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: Stuffed Mushroom Eyeballs

I come alive in Q4, especially October. I’ve celebrated Halloween all month by doing one spooky activity per day, and today I made creepy eyeball hors d’oeuvres. Halloween is on a Wednesday this year, which is a good opportunity to have some loved ones over for a spooky movie and an All Hallows’ Eve themed spread with these EYEBALLS.

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Ingredients

16 oz button mushrooms*
1 block extra firm tofu, drained**
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t lemon juice
3/4 t sea salt
1/2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t onion powder
1/2 t black pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T sun-dried tomatoes (from bag, not packed in oil), julienned
1 small can of sliced black olives

*This recipe yields a lot of tofu ricotta, so feel free to double your mushrooms for more eyeballs or keep the ricotta for another recipe.
**If you prefer to avoid tofu, this recipe would be great with a store-bought or homemade cashew cheese.

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Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  2. Rinse mushrooms, pull out stems, and set aside on a baking sheet.
  3. Puree tofu, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, Italian seasoning, onion powder and pepper together in a food processor until completely smooth. Set aside.
  4. Using a teaspoon, drip a few drops of balsamic vinegar into each mushroom cap.
  5. Make a piping bag by scooping tofu ricotta mixture into a Ziploc and trimming off a corner. Pipe mixture into each cap so that it creates a small mound.
  6. Place sun-dried tomato pieces on stuffed mushrooms, and top each one with one slice of olive. Press down gently.
  7. Bake the mushrooms for 15 minutes, until the caps begin to wrinkle slightly.

Serve warm or room temperature.

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Rick Aldrich: Spooky Mushroom Eyeball Model and General Good Sport

Serves eight.

Adapted from Stuffed Mushroom Eyeballs.

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Recipe: Corn Risotto

Nothin’ says fall like throwing some corn into a comforting dish.

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bonus: eating leeks makes you look like you have your life together

Ingredients

2 T organic Earth Balance
1 leek, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
1 t sea salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 c arborio rice
1/4 c white wine vinegar
1/4 c water
6 c vegetable stock
2 corn ears, kernels cut off (about 1 1/2 c corn)
1 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c rice milk

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If you’re gonna eat dairy, eat organic. This way you know the animals and food have been treated as ethically as possible.

  1. Melt Earth Balance in a high-sided sauté pan over medium-low. Add leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about six minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper.
  2. Add rice and cook, stirring, until grains look slightly translucent.
  3. Pour in vinegar and water and cook, stirring, until it has all been absorbed, about two minutes.
  4. Add a cup of stock to the rice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until rice has absorbed all of the stock. Continue cooking, adding one cup of stock at a time when rice mixture looks dry. Stir continuously.
  5. When half the stock has been added, stir in corn.
  6. Continue cooking until all stock is mixed in, corn is tender, and rice is creamy, about 40 minutes total.
  7. Remove risotto from heat and stir in Parmesan and remaining tablespoon of Earth Balance. Cover and let stand for five minutes.
  8. Uncover risotto, stir in milk, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. Serve topped with shaved Parmesan, if desired.

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Serves eight.

Adapted from Corn Risotto.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Sweet potatoes are fabulous for you, and gnocchi is delicious and can easily be made vegan. If you’re intimidated by the idea of making your own gnocchi, well, so was I. Fear not! I was delighted by the ease of this recipe. Also, orange food makes for a good October dish. #spooky

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Ingredients

2 medium sweet potatoes
1 T ground flax
3 T water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 t sea salt plus a pinch
1/2 t nutmeg
2 c flour

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Pierce each sweet potato several times with a fork and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine ground flax and water and allow a few minutes to congeal. Mix well and set aside.
  4. Once cool enough to work with, remove potato peels and mash potatoes in a large bowl.
  5. Mix garlic, sea salt, nutmeg, and flax egg into the potatoes. Finally, mix in the flour a little at a time until you have soft dough. I recommend the dough blade in a food processor for this part.
  6. Bring a large pot of  water and pinch of sea salt to boil.
  7. Roll dough out on a floured surface and cut into pieces, roughly 1″ (see photos).
  8. Drop pieces into boiling water, allowing them to cook until they float to the surface. Remove floating pieces with a slotted spoon.
  9. Serve with organic Earth Balance or a vegan cream sauce.

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Serves 4-6.

Adapted from Sweet Potato Gnocchi.

Recipe: Bean and Mushroom “Meatballs”

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While this recipe doesn’t exactly trick Rick the meat eater, he likes these “meatballs” so much he requests them.

Ingredients

3 T olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, rinsed, patted dry, and chopped
1 1/2 t sea salt, divided
1 t oregano
1/2 t black pepper plus a pinch
1 t chili flakes, divided plus extra for serving
1 can of white beans, drained, rinsed
juice of 1 lemon
3 T fresh parsley, chopped and divided plus extra for serving
1 1/4 c bread crumbs, split into 1 cup and 1/4 cup
5 stalks kale, removed from ribs, chopped
1 25 oz jar of marinara sauce
sub rolls or buns

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  1. Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 T olive oil and onion and cook for four minutes.
  3. Add 2/3 garlic and mushrooms, cook for another two minutes.
  4. Stir in oregano, pepper, 1/2 t chili flakes, and 1 t sea salt.
  5. Add white beans and lemon juice and stir. Let mixture cook for one more minute.
  6. Add the bean / mushroom mixture to a food processor, pulsing a few times until the mixture comes together.
  7. Pour in the 2 T parsley and 1 cup of bread crumbs and pulse a few more times until the mixture is well combined. Let the mixture sit for five minutes so the bread crumbs absorb some of the bean / mushroom mixture.
  8. Meanwhile, add 1/4 c bread crumbs, 1/2 t sea salt, 1/2 t chili flakes, 1 T parsley, and a pinch of pepper to a bowl.
  9. Scoop out “meatball” mixture with a melon baller and roll around in bread crumb mixture until coated. Place breaded “meatballs” on the prepared baking sheet, repeating until no mixture remains.
  10. Bake the “meatballs” for 50 minutes, flipping them over halfway through.
  11. While the “meatballs” are in the oven, prepare the kale.
  12. Heat remaining  2 T of olive oil over medium heat in the same skillet you cooked the “meatball” mixture. Add remaining garlic and salt and cook for one minute. Pour garlic oil over the chopped kale and stir until evenly coated. Set aside.
  13.  In the same skillet you cooked the garlic in , heat marinara sauce over low. When the “meatballs” are done, place them in the warm marinara sauce.
  14. Place kale in toasted buns and top with “meatballs”, fresh parsley, and chili flakes.

These “meatballs” make great leftovers and can also be served over pasta.

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Serves four.

Adapted from WHITE BEAN + MUSHROOM ‘MEATBALL’ SUBS (VEGAN).