Saturday, July 17, 2010

For the Vegan in you

Broken-Lasagna Casserole
by ~Blessedmama 

"About a year ago, I was at a discount store when I saw something unique, something I've never seen before in the way of pasta: a bag of purposely broken lasagna noodle pieces! I stared at that, amazed that the simple act of breaking those long noodles into chunks could inspire a new dish spinning through my head. Being strictly a budget-minded girl, though, I couldn't buy them that day - they didn't fit in that day's wad of cash. And then I never bought them, I don't know why. But, oh broken noodles, I've never forgotten you! So, I recently went out and bought a box of lasagna noodles and broke them up all by myself. It was fun being destructive like that. Thus, the Broken-Lasagna Casserole was born. He may not be the most handsome boy in the room, but he is sure is nice and smooth talkin'! See if you don't like him too."
Broken-Lasagna Casserole right out of the oven.

A chunk of him on my plate next to some steamed asparagus.

Broken-Lasagna Casserole

1 pkg. lasagna noodles, broken in chunks
1 Tbs. canola oil
1 pkg. Smart Ground, original
1 pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained and diced small
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 green bell pepper, diced small
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 - 28oz. can petite diced tomatoes
1 - 15oz. can tomato sauce
1 - 4.25 oz. can chopped olives
1 cup of frozen corn
1 - 6oz. can tomato paste
15-20 fresh basil leaves cut into thirds or halves, depending on their size (if extra small, leave whole)
1 - 10oz. pkg. Vegan Gourmet Monterey Jack cheese, finely grated, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the broken noodles according to package directions. In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat. Saute the Smart Ground and tofu until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the seasonings, bell pepper and garlic and continue cooking for another five minutes, being careful not to burn. You can add a touch more oil or a little water, if the food starts to stick. Add the canned tomato products, olives and corn. Turn heat down to medium low and let simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the fresh basil. Add the noodles to the pot and stir. Set aside one cup of the cheese and thoroughly mix the rest in the pot. Pour the ingredients into a large casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining one cup of cheese on top. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn broiler on high, and broil for about five minutes to finish melting the cheese. Check to make sure the casserole doesn't burn. This was a fun variation to lasagna or an ordinary pasta dish. Everyone liked it - hope you do too. Feeds five hungry vegans for a couple of days.

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