Penne Spinach “Lasagna” Casserole

*gluten free penne spinach lasagna

The premise of this super tasty dish is that is an easier, quicker, version of my traditional lasagna; it is more accessible as a casserole style baked pasta dish. My friends could not believe it was dairy free. Super cheese like, and could easily be made without the faux cheese if that is not your thing, simply omit it. It has the same basic components of a lasagna but the handling of the pasta goes much faster and delivers fantastic results.

Components:

  • 6 cups spinach- quickly sautéed in garlic and olive, salt and pepper OR blanched and pressed
  • fresh tomato saucerecipe below
  • 1 pound of Gluten Free Penne, Rigatoni, or Fusili
  • Tofu Spinach “ricotta” filling- recipe below
  • shredded non- dairy cheese of your choosing; Daiya (meltability factor), Follow Your Heart (taste factor), I use a mix of the two.

Putting it together:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • ladle in about 1 cup of fresh sauce in the bottom of the baking dish
  • place down one layer of pasta
  • spread in the tofu filling
  • layer in sprinkle with the shredded vegan cheese
  • layer in sauce
  • layer in pasta
  • spread in the tofu filling
  • layer in the last of the pasta
  • layer in last layer sauce
  • cover the top layer with shredded vegan cheese
  • Cover with tin foil and bake for 60 minutes.

Fresh Tomato & Basil Sauce

2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

4c tomatoes, diced

1/4c fresh basil, lightly packed, chopped

1/4t black pepper

1/4c water

1/2-1 fresh cherry bomb, chili or other hot pepper, minced

1/3c extra virgin olive oil

1t salt or to taste

In a skillet, add the olive oil and sauté the garlic  until golden and soft. Add the tomatoes, parsley, salt, black and red pepper. Allow the tomatoes to break down and to come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the fresh basil.

At this point, the sauce is delicious as is or can be pureed to create a smoother sauce.

Tofu “Ricotta” Filling

Tofu Ricotta

1/2 Pound tofu- blanched

1 clove garlic, smashed, minced

3T extra virgin olive oil

1 heaping T mellow white miso

1t brown rice vinegar

1t ume vinegar

1 heaping T sesame tahini

6c fresh spinach or 1 1/2c steamed and pressed (all water out) OR sautéed with garlic and 1t olive oil

1/2c vegan mozzarella or favorite vegan cheese (or a blend)

1/2t black pepper

In a bowl, crumble or smash the  tofu with a fork or fingers with all of the other ingredients. Add the vegan cheese and the chopped steamed / pressed spinach. Mix well, taste and adjust seasonings.

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