Most times that I cook, I don’t follow a recipe. So many day-to-day dishes are just things we throw together. Or we use a recipe as a skeleton, to determine cooking temperatures and times, but fill in the ingredients according to availability and preference. I just read this article in the Guardian about the ways bad recipes undermine our cooking. According to the article, recipes in cookbooks and blogs can be too complicated and suffer from “phony accuracy.” We all know it doesn’t matter whether you use 1 or 2 cups of mushrooms in the recipes below. If you love mushrooms, use more. Some recipe writers “micromanage,” by, for example, describing the exact order that ingredients need to be added even when it doesn’t matter.
In the spirit of keeping it simple, this is just the basics of a vegan lasagna that is open to many variations. It’s just the way I made it for a recent dinner with friends. Add different veggies or even a difference style of sauce. I used my father’s homemade marinara sauce (the recipe is a secret) and was really looking for an excuse to use Miyoko’s Fresh VeganMozz. I’m a big fan of Miyoko’s vegan cheeses, especially the hard varieties that tend to be difficult to find.
About that VeganMozz, it tasted great cold but I didn’t love it melted on the lasagna. You may be able to tell from the picture above that it did not melt completely and lost that mozzarella taste I had loved when I took a bite of it cold. I’d love to get it to try in a caprese salad but might return to Daiya or another brand of vegan shredded mozzarella for my next lasagna or pizza.. Grating it was also difficult because it became very soft, it might be helpful to put it in the freezer a few minutes before grating.
We enjoyed our lasagna with a Washington State Merlot. It was fine but I’d prefer something a bit more traditional, like a Chianti or other Sangiovese.
Easy Vegan Lasagna
About a cup of sliced baby bella mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
36 ounces of marinara sauce (about a jar and a half)
2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (optional)
1 package of Miyoko’s VeganMozz shredded
About 12 lasagna noodles (I use about 4 for each layer, you may want to use more)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Saute the mushrooms for 3-5 minutes over low-medium heat. Add the mushrooms and nutritional yeast to your marinara sauce and simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.
Depending on what marinara sauce you use, you may want to add garlic or other spices. I love mine the way it is so keep it simple. Cook pasta according to package directions.
Begin preparing the lasagna with a thin layer of sauce, followed by a layer of noodles. Then add about half of the ricotta and a small amount of the mozzarella, reserving plenty for the top of the lasagna. Cover this with a third of the remaining sauce. Add another layer of noodles, the other half of the ricotta, and a third of the sauce. Add another layer of noodles and top with sauce and a generous amount of mozzarella. I skip mozzarella in one layer to keep a lot for the top but it can be mixed up in any way.
I covered in foil and cooked for 30 minutes and then uncovered and cooked for 20 minutes more. Allow to set for at least 10 minutes before enjoying.