Tofu spinach lasagne
Although Italian food is one of my favourite cuisines (apart from Indian, of course), I have never been a fan of lasagne. I’ve always found it very heavy on the cheese and extremely rich. So Nisha came up with this healthier take on lasagne which replaces cheese with tofu, with no compromise on taste. She adds a layer of roasted eggplant also and now my entire family prefers this version of lasagne. It does take a bit of effort to make this dish from scratch, which I prefer to do, although some of the elements (tofu and marinara sauce) can be store bought, depending on your convenience.
Lasagne sheets – 12
Eggplant/Zucchini – 2 large, sliced in 1 cm rounds
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Mozzarella and cheddar cheese (50% each) – ¾ cup approximately, grated
For marinara sauce:
Tomatoes – 8-10 ripe, cut into large chunks
Garlic – 2 cloves
Basil – ½ cup, chopped (fresh) or 1 tsp (dry)
Olive oil – 2 tsp
Onion – 1, chopped, fine (optional)
Salt/Chilli flakes – to taste
For tofu/spinach layer:
Tofu – 200 gms, crumbled
Spinach – one bunch, cleaned and washed well
Salt – to taste
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Take eggplant slices and rub salt on both sides, leave for 10-15 minutes to sweat. Drizzle olive oil over eggplant and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until it is at least half cooked.
Fry the garlic and onion in olive oil in a large kadai. Use a hand blender to puree the tomatoes well and add to the kadai, adding salt and chilli flakes to taste. Keep on high heat until it boils, then reduce heat and cook until it reaches sauce consistency. I usually add a little bit of wheat flour mixed in water to thicken the sauce. Add basil towards the end.
Partially cook the chopped spinach in a pot. Squeeze the spinach and add to the crumbled tofu and salt. Mix it well and fold in with a fork gently retaining the texture of the spinach, ie, so that the mixture can be spread but is not a paste like consistency. If it seems crumbly, gently blend using hand blender to get a spreadable but not pasty consistency. The water that is squeezed from the spinach can be added to the sauce while it is reducing.
Assembling the lasagne:
Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celsius. Take an 8” by 12” baking dish, and ladle a few spoons of sauce and spread to make the first layer. Place three lasagne sheets over this and then build the lasagne by adding layers of tofu/spinach, roasted eggplant, lasagne sheets and sauce. The top layer should be lasagne, covered with sauce. Bake for 20 minutes, and remove midway to add the grated cheese over the top of the lasagne. (Most people use only mozzarella cheese, but I prefer to mix cheddar and mozzarella as it is less stringy)
This recipe serves 4.