Vegetable Lasagna Pasta Bake with Tofu Ricotta

My Vegetable Lasagna has become a well loved recipe in my family this winter, and it was the inspiration for this new variation of the recipe: Lasagna Pasta Bake. There was a time this winter I really struggled to find whole grain lasagna noodles. I checked so many stores and almost ended up buying a very expensive pack of them online, until I finally found them at a grocery store near my house. Honestly, it was the last place I thought I would find them. So I thought, if I am struggling to find these- I imagine others are too. So the idea to make a Lasagna Pasta Bake was born, it’s essentially my Lasagna recipe using just pasta noodles. You can use a 100% whole grain pasta noodles, or  100% legume based pasta (my favorite) for this dish. It is so much easier to find 100% whole grain pasta than lasagna noodles. And to be honest, I almost love this recipe a bit more! The texture of the noodles really holds up in this recipe, creating a mouthful of goodness.

Since this is pretty much the same recipe as my Lasagna recipe, I am adding the same notes here for you! Making this dish can be a bit more labor intensive than others on my blog- but it also makes a lot so depending on how many mouths you are feeding, you might have leftovers (my favorite!). My favorite way to make this is using an Instant Pot (or a multi-cooker) to prepare the lentil and vegetable mixture. However, I have two variations for this, as I know not everyone has an multi-cooker.

RECIPE NOTES:

METHODS: Both recipes below have the same ingredients, just slightly different methods. I kept them separate so it’s easier for people to follow along with the method they are using. I though about not duplicating the ingredients, but I know when I am following a recipe I go back and forth between the Ingredient list and the Method section- so I thought it would be helpful to write these as two different recipes. 

CAULIFLOWER: I use the frozen cauliflower from Costco and thaw it before cooking. It’s also fairly easy to make in a food processor. Just wash and then chop the cauliflower. Add it to a food processor and pulse. Remove the larger pieces and then pour the rest into a bowl, add the cauliflower back in and pulse again until all the cauliflower reaches desired texture.

NOODLES: Use 100% whole grain or legume pasta of your choice. You can pick whichever short cut texture you like best (some recommendations: fusilli, rotini, elbows, penne).

MISO: I use white miso paste as a substitute for table salt in a lot of my recipes. It’s something I have learned from my day- job. If you don’t have miso, feel free to omit it. If the dish needs a little salt, feel free to adjust as needed (I’d recommend an iodized salt if you do use any).

 

Lasagna Pasta Bake with Tofu Ricotta

Instant Pot Version

INGREDIENTS:

2 (8 oz) packages of 100% whole grain or legume-based pasta noodles

1-2 cup(s) oil-free marinara (or your favorite marinara sauce)

Lentil- Vegetable Mixture*:

1 cup dry green or brown lentils, rinsed

1 large onion

2 bell peppers (any color)

3 cups riced cauliflower*

1/4 cup dried basil

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 (6 oz) BPA- Free can or jar of tomato paste

1 (28 oz) BPA- Free can of diced tomatoes (use the liquids)

Water (see notes for variations)

1 tablespoon white miso paste*

3-4 cups finely chopped kale

Garlic Cashew Sauce:

1 cup raw cashews

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon white miso paste*

1 cup water

Tofu Ricotta:

1 (14-16 oz) package of firm or extra firm tofu

1/2 cup of nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon white miso paste*

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

INSTANT- POT METHOD:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
  2. Prepare the Lentil- Vegetable Mixture. Rinse the lentils and add to the instant pot.
  3. Wash and chop the onion and bell pepper. Thaw out the cauliflower rice, and then add it to the instant pot with the onions, bell pepper, spices, tomato paste, and tomatoes. Add 3 cups of water. Stir the ingredients together until well combined.
  4. Place the cover on the instant pot and make sure the pressure valve is sealed. Select the “stew” button (which is 35 minutes). 
  5. Prepare the Garlic Cashew Sauce by combine the cashews, garlic powder, miso, and water into a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth. Pour the cashew sauce into a bowl. 
  6. Leave some of the Garlic Cashew Sauce in the blender, and then prepare the Tofu Ricotta. Drain the liquids from the tofu off and then crumble the tofu a bit. Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, vinegar, black pepper, and garlic powder in the blender. Blend until fairly smooth (it may help to use a spoon to move the ingredients around a few times while doing this step). Add the Ricotta to a bowl. 
  7. Once the Lentil- Vegetable Mixture is fished, carefully release the pressure by moving the pressure valve (I like to put a clean towel over the steam). Once the pressure has released, open the instant pot and add the kale and miso paste (you may find it helpful to set aside some liquids in a bowl and stir the miso paste in it and then add it back to the instant pot). Stir until well combined. 
  8. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  9. In a large glass baking dish, layer the bottom with 1-2 cups of marinara sauce. Add a layer of the noodles. Using a spoon or spatula, spread about 1/2 of the Tofu Ricotta over the noodles. Top the Ricotta with the Lentil-Vegetable Mixture (as much or as little as you’d like). Then drizzle and spread 1/2 of the Garlic Cashew Sauce over the veggies. Next add another layer of the noodles, the remaining Ricotta, veggies, and then the top and final layer should be the Garlic Cashew Sauce.  (There may be some Lentil-Vegetable Mixture left, but it tastes great as leftovers).
  10. Bake the Lasagna for 45 hour uncovered. Allow the dish to cool completely before trying to cut into it- this will allow the cashew layer to thicken up a bit and make it easier for cutting and serving. (I find this often serves best the second day). A small spatula or serving utensil can help make it easier (and cleaner) to take out of the dish too. 

Serves 8-12 people

 

Lasagna Pasta Bake with Tofu Ricotta

Stovetop Version

INGREDIENTS:

2 (8 oz) package of 100% whole grain or legume-based pasta noodles

1-2 cup(s) oil-free marinara (or your favorite marinara sauce)

Lentil- Vegetable Mixture*:

1 cup dry green or brown lentils, rinsed

1 large onion

2 bell peppers (any color)

3 cups riced cauliflower*

1/4 cup dried basil

2 tablespoons fennel seeds

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 (6 oz) BPA- Free can or jar of tomato paste

1 (28 oz) BPA- Free can of diced tomatoes (use the liquids)

Water (see notes for variations)

1 tablespoon white miso paste*

3-4 cups finely chopped kale

Garlic Cashew Sauce:

1 cup raw cashews

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon white miso paste*

1 cup water

Tofu Ricotta:

1 (14-16 oz) package of firm or extra firm tofu

1/2 cup of nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon white miso paste*

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

 

STOVETOP METHOD:

  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
  2. Wash and chop the onion and bell pepper. Thaw out the cauliflower rice.
  3. Sauté the onion in a small amount of water on in a large pot. Once the onions start to become translucent, add in the spices, stir well and cook for a few minutes. Next add in the  bell pepper and cook for a few minutes. Add more water if need to keep the veggies and spices from sticking.
  4. Next add in the tomato paste, tomatoes with the liquid, and 1 cup of water. Stir until well-combined. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat (see step below for more). 
  5. Prepare the lentils with to the vegetable mixture or prepare the lentils on the side. If preparing the lentils on the side, simmer the vegetable mixture for 20-30 minutes. Then in a separate pot, combine the lentils with 3 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the lentils are soft. Combine the lentils with the vegetable mixture once fully cooked.  If preparing the lentils with the vegetable mixture, add 3 more cups of water and the dry lentils to the pot with the veggies. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 50-60 minutes or until the lentils are soft (it may help to cover the pot). 
  6. Once the vegetable mixture is almost finished, add the kale and miso paste (you may find it helpful to set aside some liquids in a bowl and stir the miso paste in it and then add it back to the instant pot). Stir until well combined. 
  7. Prepare the Garlic Cashew Sauce by combine the cashews, garlic powder, miso, and water into a high-speed blender, and blend until smooth. Pour the cashew sauce into a bowl. 
  8. Leave some of the Garlic Cashew Sauce in the blender, and then prepare the Tofu Ricotta. Drain the liquids from the tofu off and then crumble the tofu a bit. Add the tofu, nutritional yeast, vinegar, black pepper, and garlic powder in the blender. Blend until fairly smooth (it may help to use a spoon to move the ingredients around a few times while doing this step). Add the Ricotta to a bowl. 
  9. Preheat the oven to 350F. 
  10. In a large glass baking dish, layer the bottom with 1-2 cup(s) of marinara sauce. Add a layer of the noodles. Using a spoon or spatula, spread about 1/2 of the Tofu Ricotta over the noodles. Top the Ricotta with the Lentil-Vegetable Mixture (as much or as little as you’d like). Then drizzle and spread 1/2 of the Garlic Cashew Sauce over the veggies. Next add another layer of the noodles, the remaining Ricotta, veggies, and then the top and final layer should be the Garlic Cashew Sauce. (There may be some Lentil-Vegetable Mixture left, but it tastes great as leftovers).
  11. Bake the Lasagna for 45 hour uncovered. Allow the dish to cool completely before trying to cut into it- this will allow the cashew layer to thicken up a bit and make it easier for cutting and serving. (I find this often serves best the second day). A small spatula or serving utensil can help make it easier (and cleaner) to take out of the dish too. 

Serves 8-12 people