Vegetable lasagna is always a good meal choice for a vegan. And if you've heard about the heart-healthy and cholesterol-lowering Engine 2 Diet and want to try an approved recipe, this vegan lasagna is a good place to start.
Rip Esselstyn's "Raise the Roof" sweet potato vegan lasagna replaces the high fat and cholesterol of cheese and beef with whole-grain noodles, tofu, and antioxidant-rich vegetables like mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers, and corn crowned with a crunchy good-fat cashew topping. It's so delicious, he says, he served it at his own wedding.
As if that's enough to be happy about, the lasagna noodles cook in the oven so there is no need to boil them first—what a time saver.
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 1 head garlic (small, all cloves chopped or pressed)
- 8 ounces mushrooms (sliced)
- 1 head broccoli (chopped)
- 2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
- 2 red bell peppers (seeded and chopped)
- 1 can corn (rinsed and drained)
- 1 package silken lite tofu
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 2 (24-ounce) jars pasta sauce
- 2 (13.25-ounce) boxes whole-grain lasagna noodles (uncooked)
- 16 ounces frozen spinach (thawed and drained)
- 2 sweet potatoes (cooked and mashed)
- 6 Roma tomatoes (sliced thin)
- 1 cup raw cashews (ground)
Prepare the Filling
- Heat oven to 400 F.
- Sauté the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick pan without any oil.
- Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liquid. Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon and leave the mushroom liquid in the pan.
- Add the broccoli and carrots to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, remove, and add them to the bowl containing the onion, garlic, and mushrooms, leaving any liquid in the pan.
- Add the peppers and corn, and sauté until the peppers are just beginning to soften. Add them and any liquid to the vegetable bowl.
- Drain the silken tofu by wrapping in paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl.
- Add cayenne pepper, oregano, basil, and rosemary to the vegetable bowl and combine thoroughly.
Assemble the Lasagna
- Cover the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole with pasta sauce. Add a single layer of uncooked noodles (do not overlap) and cover completely with a generous portion of sauce.
- Spread the vegetable-tofu mixture over the sauced noodles. Cover with a second layer of noodles and another generous portion of sauce.
- Add a layer of thawed and drained spinach followed by a layer of mashed sweet potatoes. Top with another generous portion of sauce, a final layer of noodles, and the remainder of the sauce.
- Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced Roma tomatoes.
Bake and Serve
- Cover with foil and bake in the heated oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the ground cashews, and return to the oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let the lasagna sit for 15 minutes before serving.
Source: The Engine 2 Diet by Rip Esselstyn, used with permission.
More About the Engine 2 Diet
Rip Esselstyn developed the Engine 2 Diet, he says, to help a person rid their diet of what he considers junk (meat, dairy, refined and processed foods) while still enjoying tasty, nutritious, whole plant-based foods.
His vegan diet with a twist (no vegetable oils) theory is that plant-based foods and unrefined grains are superior to animal products.
His regimen includes fitness ideas and recipes like Engine 2 Diet black bean and hummus wrap sandwich and Rip's oil-free, tahini-free almost fat-free hummus.