Sunday, November 8, 2009
A few weeks ago in cooking class we made eggplant lasagna. While the version we learned was much healthier than other versions I have seen that call for breaded and fried eggplant I still thought that I could take it to the next level. The version we learned contained over 24 grams of fat per serving compared to my version with about one third that amount. Additionally my version has less than half the total calories. I knew that making it vegan and watching the fat would make a big difference but I didn’t expect a huge difference especially since I used full fat tofu and added raw cashews to add a more “fatty” mouth feel to the filling. I added spinach to the filling to increase the nutrition. Here is what I did.
1 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise as thin as possible (preferable 1/8” or less thick)
½ red onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
¼ cup water
14 ounces tomato sauce
¼ cup raw cashews
14 ounces firm water packed tofu, thoroughly drained
1 tablespoon white miso
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon fennel seed
1 small organic lemon, zested and juiced
¾ teaspoon oregano, dried
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon onion flakes
10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed of liquid
Place the eggplant slices of paper towels (top and bottom) and weight them down. Allow the eggplant to stay on the paper towels for at least 30 minutes. This will pull some of the moisture, and bitterness, out of the eggplant.
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the eggplants in a single layer on baking sheets in the oven until they are soft (but not brown). This took about 15 minutes in my oven.
Preheat the oven to 325.
Make the tomato sauce water sauté the onion and garlic and add the tomato sauce and cook for at least 10 minutes to allow the flavors to marry.
Place the cashews in the food processor and puree. Add the remaining ingredients and puree until evenly combined.
Using a 9 by 9 baking pan begin with a light coating of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Add 1/3 of the eggplant slices in a single layer. Spread 1/3 of the tofu and spinach mixture on the eggplant and top with a little more tomato sauce. Continue to layer ending with a light coating of the tomato sauce.
Bake for 45 minutes and then remove from the oven to cool for 15 minutes before serving to help the lasagna to set.
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 194.37
Calories From Fat (40%) - 77.39
Total Fat - 9.27g
Saturated Fat - 1.15g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 400.12mg
Potassium - 890.32mg
Total Carbohydrates - 18.69g
Fiber - 7.09g
Sugar - 4.72g
Protein - 15.18g
I am extremely happy with the taste of this lasagna and particularly the tofu and spinach lasagna filling. Miso was the missing magic ingredient. I have tried tofu ricotta so many times and in different ways and the miso definitely made it. Now I need to work on the texture but the taste is great. Next time I am going to add a couple of tablespoons of flour to the tofu and think that will firm the filling enough to make it more like dairy ricotta. Honestly the texture is secondary to me at the moment. I am so psyched about the flavor. Even my 80-year omnivore father told me “the lasagna was good and you could make that again”. So there you have it, vegan food omni approved. Sweet!
On the nutritional side I am completely blown away by the numbers. I still can’t get over the calories and more importantly the fat in each serving. Each serving contained more than 6,700IU of vitamin A, 280mg of calcium, 180mcg of folate, 350mcg of vitamin K, 250mg of phosphorus, 140mg of magnesium, and 16mcg of selenium and all for under 200 calories. Expect to see variations of this ricotta in the coming months as I see where else I can use it.
Next I need to post a new salad dressing I came up with tonight that also uses white miso. Both my father and husband loved it so I thought I should post that to. It is another variation of the raw cashew dressings I have been making lately. I will be back later with that recipe.