Monday, December 13, 2010

Vegan Pasta Party- Lasagna

I love to host a good party! Playing hostess is one of my favorite roles in life and I am always looking for a good excuse to cook dinner for other folks. What better excuse than all my friends running Thunder Road Half Marathon?
Ok, so the kiddos weren't running a half-marathon...but they are the best guests!  They are honest and will let you know if your "cheese" is up to par.  I know I shouldn't lie to children but they actually ate their tofu cheese and said it was delish!

This is Nathan's 2nd debut on the blog!  He got to hang out with us all morning on Saturday while his parent's ran Thunder Road!  So we filled him up with some pasta as well.

Planning a dinner the night before a big run is pretty easy I realized.  First, decorate the house well.
All you need for great decorations are cheap candies!  A crowd pleasing centerpiece!

The cuisine was an easy choice: carbs and more carbs for all the runners.  We based the menu on the idea of carb-loading.

Pasta Party Menu
Broccoli Walnut Stuffed Shells
Vegetable Lasagna
Spaghetti and Red Sauce
Crusty Rolls
Salad Bar
Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels

Guests also brought Pomegranate Jello and Christmas Cookies.

The entrees were delicious! (If I do say so myself) And I got raving reviews on both the shells and the lasagna.  So for my readers today, here is a yummy and easy lasagna recipe. 

Vegetable Lasagna

I don't make lasagna often because it is just SO.MUCH.FOOD.  But this meal really works well for a crowd and is an easy dish to feed carnivores.  They will leave feeling satisfied and full even without meat in their meal.

1 box whole grain lasagna noodles
1 jar pasta sauce
1 container tofu
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp italian seasoning
1 eggplant, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 tomato sliced
6 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cup rice/soy mozzarella flavored cheese

If your noodles are no-boil skip this step.  Bring large pot of water to boil and slide your lasagna noodles in.  Boil for 10 minutes or so until soft and drain.

While noodles are boiling, you can prepare your "ricotta" cheese.  Drain tofu by layering the block between two hand towels and placing on plate.  Place a plate on top and stack heavy objects (cookbooks work well).  Drain for 5-10 minutes.  Chop tofu and process in food processor until mixed well, but not completely smooth.  Add lemon juice and Italian seasonings and process a few seconds longer until well combined.  Add salt to taste. 

In large casserole dish pour 2 tbsp to 1/4 cup pasta sauce on bottom of pan and spread.  Layer noodles (I used 3 noodles for each layer).  Smooth 1/2 ricotta cheese mixture on top of noodles, layer sliced eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and tomatoes.  Top with a few dollops of pasta sauce and layer on more noodles.  Top noodles with other half of ricotta cheese, vegetables and sauce.  Layer on last 3 noodles, on top of those noodles I placed slices of tomato more sauce and sprinkled the shredded mozzarella cheese on top. 

Cover casserole with foil and bake at 400* for 45 minutes to an hour.  I was disappointed with how watery the casserole was because of the vegetables, but once we dug in it was delicious and water just sorta stayed in the pan.  This lasagna makes great leftovers.  The water then soaks into all the noodles and you are left with gorgeous layers!

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