Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Vegan, Gluten Free Lasagna Rollups Filled With Tofu Ricotta And Pesto

I prefer rollups over lasagna when cooking for 2 to 4 people.

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Lasagna is one of my "go to" meals when I have a crowd. It takes a lot of preparation and I generally make enough to feed a small village. But if I'm only cooking for the 2 of us I don't want to go through that much trouble. Rollups are a good solution as they are much easier to make and 8 of them fit nicely in an 8 inch square pan - enough for 4 servings.

Gluten Free Noodles
If you are on a gluten free diet, you no longer have to skip eating lasagna! I discovered a very nice brown rice lasagna noodle made by Tinkyada. The noodles hold their shape very well and remain al dente even after baking. The only downside is that many of the noodles in the box were broken. I don't know if that was just my luck or if rice noodles are more prone to breakage during shipping. In any case, pick up a spare box for backup. Perhaps that's their marketing strategy to get people to buy more product :-)

Tinkyada gluten free brown rice lasagna noodles.
2 ounces provide:
210 calories
2 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol
43 g carbohydrates
4 g protein
2 g dietary fiber

Tofu Ricotta
By blending firm tofu with some nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, you end up with a great ricotta substitute. This works well if you are lactose intolerant and can no longer eat cheese. 
If I were making this ricotta for a dish that wasn't also using pesto, I would add some granulated garlic and would pulse in some fresh parsley or basil at the end. For a shot of omega-3, you can also add a flax egg (1 T ground flax seed and 3 tablespoons of water). 

I use Wildwood SprouTofu but any firm tofu will do.
Process until smooth. 

The flavor of this dish comes from pesto. You can use any kind you'd like. I happen to have some vegan cilantro pesto left over from a photo shoot so I used that. But basil and walnut pesto (below) would probably be more traditional for a lasagna rollup.

Pesto provides the flavor in this dish. 

Lasagna Rollups filled with Tofu Ricotta and Pesto
Vegan, Gluten Free
Requires Food Processor and 8 inch square pan
[makes 4 servings]

For the rollups
8 gluten free lasagna noodles (or regular noodles if not concerned with gluten)
2 teaspoons salt for water
2 cups prepared  tomato sauce (if sodium is a concern use no salt added)
2 tablespoon fresh basil, sliced
For the ricotta
1 pound firm tofu, drained and cut in 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons Red Star vegetarian formula nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the pesto
1 clove garlic
1 packed cup fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons raw English walnuts
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Red Star vegetarian formula nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Fill a large pot with water and 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to a boil and cook pasta for several minutes less time than called for so that the noodles are flexible but durable. If using Tinyada, cook for 10 to 13 minutes and not 15 as called for. Rinse in cold water and set aside.

Make the ricotta. Place the tofu, nutritional yeast, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and black pepper in a food processor fitted with an S blade. Process until smooth scraping down the sides when necessary. Place in a bowl and set aside. Clean the food processor so you can make the pesto.

Make the pesto. Place the clove of garlic in the shoot of a running food processor. Add the remaining pesto ingredients and process until smooth scraping down the sides when necessary. Set aside.

To make the rollups, place 1 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of an 8 inch square baking dish.

Place a cooked noodle on a flat surface. Spread 1/8th of the tofu ricotta over one side of the entire lasagna noodle. Then spread 1/8th of the pesto over the ricotta. Roll up the noodle and place in the pan with the seam of the noodle facing down. Repeat until all the noodles are filled and in the pan.

Spread tofu ricotta over the noodle.
Then spread pesto over the ricotta and roll it up.
8 rollups fit perfectly in an 8 inch square pan.
Cover with the remaining sauce and bake.

Cover the rollups with the remaining 1 cup of tomato sauce. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake in the oven until hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes.

Remove the foil and top with sliced basil and serve.

After baking, top with fresh basil and serve.
Two rollups is one serving.

Per serving: 425 calories, 15.7 g fat, 1.8 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 17.4 g protein, 54.1 g carbohydrates, 5.8 g dietary fiber and 336 mg sodium (sodium is calculated using no salt added tomato sauce).


Debra said...

This dish looks gorgeous. I love how you rolled the lasagna noodle up. I have used the Tinkyada gluten free brown rice noodles many times and they are an excellent healthy choice for people and tastes delicious. I am definitely giving this dish a try. Thank you:)

Anonymous said...

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