes - I have seen your hummus with pasta recipes and want to try them - was really interested to hear someone say tofu and hummus make a ricotta like sauce - better than ricotta for me!

  5. Oh your marinara sauce sounds so lovely! I used to always make my own pasta sauce when we lived in Canada, I find the California tomatoes completely disappointing, but maybe I should suck it up and go back to making sauce again. It really does taste better and I usually have the time to make it.
    This lasagna sounds really good. I like the idea of the cauliflower, it's very unique. Glad E liked it. Sylvia will come around haha ;p

    1. Thanks Kimmy - how strange you don't like californian tomatoes - I had thought all the Californian fruit and veg were really good because of the climate - home made tomato sauce is the best (I am never sure what to call it - we don't generally use "marinara sauce" in Australia and it sounds like a seafood sauce to me but it seems different in America)

    2. I like most fruits from California best, but some veggies like tomatoes and cucumber are better from Canada. Oh and apples. Apples are waaaay better in Canada. But can't beat California oranges and peaches. Mmmm.
      I think I use the terms tomato sauce and marinara sauce interchangeably ;p
      Thanks for sharing this at Healthy Vegan Fridays Johanna! I'm pinning & sharing =)

  6. This sounds really good. You can't go wrong with lasagne, I think.

  7. I love lasagne, can never get enough of trying a new recipe. I love the idea of cauli and hummus in there, two things that my kitchen is never without!

    1. thanks Joey - we always have hummus but cauli comes and goes - wish it was always in my kitchen


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