Faux Lasagna, with Tofu and Carrot Noodles
This faux lasagna tastes like the real deal: tomato-y, cheese-y, and just plain delicious. It was inspired by a lasagna that I saw at a vegetarian restaurant in Ottawa, The Table. To make it gluten-free, the chef had replaced lasagna noodles with long carrot slices.
For the first time, it occurred to me that I might be able to make a lasagna that would not upset my food sensitivities or have a calorie count in the stratosphere. All I had to do was re-think the usual ingredients. The result not only has carrots in place of noodles, it also has soft goat cheese in place of ricotta and tofu instead of ground beef. Plus, in the spirit of “vegetables are good,” I added grated zucchini and sliced mushrooms to the tomato sauce.
Makes 4 servings
- 2 large, fat carrots, sliced lengthwise (I used a Japanese mandolin slicer to achieve long, wide slices. Since only the middle of the carrot yields that kind of strip, you’ll end up with a number of extra strips. I cooked all of them and used the extra as just cooked carrots.)
- 2 tbsp. chicken broth powder and ½ cup water, mixed together
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 9 oz. medium tofu, diced small
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 1 zucchini, grated
- 1 carrot, grated
- 1 tbsp. oregano
- 2 tsp. basil
- 90 grams soft goat cheese
- ½ cup grated sheep romano
- 1-2 tbsp. sugar, if grated carrot has not sufficiently reduced acidity of tomatoes (although it usually does)
- Salt, to taste
- Cooking spray
- Tomato sauce: In a large saucepan over medium high heat, begin tomato sauce by sautéeing onions and spices in chicken broth-water mixture. (Add more water if pot goes dry.) When onions are just tender, add crushed tomatoes, grated zucchini, grated carrot, and sliced mushrooms. Bring to boil and then lower heat until sauce is simmering. Taste and add 1-2 tbsp. of sugar if tomatoes are too acidic. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.
- Carrot noodles: While tomato sauce is cooking, create the carrot noodles. Cook carrot strips until tender. (You should be able to easily pierce the carrot slice with a fork.) I put mine in a glass baking pan with some water and covered with plastic wrap, microwaving them for 10 minutes.
- Goat cheese: Using a knife, spread one side of each of the 8 best carrot slices with goat cheese.
- Constructing the lasagna: Spray a shallow baking pan (mine is 10″ by 10″) with cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the pan with a layer of tomato sauce, then put down 4 carrot slices covered with goat cheese. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of sheep romano cheese (see photo). Add the next layer of tomato sauce and then the remaining 4 carrot slices covered with goat cheese. Cover with tomato sauce and sprinkle the remaining ¼ cup of sheep romano on the top. (Note: I had about 1 cup of leftover tomato sauce so I should have added more in the layers.)
- Bake in 325º F oven for 30-40 minutes, or until mixture is bubbling and cheese on top has melted.
For Weight Watchers: The only ingredients with point-values in this dish are the tofu (total value: 6 points), goat cheese (total value: 6 points), sheep romano (total value: 4 points), and sugar if you’ve added it to the tomato sauce. I needed 2 tbsp. of sugar (total value: 2 points) because (confession!) I had forgotten to add the grated carrot as I usually do.
- With only carrot and no sugar: Each of the 4 servings is 4 points on both the Points and PointsPlus plans.
- With 2 tbsp. of sugar: Each of the 4 servings is 4.5 points on both the Points and PointsPlus plans.