I’ve always loved lasagna. When I got asked as a child what I would like to eat on my birthday, there was a pretty good chance that my answer would be “lasagna”. At that time, of course, still with minced meat. But even after I’d stopped eating meat, lasagna continued to be one of my favorite meals. No matter if it is made with tofu Bolognese sauce, marinara sauce and veggies, pumpkin, or spinach I could just eat lasagna every day!
Recently, I often used unripe spelt for my vegan Bolognese sauce, but I hadn’t tried it in lasagna yet. A couple of weeks ago, I finally put it to a test and let me tell you the result was really yummy! Besides unripe spelt, the sauce contains lots of veggies such as carrots, zucchini, celery, and mushrooms as well as a good glug of red wine. To give the lasagna a slight cheesy flavor, I used homemade tofu-based cashew-spinach ricotta to spread between the single pasta layers. I also tried this vegan “cheese” on pizza and as a filling for stuffed shell pasta and cannelloni and it definitely made a great performance. ;-) It’s also very yummy with fresh basil.
For those of you who have never heard of unripe spelt, there is a great explanation and a bunch of healthy recipes on the official Whole Foods Market blog :-)
Vegan Lasagna with Cashew-Basil Ricotta
Unripe Spelt Lasagna
- 1 cup unripe spelt grains (kibbled) if you can't find kibbled unripe spelt just use whole spelt grains and throw them into your blender for a few seconds
- 8-10 whole wheat lasagna sheets
- 1 carrot
- 3 stalks celery
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 zucchini
- 4 mushrooms
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Some vegan cheese to sprinkle on top Daiya or another brand of your choice
- 1/2 block firm tofu (7 oz)
- 1/2 cup fresh spinach or basil leaves
- 1/4 cup oat milk or other plant-based milk (it should be unsweetened)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- Cook the unripe spelt according to the instructions on the package.
- Chop the vegetables into small pieces.
- Peel and chop the onion.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Then add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes, until the onion is translucent.
- Add the vegetables and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the cooked unripe spelt and the tomate paste and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Deglaze with red wine. Reduce the heat and simmer for a minute. Then add the diced tomatoes and the vegetable broth and simmer for another 10 minutes. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, oregano, and soy sauce.
- Meanwhile, make the cashew-spinach ricotta. In a blender, combine the cashews, tofu, spinach, white wine vinegar, and oatmilk and blend until smooth, adding another splash of oatmilk if needed.
- Add a cup of the veggie-tomate sauce at the bottom of your casserole dish. Then add a layer of lasagna sheets, tomato sauce, and spinach ricotta. Continue with another layer of sauce, noodles and spinach ricotta. Put the rest of the veggie-tomate sauce on top and sprinkle with some vegan cheese (Daiya or the brand of your choice).
- Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 34-40 minutes.