One of the first things I had to get used to after being diagnosed as gluten intolerant was that you could no longer eat pasta. With the lovely advances in gluten-free foods, I can say this is no longer true. But beware, not all gluten free pastas are made the same. Actually, a lot of them taste like crap. My favorite kind of gluten-free pasta is by Tinkyada. Tinkyada pasta is made from brown rice. It withstands a lot of overcooking and there is the option for reduced energy cooking, which I prefer for texture and meal preparation.
Now that I can joyfully eat pasta, I decided to make a gluten-free vegan lasagna. I always make my own tomato sauce because it’s really simple, a lot cheaper than store bought sauces, and it has LOADS less sodium. When in season, I make this tomato sauce from fresh Jersey tomatoes.
For some reason, the sauce ALWAYS tastes better the next day. If you forget or don’t have time, no worries. I also don’t recommend cooking the sauce in a slow cooker. I tried it once and by the time an hour had elapsed, ALL of the seasoning I put it seemed to have evaporated. I was very sad, but I survived.
Gluten Free Vegan Lasagna with Homemade Chunky Vegetable Tomato Sauce
1 28 oz can of pureed tomatoes
1 16 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette (or Bragg’s Amino Acids)
1/4 cup red cooking wine (optional)
2 tbsp each of: rosemary, oregano, basil
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1 bay leaf
up to 3 tablespoons of sugar (to taste)
1 tablespoon EVOO
Roughly chop the onions and garlic. In a large sauce pan, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes before adding the mushrooms. Saute entire mixture 5 minutes more and then reduce heat add the cans of tomatoes. Add the balsamic vinaigrette and the red cooking wine. Then add the spices. Last, add the sugar. You will need at least one to cut the acidity of the tomatoes. If you like sweet sauce, go all in for the three tablespoons. Depending upon which sugar I have in stock, I hover between the 2 1/2 – 3 tablespoon mark. Cover and simmer for 1-2 hours stirring occasionally.
For the Lasagna:
1 10oz package of Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice Lasagna Pasta*
2 lbs of firm or extra firm tofu
2 packages (or bunches) of spinach stems removed
2 tablespoons each of oregano, thyme, basil
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
2 tablespoon of Bragg’s amino acids
2 tablespoons of EVOO
dash of nutmeg
1. Drain the tofu and place in a large mixing bowl. With your hands or with a fork, mash the tofu into bits. You want it to resemble ricotta cheese. When the tofu is crumbled, add the EVOO, spices and the Bragg’s. Mix well and set aside.
2. Cook the pasta according to the “Quick and Energy Saving Cooking” directions on the back of the box, but let stand for 12 minutes instead of 20.
3. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and saute the lightly salted spinach until it is bright green and slightly wilted. Add the spinach to the tofu mixture and mix well.
4. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. After ten minutes, drain the pasta and rinse with cold water. Layer 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of your 9 x 13″ oven safe dish. Then place three strips of lasagna over the sauce. Then place tofu mixture over the lasagna. Cover tofu mixture with more sauce and repeat two more times. You may end up with more a top layer of lasagna with only a bit more sauce and tofu. If you do, simply layer with the left overs and have the top layer be your sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 400 degrees.
***There is no gluten in this lasagna and, therefore, it will not be as forgiving when it comes to maneuvering. It may have already broken before cooking or broken in the cooking process. Be patient. Don’t beat yourself up about it if the pasta does not stay in one piece. No one will see your pasta patch job and if they do, they won’t care. If they care, tell them they can have all the gluten-free lasagna that they made for dinner tonight.