Tips For Making Healthy Vegan Lasagna (GF Option)
I looooove lasagna! Being vegan has taught me ways to make lasagna that is both delicious and actually nutritious. I recently have added lasagna back into my meal rotation after I discovered these amazing organic green lentil lasagna noodles from Explore Cuisine.
They have 11 grams of protein per serving and are gluten free. These oven ready noodles make throwing together a healthy lasagna really easy. Sometimes tomatoes cause me to break out, so I do not use tomato sauce often. I try to find ways to omit it. Sometimes I do treat myself to tomato products and don't have a reaction. The lasagna you see pictured on top I steamed some frozen kale and did an oil free saute of mushrooms. I seasoned with Mrs. Dash Italian blend and garlic powder. I added a little water to the mixture so I could use it like a sauce. For cheese I took a package of firm tofu and mashed it up and seasoned with garlic powder. This creates a texture similar to ricotta cheese. I layered the noodles with my kale mushroom mixture and tofu ricotta. The final top layer I sprinkled on some Daiya Vegan Mozerella Cheese and baked for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. It was YUM!
Here are some tips for you to make your own healthy vegan lasagna creations, whether you are vegan or just looking for a healthy way to enjoy lasagna :-)
I really love these green lentil noodles. I purchased them at a local health store for around $5. I also have found them with gluten free products at a grocery store. I researched and you can order them online from various places. They were a bit pricey on Amazon at $7.00 a box. You can use whatever lasagna noodles you like. There are other GF brands if needed. The key is swapping out meat and cheese with healthier flavorful ingredients.
Layer With Veggies
Roasted and sauteed veggies add nutrients and flavor to any dish. Cooking them without oil makes them even healthier by cutting out unnecessary fat. Click here to learn more about how you can cook without oil. You can also steam your favorite frozen veggies for convenience. Bell peppers, zucchini, spinach, broccoli, eggplant, mushrooms, spinach and kale are just some amazing options to load up your lasagna with nutrients and flavor. You can also include your favorite tomato sauce with the veggies.
Swap Out Cheese
The mild flavor of tofu allows it to adapt to many dishes. Blending tofu in a food processor or smashing it up with a fork makes it a great substitute for ricotta cheese. It takes on the other flavors of sauce, seasoning and veggies and with it's ricotta like texture, can trick the mind into thinking you are having ricotta cheese. If you need to avoid soy click here for a ricotta recipe using cashews.
Vegan cheese is a processed food made with oil. These types of products should be eaten sparingly if you are eating vegan for health reasons. By saving vegan mozzarella for the top part of the lasagna, you can minimize the amount used and still have the taste and texture of melted. If you want to put it on all layers go for it! This is your lasagna creation :-)
Side Note: Vegan cheese can take some getting used to in the beginning when you are transitioning from dairy. Some brands taste better than others. It is all personal preference. From my experience they are better mixed in with things (like lasagna or pizza) because they take on those additional flavor components. When I transitioned from dairy it took my taste buds a little time to adapt to eating vegan cheese by itself or on crackers. My favorite brand of shredded cheese to use is Daiya.
I hope this article has inspired you to go create your own healthy vegan lasagna :-)
I would love to see what creations you have come up with.
Jennifer Shlomovich is a Vegan Nutrition Coach who helps others transform their eating habits without feeling deprived. Click here to learn more about her work.