A noteworthy post for vegan lasagna indeed. Sure, lasagna is nothing new, in fact, it’s really rather basic. So what makes a dish of lasagna great? We believe it’s careful selection of your filling and layering of course, but we also would argue that maybe it all comes down to the sauce.
Let’s stick to the sauce topic for a minute. Everyone has an opinion on what makes a great sauce. Is it the herbs, the balance of seasoning? Well, in this case, my daughter believes it’s all about the wine. She was fortunate enough to spend a few months in Provence, France helping out in a kitchen of a vegan Chef. That, coupled with her authentic Italian roots is where I do believe she adapted this philosophy of cooking with wine. Her love of red wine cooking has certainly given merit to her marinara. The results are a dark red burgundy that is full of flavor.
Feel free to take your rich hearty marinara sauce to a rich hearty bolognese sauce. Even vegan’s like the occasional addition of a soy or plant based textured meat. I find that especially when making lasagna, the addition of plant-based meat is well worth it. I think it ties the flavors together perfectly and gives a bit more substance to this layered pasta dish.
Don’t forget the herbs and seasonings in any sauce!
Red wine, garlic, fresh-dried rosemary and anise seeds-my four must-haves in obtaining an authentic Italian sauce. No matter if I’m making my quick version of tomato sauce for a pizza (where I whip it up in my vitamix with out cooking), or I choose to make a slow-cooked hearty pot of marinara or bolognese, rosemary, garlic, red wine and anise seeds are always included. The combination of these four really pull the acidity of the tomatoes together-it’s like the final touches have been added to lock in the flavor. This coupled with a slow cook option over the stove is nothing short of perfection.
Some personal thoughts on plant based meats…
When you decide to work with a plant based version of ground meat just use common sense. There are two types that I have found out there. First, there’s the dehydrated version of soy meat. You just add warm water and some bouillon in a bowl, and let it sit for about 15 min. The other type of plant meat is more poised as a ‘ground meat’, and it comes from the refrigerated section. Both options don’t need to be cooked long, and they deliver a nice flavor substitution for any vegan dish. The finished version that I mentioned is pink in color (like meat), and is also flavored, while the dehydrated version is cream in color and plain. Once you add either version to your bolognese base, you will never know you are not eating meat.
As I say in every recipe … explore, create and try to duplicate if the results were noteworthy. After all, that’s the goal here, to create noteworthy, memorable results in everything you cook. This dish is served well with a nice radicchio winter salad, or a summer arugula and butter leaf salad. Add in some deliciously offensive garlic bead and you have yourself a wonderful, memorable meal.
- 1 large organic zucchini sliced thin, length wise
- 1 large organic eggplant sliced thin, length wise
- 2 cans organic tomato's for sauce
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 pack vegan soy or plant meat – optional
- 1 sprig rosemary dry or fresh for sauce
- 1/2 cup dark red wine for sauce
- 2-3 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper fresh ground
- 1-2 tsp anise seed for sauce
- 1 package lasagna noodles no need to cook, just add straight from box
- make a delicious pot of bolognese. Start with sauteeing the onion, garlic, herbs and spices. Add tomato cans, wine and soy meat. Cook at simmer for as long as possible.
- Turn oven to 200 celsius. Get your baking tray/dish and begin to layer the sauce first, then noodles, then sauce, then zucchini, then sauce, then noodles, etc…follow an alternating pattern until finished
- finish the layering with sauce on the top
- add additional slices of garlic if desired
- bake for about 25 min until bubbling. Let cool for about 5 min, and slice up and serve