Meatless Monday: Julia Butterfly Hill's Vegan Lasagna

http://www.motherearthliving.com/The-Good-Life/meatless-monday-julia-butterfly-hills-vegan-lasagna.aspx

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailJulia Butterfly Hill understands the need for extreme measures when it comes to environmental activism. In the late 1990s, she spent 738 days living in a redwood tree named Luna, to bring attention to the plight of the world’s ancient forests. Through her vigil, she  negotiated to permanently protect the 1,000 year-old tree and a nearly three- acre buffer zone. She says that our forks are also powerful change agents.

“I love food!” Hill told Mother Earth Living. “I love preparing meals that are both decadently delicious and happily healthy. I’m a joyous vegan, and I celebrate how fabulous this lifestyle is for my body, my world, my planet, and for the animals as well.”

Hill eats animal-free food that’s organic, local, in season, and free of added junk—food that she calls “a celebration of life.” Her recipe for delicious vegan lasagna takes about a half hour to prepare and provides plenty of opportunity for interpretation. If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, substitute 1 teaspoon each of the dried herbs or 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning.

vegan lasagna
This vegan lasagna takes less than 30 minutes to prepare. Photo by Joe Coca.

Delicious Vegan Lasagna

Tools:

Large pot
9 x 13-inch baking pan
Medium-size mixing bowl
Two dinner plates
Potato masher or big fork
Measuring spoons
Large spoon
Measuring cup (1-cup size)

Ingredients:

1 to 2 packages vegan (egg-free) lasagna noodles (15 to 20)
Olive oil
4 8-ounce packages silken tofu (or 2 1-pound packages firm tofu)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
20 basil leaves, torn small
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped (or 2 teaspoons garlic powder)
1 medium onion, finely chopped (or 2 teaspoons dried onion)
25-ounce jar organic vegetarian pasta sauce
2 cups vegetables, chopped small (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375° F.

2. Cook noodles according to directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Make sure noodles are completely cool. Meanwhile, lightly coat pan with olive oil.

3. Drain tofu and set on plate. Place another plate on top of tofu and press down firmly to squeeze out excess water. In mixing bowl, crumble tofu, using your hands, a potato masher or a big fork. Sprinkle in salt and pepper and mix. Add herbs, then stir in garlic and onion.

4. Cover bottom of pan with a thin layer of tomato sauce. (You want just enough so noodles won’t stick.)

5. Layer approximately 5 noodles, slightly overlapping, across bottom of pan, making sure they reach to all the edges. Spoon another light layer of tomato sauce over noodles, then spread half the tofu evenly over that. If using veggies, sprinkle 1 cup over the tofu, then layer on 5 more noodles.

6. Repeat same steps with the sauce, remaining tofu, and veggies. Finish with one last layer of noodles and a light coat of tomato sauce. (Reserve some sauce that you can reheat and serve as extra topping.)

7. Bake 40 to 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Serve with a bowl of warmed tomato sauce that can be ladled over lasagna to each person’s liking.