Fresh Tomato Tofu Vegetable Lasagna

*fresh early fall lasagnaAgain, not a difficult dish to make at all, it’s all about the components- each one is full of flavor prior to joining forces in this early fall, late summer time fresh lasagna. I used brown rice lasagna noodles that are virtually un-dectectably different over wheat noodles so this lasagna is totally gluten free. I used only fresh tomatoes from the farmers’ market and a few of my own- some for the fresh sauce and others, sliced as a layer within the lasagna. What follows are the recipes for the components- how you layer it up is up to you! You can use different veggies; mushrooms, eggplant-  limitless possibilities. Mine was filled with tons of fresh basil, tomatoes, hot peppers, squash and spinach. I stayed away from using vegan cheese, was just not feeling it, so the tofu filling is an absolute stand out, delicious in flavor. I added a quickly sautéed garlic spinach into the filling to offer a fuller flavor (as opposed to just using it blanched or steamed), you can also simply use it as a layer. All of the vegetables were from my garden or from the Greenfield market.

Components:

  • 2 medium zucchinis- sliced and tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper
  • 6 cups spinach- quickly sautéed in garlic and olive, salt and pepper
  • fresh tomato sauce- recipe below
  • 1 box of lasagna noodles, cooked
  • Tofu “ricotta” filling- recipe below
  • 1-2 larger tomatos, thinly sliced, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper

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 noodles
  • layer in the tofu filling
  • layer in noodles
  • layer in fresh zucchini
  • layer in noodles
  • layer in fresh tomato slices, olive oil and salt
  • layer in last layer of noodles
  • cover the top layer with fresh sauce
  • 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 /Crème

1Pound tofu- blanched- divided in 1/2

1 clove garlic

1 heaping T mellow white miso

3T extra virgin olive oil

1t brown rice vinegar

1t ume vinegar

1 heaping T sesame tahini

2T water if needed while blending

*opt 6c fresh spinach or 5oz- steamed and pressed (all water out) or sautéed with garlic and 1t olive oil

*opt 3oz Vegan mozzarella or favorite cheese

1/2t black pepper

In a blender or vitamix, place the warm cooked tofu (1/2), the miso, tahini, olive oil, vinegars, garlic, and blend until smooth and creamy.

In a bowl, crumble or mash the remaining tofu with a fork or fingers. Add the tofu crème, and the vegan cheese and the chopped steamed / pressed spinach.

Peanut Butter Cacao Power Smoothie

*PBCACAOSMOOTHIE

Peanut Butter Chocolate Power Smoothie

1c nut milk

2T raw cacao powder

1T raw agave or raw local honey

2T peanut butter

1t vanilla

1scoop protein powder

1T hemp seeds

pinch Himalayan sea salt

1c ice

blend all ingredients together except the ice and process until smooth- taste and adjust if needed

add the ice and blend just until smooth.

Variations:

Chocolate Monkey- add 1 frozen banana in place of the ice

Heirloom Tomatos, Garlic, Basil, & Olive Oil with Grilled Artisan Bread

*tomato basil with grilled bread

I had purchased this beautiful heirloom tomato at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and it took me until today to actually think of something to make using it- I didn’t want to cook it; although a fresh Tomato Basil Soup or Gazpacho would have been amazing. A fresh pasta sauce crossed my mind but this thing was 5″ across and GORGEOUS. I have been reading Michael Pollan’s latest book “Cooked” and last night was on the chapter about bread and it lit me up about the local artisan loaf I purchased the same day at the market…10% Rye Sourdough with Sesame. I had eaten a lot of it on Saturday so I sliced it and put it in the freezer. So I knew today was the day. Today was the tomato day. Variations on a theme, there is nothing like the basil, garlic, tomato trilogy; everything local and in season. I ate it as a series of open faced sandwiches, I say a series, because I grilled 4 slices and ate all 4 slices…..

For the tomatoes

Local, fresh, summer tomatoes, preferably heirloom, sliced

plenty of fresh basil

1 clove garlic, smashed and minced

fresh hot chili pepper

extra virgin olive oil

pink salt

black pepper

for the bread

artisan loaf of bread

Extra virgin olive oil

garlic, smashed and minced

Heat up the grill or grill pan.

Prepare the bread:

Slice the bread into ¼-1/2” slices, how ever many slices you and friends will eat (2-3 per person or 4 if I am coming over)

In a small plate, add the garlic, olive oil. Lightly brush the bread slices with the oil and set aside.

Over high heat, place the bread on the grill or pan and close the grill or cover the pan. Let grill for about 3-4 minutes. The bread should easily flip and have gorgeous markings. Once flipped, continue to grill for another 3-4 minutes.

Serve immediately with the fresh tomato slices on top drizzled with more garlic olive oil, salt pepper and basil.

Fresh Thai Basil Peanut Rolls with Sweet Hot Chili Lime Dipping Sauce

Thai Basil Peanut Fresh RollsThese really are not difficult to make, they are definitely more time consuming than throwing pasta in a pot of boiling water, but they are so worth it. They are more of an “occasion” meal or made per a craving request. I was definitely craving them, so I made them for myself after yoga this morning. After already having made the Thai Basil Pesto with the Thai basil out of my garden, half the work was already done and in the fridge! I made a Peanut Sauce earlier today, which takes no more than 5 minutes so the rest of the prep is all about getting the components gathered and ready for you to roll (hehehe). What you put inside the rolls is really personal preference; my standard go to’s are:

  • grilled or smoked tofu, sliced into thin strips
  • red peppers, sliced into thin strips
  • rice vermicelli or glass noodles, cooked and drained
  • hoisin sauce or pesto and or peanut sauce- I use both!
  • fresh cilantro, fresh basil, fresh mint
  • fresh lettuce
  • crushed roasted peanuts

I use the water that I boil the noodles in to soften the rice wrappers. You can purchase the wrappers in almost every main stream market now a days, or in asian specialty stores, they are also easily found online at specialty markets.

On a clean surface or cutting board, lay your dampened rice wrapper, making sure there are no hard edges, if there are, try to moisten them with the heated water. Now you are ready to fill- my rhythm is as such:

  • lay down about one 2 teaspoons of pesto
  • then plenty of fresh herbs next to the sauce, above or below  (they look pretty showing through the transparent skin when fully rolled)
  • then lettuce
  • then tofu stacked on the lettuce
  • then peppers stacked
  • then peanut sauce gets spooned over
  • then crushed peanuts

Roll from the bottom edge up towards the top to encase the tower of yum. Fold in the sides, the rice wrapper will help you by sticking in place. Once both sides are folded in, roll up to the top to close the package. They don’t keep well, the wrapper tends to stiffen overnight, thus lending  to their name, fresh rolls. Dip into both the peanut sauce and the sweet chili lime sauce. FRICKEN YUM.

*sweet chili dipping sauce

Sweet Chili Lime Dipping Sauce

3T raw agave, or local raw honey

2T apple cider vinegar

1T lime juice

1/2t pink salt

1t red chili flakes

Vegan Fresh Rolls

Easy Peanut Butter Sauce

This sauce can literally transform everyday foods into new meals, on veggies, grains, noodles-  I created this recipe while living in New York City. I had the tiniest kitchen, I cried my first night, not because of being homesick but because of my new kitchen! I had two jars of peanut butter which were clearly taking up too much real estate so instead of consolidating the jars, I made the sauce with what ingredients I had in the apartment in-the-jar, and then the jar became the storage container for the fridge! Use it over noodles, it pairs amazingly well with Grilled Tofu over a fresh bed of crisp greens and sprouts as a dressing, and inside fresh rolls (which is what I will be making today!) are just some of its uses- it is a fantastic, big flavor sauce. Spice it to your liking, I add a fresh hot pepper into the mix cuz I like it hot! It literally takes 5 minutes to make and is worth keeping in the fridge at all times.

fricken yum
fricken yum

Peanut Butter Sauce

1/3c organic peanut butter, natural style, crunchy or creamy

1T shoyu or tamari

1″ fresh piece of ginger, more if desired

1 small fresh chili or 1/2 fresh jalapeño pepper

1T fresh lime juice *opt -makes it taste more awesome but so not needed

2T cilantro *opt-makes it taste more awesome but so not needed

1T prepared ketchup

1T hot sauce or sriracha sauce

1/3-1/2c water

1T maple syrup or raw agave or raw local honey

2t hot toasted sesame oil

Black pepper to taste

Add all ingredients into a blender, start with a smaller amount of water to get it going, and add more if needed. Blend until completely smooth and to your desired consistency,  more liquid for a sauce, less liquid for use as a dipping sauce. It’s your sauce, make it awesome!

Simple Grilled Tofu

This is one my most favorite ways of preparing tofu- it is even more delicious cold. Use it as is, with a side of greens and quinoa or brown rice or how I made it tonight, sliced and served over Thai Basil Pesto Soba with fresh baby Spinach. I would double up on the amount you make if you want to have any left over for the next day! You can season the oil in all kinds of ways imaginable, from curry, to lemon pepper, to super spicy jerk rub.*grilled tofu

Simple Grilled Tofu

1 pound extra firm tofu

2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large clove garlic, smashed and minced

1/2t pink salt

black pepper

Heat up the grill or grill pan.

Prepare the tofu:

Remove the tofu from the package and drain the water. Rinse and then place the tofu between to plates. Weight the tofu down in the sink with something over the top plate. Let press for at least 15 minutes to remove excess water. This makes for a “chewier” end result.

Slice the tofu in ¼-1/2” slices, an average block of tofu should yield 7-10 slices.

In a large plate, add the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Lightly dredge the tofu slices in the oil – I use a silicone pastry brush to paint the oil on, oil and set aside.

Over high heat, place the slices on the grill or pan and close the grill or cover the pan. Let grill for about 6-8 minutes. The slices should easily flip and have gorgeous markings. Once flipped, continue to grill for another 5-6 minutes.

Salt and pepper the slices again to taste.

Serve hot or cold.

Chickpea Loaf…it’s what’s for dinner…and lunch

ChickPea Loaf

Super easy to make, great for using up leftover grains and beans. Delicious cold as a sandwich the next day!
Super easy to make, great for using up leftover grains and beans. Delicious cold as a sandwich the next day!

2c-cooked chickpeas

1 1/2c cooked brown rice

3 slices toast- made into breadcrumbs or 1-1/2c loosely packed breadcrumbs

1 medium onion, minced

1/4c nutritional yeast

1/4c ketchup

1/4c extra virgin olive oil

1/2c walnuts, chopped *opt

1/8t-1/4t-cayenne pepper or chipotle powder (I LOVE Chipotle Powder)

1/4t ground black pepper

1/2t turmeric

1/2t salt

up to 1/4c water

Topping:

3T ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, combine the chickpeas, rice, breadcrumbs, onions, yeast, ketchup, oil, nuts*, salt, red and black pepper. Mix with a wooden spoon or clean hands until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour out the mixture into a lightly oiled loaf pan. With the back of a wooden spoon, fill out the pan. Top the loaf with the remaining ketchup.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Serve with smashed potatoes and sautéed greens; broccoli or kale or a simple salad.

Killer Chickpea Loaf Sandwich 

*Sandwich bread- (I use whole grain Ezekiel)

fresh baby greens

vegan mayo

1″ slice of left over loaf

sriracha sauce

ketchup

salt and pepper

Chickpea Loaf is coming…like TODAY…YOU ROCK. DON’T STOP.

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