Raise the Roof – Vegan Lasagna!

After being inspired by the Engine 2 documentary about Rip Esselstyn who turned his entire Austin, TX fire department into a plant-based eating community, we started to make the recipes that he showed.  They all got healthier, dropped weight, was able to go off medication, the list goes on of positive effects from adopting a vegan lifestyle.  In that documentary, he showed how to make Raise the Roof Sweet Potato Lasagna. Now before you poo-poo the idea of having sweet potato and lasagna noodles together, you HAVE to make this to believe that it’s amazing!  And cruelty free with the best taste ever…guilt free because there is no fattening cheese to be found!

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 can corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1 package Silken Lite tofu (or other light silky tofu)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 jars vegan tomato-based pasta sauce of your choice
  • 2 boxes whole grain (we used rice) lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained (I use fresh spinach and it’s amazing!)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 6 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 cup raw cashews, ground

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Sauté the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a nonstick pan using a little water or vegetable broth.  Don’t let pan dry out while sauteeing.  Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liquid.  Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon.  Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan. Sauté the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl.  Sauté the peppers and corn until just beginning to soften.  Add them to the vegetable bowl.  Drain the silken tofu by wrapping in paper towels.  Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl.  Add spices to the bowl and combine.  (at this point, I have to tell you that you will only need half of this mixture for the traditional pan of lasagna. I freeze half in a huge ziplock and then most of the work is done the next time I make this dish!)

To assemble the vegetable lasagna:  Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch casserole with a layer of sauce.  iphone pics September 007iphone pics September 006iphone pics September 005

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Cover the noodles with sauce.  This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy.  Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles.  Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce.  Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles.

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Cover the spinach with the mashed sweet potatoes.  Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced roma tomatoes.

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Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.  Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cashews, and return to the oven for 15 minutes.  Let lasagna sit for 15 minutes before serving.

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You just won’t believe how amazing these flavors combine until you make it yourself and taste it.  It’s incredible.  This has become a staple in our house. It reheats very well and a pan lasts us (the two of us) for four days of dinners! You can enjoy huge pieces with no guilt!!

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Vegan Enlightenment

The title “Vegan Enlightenment” sounds so lofty, doesn’t it?  It really isn’t meant to, but that is how I’m starting to feel…about food, about fellow humans, about animals, about plants and other little critters in the garden.  Having been vegetarian for 25 years, I’ve always felt a certain kinship and compassion for all living things and never wanted to eat anything that “had a face.”  Now, after going vegan (after a documentary fest over holiday break) I realize that in order to live with the level of compassion and the least amount of suffering of animals possible, that I must be vegan to make that happen.  When I realized how awful the dairy industry is, my eyes were opened forever and now feel that I can’t, in good conscience, support an industry that treats animals so cruelly.  So, seven months later, I’ve dropped 18 unnecessary pounds, feel so much better and have a lighter spirit.  I feel more deeply about all living things…and I didn’t think that was possible.