Today is Kick-Start Monday, and it’s Alex’s birthday. In honor of both, I’m going to share my eggplant lasagna recipe with you all.
Happy Birthday Alex!!!!! Whoo-hoo, you’re twenty-two!!!!
When my baby used to be home on her birthdays (before college) I made her favorite dinner, lasagna. Back then we weren’t vegans, so it was filled with mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta cheese. Was it good? Absolutely! Was it less than healthy? You betcha! But all of that has changed for the better.
Being the tradition loving woman that I am, I wasn’t going to give up on my daughter’s favorite birthday dinner. So I did what any of you would have done, I reinvented a better version. And if you don’t mind, I’m going to spend the next few minutes patting myself on the back, because I did a hell of a good job.
It took me a couple of tries to get it right, but when I finally did, it made me wonder why we didn’t do this vegan thing sooner. The thinly sliced breaded eggplant was the perfect alternative to noodles. And the soft tofu was just like a light and fluffy ricotta cheese. The wild mushrooms added a buttery, earthy flavor, and chewiness. Finally, the marinara and the spinach brought a taste of the old into the new. I didn’t change my sauce or the added spinach, there was no reason to.
Alex and Max (her very wonderful boyfriend) came home for the weekend to celebrate. We had dinner at Max’s parents’ house on Friday night, I brought the traditional homemade chocolate birthday cake, and then celebrated again on Saturday night. It was a fun filled two days, but there wasn’t time for a lasagna dinner. I knew that going in, but I made it anyway –you know, tradition and all– and we had it for lunch when she arrived on Friday afternoon.
I’ll admit that I was slightly nervous when she took her first bite, but her reaction put those nerves to rest. She loved this new recipe. Not only did she think that it tasted better, she didn’t feel heavy and sleepy after eating it. And that my friends, is why we love eating vegan.
Since there weren’t any simple carb noodles or tryptophan laced cheese in this lasagna, it didn’t make us want to take a nap after eating it. Instead, we felt pleasantly satisfied and ready for the next part of our day. This is what food is supposed to do, energize!
As I write this, she’s on her way back to school. Normally, I’d be boo-hooing, but not this time. Why not? Because in three weeks we will be watching Alex and Max receive their diplomas, and they’ll be moving back home!!!! I can’t wait.
What will I make for her homecoming meal? Eggplant lasagna, of course.
Cook your marinara sauce while you’re preparing the eggplant and the tofu.
The tofu before it’s forked. 🙂
1. Add a layer of marinara to the pan
2. Add a layer of eggplant
3. Add the spinach
4. Add the mushrooms and then the tofu and repeat the layers until the final layer of eggplant. Add the last of the marinara, mushrooms, and a sprinkle of tofu on top of the final layer of eggplant.
This is what the top layer should look like
Now cover it with aluminium foil and bake for 30 minutes. Take the foil off and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the tofu begins to brown.
Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting.