this whole trying to be ‘gluten-free-as-much-as-possible-within-reason’ has been pretty swell so far! i’ve discovered doughnuts! yes, doughnuts! and i’m learning about new culinary wonders- buckwheat flour isn’t from wheat, it’s a groat/berry! i was going to let myself gracefully fall off of the wagon for a night to take advantage of the valentines dinner benefit at the seward cafe for bone shaker books, but the 8:30 dinner has sold out.
i hear there may still be some 7pm seats left, so hurry up if you want a fancy feast somewhere new! It’s sold out!
i’m celebrating the “national day of getting laid” early, and i’m adapting some old stand-by’s to fit the GF bill. a savory, roasted eggplant lasagna, and sharing a recipe i found online for a gluten free, vegan, chocolate torte. yum!
this is definitely a labor intensive meal with the pre roasting, but you can always pre-assemble your sexy lasagna a day in advance/morning of and pop it in the oven when you know you have an hour til’ romancing. besides, who said love was easy? this is also quite a hefty lasagna, so feel free to halve it and assemble it in a brownie pan. if you like your lasagna saucy, grab an extra jar (or can if you find BPA free) of sauce to pool on your plate for serving.
sexy roasted eggplant lasagna
1 box Tinkyada Rice Lasagna
3 med/large eggplants- pick ones with taught, shiny skins.
1 lb cremini mushrooms
1 large red onion
a couple GF veggie burgers to crumble up, opt
daiya cheese, opt
salt, pepper, ect
1 lb tofu
1 tbs miso
1/2 c cashews that have been soaked for a few hours, or 30 minutes in very hot water
1 tbs nutritional yeast
24oz jar strained tomatoes
2 tbs itallian seasoning
1 tsp agave
crushed red pepper, opt
crushed garlic, as many cloves as you’d like
preheat the oven to 425
if you have a cast iron griddle, pop it in the oven while it heats up to 425. peel the eggplants, and slice into 1/3″ rounds. once the cast iron is hot, smear it with a dab of oil, and place a layer of eggplants down. season the tops with salt and pepper and roast for 8 minutes per side or until golden and ‘dry’ looking. keep repeating until all slices have been cooked. if you have no cast iron, put some parchment on a cookie sheet and roast them on it. the parchment helps the eggplant dry out as it roasts so it won’t turn to mush!
meanwhile, thinly slice your onion into half moons. sauté in a little earth balance or oil until caramelized, about 15 minutes. thinly slice your mushrooms and add a few handfuls at a time, cooking until soft before adding the next hand full. once all of the mushrooms have been added, increase the heat and sauté until almost all of the liquid has evaporated. add 1/4 tsp each fennel and tarragon, and crumble in your veggie burgers if using. otherwise, fold in the spices and sauté for a minute more, until fragrant, and set aside.
to make the sauce, open the jar of tomatoes and pour in the agave, garlic, hot pepper, and the itallian spices. re-cap and shake well. easy! *or cheat further and buy spaghetti sauce.
to make the ‘ricotta’, crumble the tofu into a food processor, add the miso, nutritional yeast, cashews and a 1/2 tsp salt. puree until smooth.
Assembly and Baking:
preheat the oven to 375
*rice pasta can get gummy if boiled too long so i par-boil mine for 3-5 minutes. the residual liquid in the filling will finish the pasta in the oven. i use a large high-walled skillet so that i can easily grab individual sheets from the water with a tongs.
oil a high-walled casserole/lasagna pan. pour about one fourth of the pasta sauce into the bottom and spread out. put down the first layer of pasta. spread with tofu ricotta- if it got too thick, thin with a little almond milk or water. then add half of your eggplant slices, overlapping slightly. lastly, sprinkle with half of your mushroom/veggie burger mix. top with another fourth of the sauce and spread out. i like to really press down at this point to ensure all of the layers are compact as it will help the noodles retain their shape and soak up the rest of the veggie liquid. repeat the layering with the rest of your filling, and top with a final layer of pasta, and the rest of the sauce. cover tightly with oiled aluminum foil (oil side down) and bake for 60 minutes. once the lasagna is hot all the way through, top with daiya or vegan béchamel sauce, and return to the oven to melt the cheese- or skip this step and serve as-is. i served mine alongside some steamed broccoli with a little garlic olive oil on top.
next time, i’ll tinker with the cake to make it a bit denser- maybe more buckwheat flour, or brown rice flour? and i want to cook the caramel longer in the first stage, it seems too light, i think.