I’m all about looking at ingredients and thinking how they can be used in a way not originally intended. In honor of National Vegan Day this lasagna recipe is not only vegan and gluten free, but also doesn’t require boiling noodles. I hate doing that—you have to heat up the water, add the pasta sheets, bring to a boil and fish them out before they are entirely cooked then drain them. What seems to be the hardest part is handling them without sticking together and/or tearing. To overcome the only thing between me and the lasagna recipe of my dreams is to use spring roll skins—the rice and tapioca flour-based pasta rounds used to make fresh spring rolls in Thai restaurants.
This technique for hands free garlic peeling is absolutely one of my favorites and love the opportunity to share this video http://www.saveur.com/article/Video/video-How-to-Peel-a-Head-of-Garlic-in-Less-Than-10-Seconds by Executive Editor Tom Coleman Saveur Magazine. It is brilliant.
Step 1: Saucy Stuff
You will need:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
1/2 cup medium diced onions
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 16 ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounces quartered mushrooms
Step 2: Garlic Peeling
This is my version of peeling garlic without using your hands. Place the cloves in a clean coffee can and shake for 30 seconds. Sorry mine takes a little longer, but I love the sound it makes when shaking.
Step 3: Mince Garlic With Salt
Add a little salt to the garlic cloves before mincing--it keeps the garlic from clumping together.
Step 4: Back on the Sauce
In a heavy saucepan add the olive oil, garlic and parsley and let infuse the oil for 20-30 minutes on the lowest possible temperature setting . Stir occasionally. Avoiding a higher temp prevents the garlic from browning and turning bitter.
Step 5: Meanwhile Make the Tofu Mix
Ingredients for the tofu layer
1 Tablespoon dried Italian herbs
¼ Cup nutritional yeast 11/2 tablespoons
¼ Cup of the above tomato sauce
1 6 ounce package vegan mozzarella-style cheese shreds, divided
In a large mixing bowl, mash the tofu together with herbs and yeast with a fork. Add the sauce and and a 1/4 cup of the cheese and continue to mash until combined. Set aside. Notes: Just spoon some of the tomato sauce right out of the can. Firm tofu works okay and adding the yeast gives the tofu a more cheesey flavor.
Step 6: Spinach Filling
you will need
110 ounce box frozen spinach thawed and drained
1 tablespoon dried Italian Herbs
2 tablespoons of the above sauce
In a large mixing bowl combine the herbs and sauce together with the spinach and set aside. Again just spoon some of the tomato sauce out of the can.
Step 7: To the Sauce
Adjust the heat to medium high, immediately add the onions, mushrooms and salt then stir to combine. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes until the onions are translucent. Stir occasionally.
Reduce the heat to low, add the pasta sauce. Fill the empty can 1/4 the way up with a little tap water and swirl it to pick up the sauce that clings to the sides. Stir and simmer gently for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 8: Nonstick Spray a 9x9 Inch Pan
Step 9: Spring Roll Skin Primer
As a rule brittle spring roll skins need to be dipped briefly in water and allowed to rest until moist and pliable. Not even necessary here—they are used dry and become soft from the tomato sauce. The skins provide structure but will hardly be detectable in the lasagna. They come in a package like this, are found in the Asian section of most supermarkets and cost no more than $4.00. Be sure to wrap up the remaining skins securely to prevent moisture from getting to them, making them sticky; and it's really easy just tape the package back together.
Step 10: Assemble the Lasagna
you will need
spring roll skins
the rest of the vegetable cheese shreds
Step 11: Layer the Lasagna
Ladle about a half cup of the sauce into the pan and spread evenly.
Step 12: Lay Some Skins Down
Place two of the spring roll skins over the sauce. Not to worry if the skins curl up. It's because sauce is hot.
Step 13: Tofu Layer
Spoon all the tofu mixture over the skins and gently level. Place two more skins over the tofu.
Step 14: Spinach Layer
Spoon the spinach over the tofu layer, top with a little more sauce, some cheese and two more skins.
Step 15: Finish Assembling
Top with the rest of sauce and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes in a preheated 350 degree F oven. Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese melts.
Step 16: Rest Spring Roll Skin Lasagna
Rest the lasagna on a trivet, loosely covered for 15 minutes. Slice and serve.