Friday, March 9, 2012

Meatless Lenten Meal - Lasagna

My family loves the lasagna I make with tomato meat sauce, ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Since we are in the season of Lent, I thought I would try to make a lasagna that we could eat while still making a sacrifice of no meat. I guess I could have made a vegetable lasagna but there is something very satisfying in a lasagna with meat sauce and lots of cheese. The following is my recipe for Lasagna with "Meat" Sauce.

Recipe:

"MEAT"
1/2 cup Mega-Soy or something similar. This is a soy-based product that is dehydrated. When reconstituted, it resembles the texture of ground beef. You can use one cup to make a lb. of "ground beef" but I never use that much meat.  To make it taste more like beef, I reconstituted the soy in boiling water and one packet of beef bouillon.; However, that is optional.


CHEESE

I used 1/2 cups of homemade yogurt cheese mixed with 1/4 lb. of firm tofu instead of ricotta cheese. NOTE: Making yogurt cheese is very simple. You just drain yogurt until it is the consistency you like. My first batch came out the consistency of cream cheese. I let the water drain a little longer for the second batch and the consistency was a little thicker. When blended with the tofu. The consistency was much like that of ricotta cheese.

Draining yogurt for cheese using a coffee filter


Yogurt cheese

1 cup or more shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

LASAGNA NOODLES

Using the basic ingredients for pasta, 2 1/2 cups flour (I used 1/2 cup whole wheat flour) and 4 large eggs, I kneaded the dough until it had the consistency I like in pasta dough, stiff but not too stiff and not sticky.

Use the rolling part of the pasta machine or roll out by hand, until very thin but not paper thin. Cut into lasagna sized noodles. As you can see, the ones I rolled out and cut were very wide.

Cook al dente. If you are using homemade noodles, it only needs a few minutes to cook...no longer than 5 minutes.

SAUCE:

Recipe for my meat sauce can be found here. Just be sure to use the Mega-Soy and not ground beef, if you want to eat this dish on Fridays during Lent.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large Pyrex baking dish, ladle 1 cup of sauce on the baking dish, spread evenly. Add a layer of the cooked lasagna noodles. Add another ladle of sauce, small dollops of the creamy cheese and some of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of noodles and continue on until all the ingredients are added with the exception of the Parmesan cheese. You top the whole thing with the grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for one hour in the hot oven.

Notice the wide noodles


Ready to eat

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