Monday, August 3, 2009


To a plate of luscious lasagna and crisp,flavorful garlic bread, I would add nothing more than a steamed vegetable or a salad of greens, olives and sliced fennel dressed with a simple vinaigrette. For dessert, a selection of refreshing citrus-flavored gelati and you've taken your friends or family to Rome for the evening!


This might seem like a lot of work for one meal (though I have to say it's always been received with raves whenever I've made it), but keep in mind that almost all elements of this fabulous festa can be prepared in advance. 

Make the sauce weeks or months in advance, then freeze and defrost. Same with the bread, but be sure to slice as directed before freezing. That leaves boiling and assembling the noodles, spicing and slicing the cheeses. Store bought dessert and a quick salad and you're done!

As anyone who makes Italian food will tell you, if you start with a good sauce, you're more than halfway to good eating. 


1/2 c TVP

1c boiling vegetable bouillon

3T olive oil

2 large onions

10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced thick

4 large garlic cloves

1T oregano

1T dried basil

1/2 c chopped Italian (flat) parsley

1/2 c chopped black olives

3 28oz cans crushed tomatoes

Mix TVP and broth. Let sit until liquid is absorbed.

In large soup pot add oil, TVP, all but tomatoes.

When onions are translucent, add tomatoes.

Cook on medium 30 mins or low 2 hours (preferred), stirring every 15 mins.

Note: For those who aren't familiar with TVP, it  is textured vegetable protein.You can buy it from Bob's Red Mill or Barry Farm or other places on line. It's granulated soy and when you add liquid to it, it has the texture of ground meat.Very useful. I mix it with Better than Bouillon vegetable bouillon concentrate but it would also be good with vegetable stock or soy sauce and water or mushroom stock.

And since we know we're going to serve this with garlic bread, here's my recipe for Italian loaves:

2T yeast

1 1/2 T sugar

1 1/2 c water, 110 degrees (lukewarm)

1c cornstarch

1c sorghum flour

1c brown rice flour

1T xanthan gum

2 tsp salt

2T olive oil

1 tsp vinegar

3 egg whites

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix sugar, water and yeast in small bowl. 

Mix salt, xanthan gum and flours on low, in mixer.

When yeast mixture is foamy, add to flours.

Mix egg whites, oil and vinegar in medium bowl. 

Add to mixer bowl.

Mix on high for 4 minutes.

Oil cookie sheet or french bread forms.

Dust with cornmeal.

Ladle batter into forms or onto sheets. 

(One loaf per sheet if using cookie sheets.)

Spray loaves with cooking spray.

With cool, wet spatula, smooth tops of loaves.

Cover and let rise to double in warm place. 

(I use top of stove as oven heats.)

Make angled cuts in loaves with razor blade.

Bake until internal temperature is 200 degrees, about 1 hr.

Cool to room temp, out of pans, before slicing.

FOR GARLIC BREAD (Prepare this while the lasagna is baking)

Slice each loaf in thirds. Place each third, slit open and flattened outward, on unoiled baking sheet. Brush bread with olive oil, add a sprinkle of salt and fresh pepper, and minced garlic or garlic powder to taste. Chopped or dried oregano or basil would be a nice addition as well. While the lasagna is cooling, place trays of bread in oven. Bake till edges are brown. 


Makes two 9x9 pans.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

16oz ricotta or whipped cottage cheese

1T oregano

1T basil

1t garlic powder

16oz mozzarella cheese

1c grated parmesan cheese

10oz box lasagna noodles

olive oil

6-8c sauce

Boil noodles in small batches in large pots salted water, 1 tsp oil to prevent sticking.

Drain and lay out flat on plate as finished. 

Flavor ricotta with oregano, basil, garlic.

Cut mozzarella into 1/2 inch cubes.

Cover bottom of baking dish with sauce.

Add one layer of noodles, cutting where necessary, slightly overlapping.

Dot with five heaping tablespoons of flavored ricotta, sprinkled with parmesan.

Add sauce, then cubed mozzarella (save most of mozzarella for top).

Continue layering, ending with noodles covered in sauce, parmesan and mozzarella.

Heat in oven 30-40 mins until cheese has melted or browned (my preference).

Cool 10-15 minutes before slicing.

Tip: Freeze individual servings for quick microwaving.


I Am Gluten Free said...

Yes, lasagna is very labor-intensive, but SO worth it. Whenever I make my gluten free vegan lasagna, it gets rave reviews, but I'm usually still reeling from the mess in the kitchen!

I love the look of your french bread. I'm wondering if it can be successfully made without the egg whites. I've tried, but it usually comes out like lead. Any thoughts?


G.F.Veg said...

hi ellen,

what have you used instead of egg whites? NRG egg replacer? flaxseeds and water? just guessing, here, but if neither of those has worked i wonder if more yeast might help.

let me know how it goes!