Today’s recipe stays in the same vein of a classic comfort food redux, particularly for the summer months when I crave light and fresh- tasting meals. I’m also always looking for excuses to use my (impulse-purchased) ingredients from the farmer’s market. Zucchini noodle lasagna to the rescue!
For a while I was intimidated to try a recipe like this due to my lack of a mandolin (for slicing the zucchinis into very thin “noodle” sheets). However, my trusty chef’s knife worked just fine. If you have access to a mandolin by all means try it, but here the slightly thicker planks I used softened up nicely in the oven.
The vegan “ricotta” I’m using is one of my favorite vegan cooking hacks. I strongly believe it will convert any tofu hater…as long as you don’t tell them what it is beforehand 😉
For convenience’s sake I am using a jarred marinara sauce. Be sure to look out for high sodium levels and added sugars when purchasing these!
This recipe is adapted from my constant source of plant-based inspiration, Minimalist Baker.
- 1 block extra firm tofu, drained and pressed dry for 15 minutes
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup fresh basil
- 2 tsp oregano
- 4 TBS lemon juice
- 4 TBS nutritional yeast
- 1 TBS olive oil*
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder, or 1 minced clove garlic
- 4 TBS water
- 3 medium zucchini squash, sliced thinly**
- 28-ounce jar tomato sauce of choice
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- All all ingredients for tofu ricotta (except water) to a food processor. Let blend for 30 seconds until well incorporated. While motor is running, slowly add water one tablespoon at a time, until a viscous (not crumbly) mixture is formed. Set aside.
- In a 9 x 13-inch glass Pyrex, pour about one cup of tomato sauce and coat dish entirely. Lay zucchini in an even layer on top (see photo above as an example).
- On top of these “noodles,” add about half of the ricotta mixture. Continue alternating between sauce, zucchini, and ricotta until all is used. Be sure the top layer is sauce (this will ensure total softening of vegetables).
- Sprinkle with cheese of choice (or cashew parmesan) and cover with foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes, remove the foil, and bake 20 additional minutes. Let cool 15 minutes before serving with more cheese and fresh basil.
*Olive oil is optional here but provides a nice depth of flavor.
**If you have a little more time, heavily salt zucchini strips and let them sit in a colander in the sink for about 30 minutes. This will draw out much of their moisture. After “sweating” the planks in this fashion, be sure to rinse off excess salt and pat dry with paper towels. Eggplant would be a great sub here as well!
EDIT: My good friend Colette informed be that she made the tofu ricotta one week ahead of time, stored it in the freeze, and thawed it for the recipe with wonderful results!