A few nights ago, I sat down with Isa Chandra Moskowitz at Grant’s vegan dinner party. OK, I stalked her, just a little bit. At the end of the evening, I kinda remember that she was running away from the building as we left it together, but maybe the time was up on her meter?
If you have tried eating vegan or vegetarian, you know about Isa. Her books were the first books that my local vegan community recommended to me. Being a little overwhelmed initially, I just ordered Veganomicon and put the other books she authored on my wish list. I already had The Kind Diet, The Vegan Table, The Conscious Cook and Great Chefs Cook Vegan (which might remain a beautiful coffee table book).
By far, The Kind Diet (because it is so simple and not intimidating) was the best book for me to begin with. Isa’s books have now become my working staples. The other night at dinner, she asked me what I have made so far. The pressure! I couldn’t remember, but I knew what was on my list for the following evening: Mushroom Spinach Lasagna.
She mentioned that the key to that recipe was making a few things in advance. Check. I had marinara made. It turned out to be really simple and one of the most delicious dinners I have had so far. It was so good that I woke up in the middle of the night wanting seconds but I waited until breakfast.
Mushroom Spinach Lasagna:
PREHEAT the oven to 375 degrees. Have ready a 9×13 deep lasagna pan. Have prepared marinara ready (from Blog post Day 23) and *Tofu Ricotta prepared.
Here is what you will need:
Double recipe (or more) Marinara *see Day 23 for recipe
Double Tofu Ricotta recipe *See below (I added a bulked up single because I only had I block of Tofu. I added some Tofutti sour cream and cream cheese- 1/4 cup each- and it was perfect!)
1 pound lasagna noodles cooked according to package directions (or follow special directions in Isa’s book for not cooked) or buy another option of precooked noodles such as De Boles Gluten Free Rice Lasagna (no boiling, oven ready).
2 pounds spinach
2 TBL olive oil
1 pound crimini (or white button) and I added a few portobello to make it meatier…I think I would even go with more next time
soy parmesan or 1 recipe Almesan (in cookbook)
Wash the spinach and steam until wilted. Let cool slightly until you can squeeze out excess water and chop coarsely. Toss with olive oil season with S & P.
Sautee thinly sliced mushrooms in 2 more TBL olive oil until all water is evaporated and mushrooms are brown and tender. (I always like to add a few TBL sherry to this process for flavor).
Ladle about 1/4 cup marinara into bottom of pan and layer with 5 to 6 cooked or pre cooked noodles. Add half the tofu ricotta then the Spinach and mushrooms and about 1/3 of the sauce. Add another layer…then top with more noodles, sauce and Soy Parmesan.
Tightly crimp tow layers of foil over pan and bake for 30 minutes and uncover baking until browned another 20 minutes. Allow to cool before slicing and serve with additional marinara.
1 pound firm or extra firm tofu
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of fresh ground pepper
handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped finely, 10 leaves or so
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
In a large bowl, mush the tofu with your hands, until it’s crumbly.
Add lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil. Mush with hands again. Add the olive oil, stir with a fork. Add the nutritional yeast and mix all together well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
This was incredibly easy. So easy that I whipped up potatoes and onions, green beans and turkey meat loaf for the boys in between.
Veganomicon, bills itself as the “ultimate vegan cookbook.” I have to agree. In 2009, two more books have been added to Isa’s repertoire, Vegan Brunch and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. She also won two more VegNews “Veggie” awards, for Personality Of The Year and as the readers’ choice for Favorite Cookbook Author. Herbivore magazine named her one of the New Faces of Veganism in the Winter 2005 issue, and featured her on the cover. In April 2008, she relocated to Portland, Oregon from New York.
Lucky me. Lucky us.
Life is Delicious!