Recipe: Life-Changing Lasagna

Here lies John Joseph’s incredible vegan lasagna that will satisfy everyone. If you don’t know who JJ is, he’s a punk musician who got stabbed, shot, and went to prison for a while, and now he’s in his 50s, has eaten vegan for several years, and has done ten Ironman competitions. He’s both abrasive and hilarious.

His recipe is loaded with super foods and spices:

  • Asafetida helps gas issues
  • Turmeric destroys free radicals in the body
  • Molasses is loaded with iron
  • Broccoli has chlorophyll, excellent for healing prostate issues

I’m not gonna lie, this recipe is time-consuming, so I recommend making it for a celebration or big family dinner. It is special and so worth it. I love making it, and if I’ve ever made you lasagna, I def love you.

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Ingredients

Sauce
4 T organic Earth Balance
3/4 c olive oil
3/4 t asafetida (hing)*
1 t ground turmeric
1/4 t coriander
1/4 t fenugreek
1/4 t ground cumin
1 1/2 t black mustard seeds*
2 dried chilies, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
5 cups pasta sauce
3 1/4 t sea salt
1/3 c tomato paste
1/4 c molasses
3 t Italian herb blend

*I bought asafoetida and black mustard seeds on Amazon. They’re great to have in your spice arsenal!

I know this sauce ingredient list looks bonkers, but trust the recipe. You will love the end product.

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Lasagna
1/4 c coconut oil
8-11 oz Beyond Meat beef*
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 c vegan ricotta (store bought or homemade)
2 8 oz bags vegan mozzarella shreds
1 broccoli head, chopped into florets
1 zucchini, sliced
1 box lasagna, rinsed (not cooked)
1 bunch spinach, roughly shredded
organic Earth Balance, for greasing
olive oil, for greasing

PLEASE READ! This recipe calls for Beyond Meat beef crumbles, but my local store didn’t have those. I got the Beyond Meat hamburger patties instead, cooked them according to package directions, and then broke them up in the pan. It worked great! This particular brand is not necessary, just be sure to look at the ingredient list of whatever you buy (ideally you always do this). Beyond Meat is composed of pea protein, and the vegan ricotta and mozzarella shreds I use are both cashew-based. There should not be anything mysterious in these items.

Also, it is critical that you do not cook lasagna prior to assembling the dish! The lasagna will cook in the sauce in the oven. More flavor is absorbed into the sheets of pasta this way.

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Instructions

Sauce

  1. Melt Earth Balance in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Stir in olive oil, asafetida, turmeric, coriander, fenugreek, cumin, black mustard seeds, and dried chilies.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes and allow them to cook down a couple minutes, releasing their liquid and flavor.
  4. Stir in pasta sauce, sea salt, tomato paste, molasses, and Italian herb blend. Lower heat to a simmer and cover sauce for 30 minutes.

Lasagna

  1. Melt coconut oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
  2. Add your “beef”, season with pepper, and cook following package instructions. This should take about ten minutes.
  3. Remove “beef” from heat and pour into a big bowl. Mix in the vegan ricotta and a handful of vegan mozzarella.
  4. Place broccoli florets and zucchini slices in a steaming basket over an inch of water in a large pot and cover.* Steam over high heat until broccoli is easily pierced with a fork. When done, move to a large bowl and mulch it up using knives.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. Grease a large casserole pan with a dollop of Earth Balance and a dash of olive oil.
  7. Order of assembly:
    1. Sauce
    2. Lasagna
    3. All ricotta mixture, pressed down and spread out evenly
    4. Sauce
    5. All broccoli / zucchini mixture
    6. Shredded spinach
    7. Sauce
    8. Vegan mozzarella
    9. Lasagna
    10. Sauce
  8. Cover pan with foil and bake for one hour.
  9. Remove from oven, remove foil, and add remaining vegan mozzarella.
  10. Uncovered, bake for ten more minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and top with remaining sauce.

*If you don’t have a steaming basket, put your veggies directly into an inch of water to steam and then drain.

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Serves ten.

Adapted from No Death, No Dairy Lasagna.

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Recipe: Falafel

This falafel is baked and hits the spot. Serve it with cilantro hummus for added flavor.

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Ingredients

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 onion, chopped
2 T bread crumbs
2 T chickpea flour*
2 T fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/4 t black pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
3/4 t sea salt, divided
2 T coconut oil
1 lemon
6 T tahini
1/4 c water
3 T olive oil
1/4 t paprika
pita bread
1 romaine heart, chopped
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
dill pickles, chopped

*Whole wheat flour can be substituted.

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine chickpeas, onion, bread crumbs, flour, parsley, cumin, coriander, pepper, two garlic cloves, and sea salt in food processor. Pulse until the mixture becomes paste-like.
  3. Using a spoon, cookie dough scoop, or melon baller, scoop mixture into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Flatten balls with the back of the spatula until they’re about 3/4″ thick.
  4. Brush both sides of each falafel disc with coconut oil. Bake for 45 minutes, turning them over halfway through. Set aside when done.
  5. Whisk together juice from the lemon, tahini, water, olive oil, paprika, remaining 1/4 t sea salt, and remaining two minced garlic cloves and set aside.
  6. Add rice, stirring often until some grains start to brown. In quick succession, add the cooked lentils, water, and remaining sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook 30 minutes.
  7. To assemble, cut about 1″ off the top of the pita to open the pocket. Add falafel, romaine, tomato, cucumber, and pickles and then top with tahini sauce.

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Serves four.

Adapted from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.

Recipe: Mujaddara

Mujaddara is a Lebanese dish, but I’ve also seen it associated with Jordan and Iran. I believe the origins are regional and predate today’s borders, but if you have more info please let me know in the comments below.

This recipe is simple,  savory, and an unsuspecting crowd pleaser. The caramelized onions are heaven and the vibrant spices bring the dish to life. Rick houses it.

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Ingredients

1 c lentils
1/2 c olive oil
1 t cumin seeds
1/2 t black peppercorns, cracked or whole
3-5 red onions
2 t sea salt
3/4 c brown basmati rice
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne
1″ cinnamon stick
3 c water
1-2 lemons
2 T pine nuts, toasted (optional)

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  1. Put lentils into a medium saucepan and cover them with about an inch of cold water. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for a minute. Add cumin seeds and peppercorns, occasionally shaking the pan until the cumin seeds darken, about one minute.
  3. Sauté onions and 1/2 t sea salt, stirring often. The onions are done when they’re dark brown in color with slightly crispy edges. This will take about ten minutes.
  4. With a slotted spoon, move about half of the onions to a tea towel or paper towel-lined plate. These are for garnish.
  5. Add ground cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon stick and sauté about one minute.
  6. Add rice, stirring often until some grains start to brown. In quick succession, add the cooked lentils, water, and remaining sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to a simmer, cover, and cook 30 minutes.
  7. Keeping the lid on, turn off the heat and allow the rice mixture to steam for about five minutes.
  8. If using, toast pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-low heat about five minutes.
  9. Serve rice mixture with the reserved onions, a squeeze of lemon juice, and pine nuts, if using.

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Unlike the photo above, make a polished table presentation by filling a mold or small bowl with the dish and flipping it onto a plate.

Enjoy this mujaddara for lunch or dinner, as a side, or as a main course.

Serves four.

Adapted from Lebanese Lentils, Rice and Caramelized Onions.

Recipe: Pad Thai

 

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Ingredients

6 oz rice stick noodles
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c mirin
3 T ketchup
3 T soy sauce or tamari
1 1/2 T lime juice
1 T sambal oelek or sriracha
~15 oz baked tofu*
1/2 red onion, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, chopped
1 handful of baby carrots, shredded
1/4 c fresh cilantro, mint, or combo, chopped
1/2 c roasted peanuts, chopped

*Get hard, vacuum sealed tofu in the refrigerated section. Don’t get the crumbly stuff. This should require a knife!

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  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
  2. Whisk syrup, mirin, ketchup, soy sauce, lime juice, and sambal oelek together. Set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over high. Add tofu and stir-fry for four minutes.
  4. Add onion and garlic and stir-fry for one minute.
  5. Add noodles and sauce mixture and stir-fry until even coated.
  6. Add scallions and carrots and stir-fry until all ingredients are well combined and heated through.
  7. Remove skillet from heat. Stir in herbs and peanuts.

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Serves four.

Adapted from Skinny Bitch in the Kitch.

Recipe: Roasted Beets and Sweets

 

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Ingredients

3 large beets*, peeled and diced
3 T olive oil, divided
3 sweet potatoes*, diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 t garlic powder
1 t sea salt
1 t black pepper
1 t cane sugar**

*Bonus points if you use rainbow beets and different sweet potatoes. The more color, the better!

**Ditch the sugar to make this recipe paleo.

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  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  2. In a bowl, toss beets in 1 T olive oil until coated. Distribute evenly on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse the bowl, then toss sweet potatoes, onion, garlic powder, sea salt, pepper, sugar, and 2 T olive oil until coated.
  4. Mix sweet potato mixture with the beets on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stir the mixture, then bake another 25 minutes until all vegetables are tender.

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Serves six.

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Adapted from Roasted Beets ‘n’ Sweets.