Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tofu Lasagna

I love lasagna - it's one of my favorite foods - but traditional versions tend to cause some grief around the mid-line, if ya know what I mean. Ground beef, heaping piles of Parmesan and ricotta cheese, eggs, etc. are full of artery-clogging saturated fat. I recently made a more healthy version - with tofu. Tofu is a highly nutritious, protein-rich food that is made from the curds of soybean milk. It doesn't have much flavor of its own, but when the water is squeezed out of it, it readily takes on flavors of anything it is cooked with. This recipe uses tofu to replace the ground beef in typical lasagna.

Before you say "YUCK!", try it - you might like it! Here's how it's made:


9 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 12oz block of extra-firm tofu, thawed from frozen, drained well
2-3 19oz cans of Italian style Diced Tomatoes (I used  fire roasted with garlic, and only used 2 cans. When I make this again I'll use 3)
1/2 medium onion, diced 
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 Tbs. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. ground oregano
1/2-1 tsp. crushed dried chilis
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg or allspice
1 large bottle of your favorite red wine
6oz frozen chopped spinach, drained well
2 egg whites, beaten
1/4 cup fat-free grated Parmesan cheese topping
2 cups low-fat part-skim mozzarella cheese

(feel free to use fresh ingredients if you have them!)

Here's what the Italians do - soak the noodles in hot water in the same pan you'll use for the lasagna. You'll have no need to boil them!

Squeeze as much water as you can from the tofu. With very clean hands (or use plastic gloves) crumble the tofu to a ground beef-like consistency, squeezing as much water out as you can. This will keep the sauce from being runny.

 Sauté the onion & garlic in a small amount of olive oil (not too hot!) until almost translucent, then add the crumbled tofu. Sauté a few more minutes, then add the spices, lemon juice, 1/4 cup red wine, tomatoes, and tofu. Simmer for about 10 minutes or longer, letting the flavors combine.

Beat the egg whites into a small bowl, and mix in the drained spinach and Parmesan cheese. Pour yourself a glass of wine and take in the aroma of the sauce as you sip it.

Spray the bottom of a 9x13" pan with olive oil or cooking spray, then line with 3 softened, expanded noodles. Evenly spread the spinach/egg mixture over them. Add a 2nd layer of noodles.

Spread 1/2 of the tofu/sauce mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with one cup of mozzarella.

Add another layer of noodles, sauce, and cheese. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. (175c) Pour yourself another glass of wine.  Tune your satellite radio to the Frank Sinatra station.

Cook the lasagna, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and just starting to brown. Finish off the bottle of wine and open another.

After cooking, let stand for 10 minutes. Get help cutting it into 8 servings and serve with red wine.

buon appetito!


  1. That sounds so good! I am going to make that this weekend. Thanks for this. I also like how you use the red wine. :)

  2. The wine is the most important ingredient!

  3. How can you stand after drinking the wine. Maybe you should say let it rest for 10 minutes. LOL It sounds good. Maybe I can get Bill to eat it.

  4. Kathy, perhaps you could put some kidney or mushy peas into it to ease Bill into it... For everyone else, you can modify the spices as you like depending on how robust you like the flavor. I also like to add about a tablespoon of brown sugar or sweetener equivalent to the sauce to balance out the acidity... and of course, more wine.

  5. One more thing... someone asked me why you freeze the tofu. It makes it easier to extract the water and gives a better texture. You can freeze it right in the package - it will not burst.