Sunday, October 04, 2009

Savory Artichoke Mushroom Lasagna

Recently, while I was doing my housework, I watched the Barefoot Contessa on the Food TV network. I love her gentle manner and the way she puts together food to create works of savory delight! Although I don't use many of the ingredients she uses in my own cooking, I enjoy the ideas she shares. They create inspiration for my own recipe creations; adaptations that fit the nutritional needs of my family. Here is my vegan and gluten free version of a delightful sounding wild mushroom lasagna she presented on her show yesterday. Her version used butter, cream, wheat noodles, and wonderful fresh mushrooms from a nearby mushroom farm. Although my recipe is very different, I appreciate the impetus to invent something new. By the way, the vegan and gluten free turned out to be very scrumptious! I would venture to guess that most would not know it was 'different' unless told.

Savory Artichoke Mushroom Lasagna

In a large kettle, bring water to a boil. Add sea salt and brown rice lasagne noodles. I love the Tinkyada brand because they don't get mushy and they have a delightful flavor. Simmer over low to medium heat until pasta is al dente (tender crisp). Once cooked, drain and rinse with cold water. Sprinkle with olive oil to keep from sticking and set aside.

Create a bechamel sauce by first making a roux in a small saucepan using olive oil and a blend of garbanzo/fava bean flour and cornstarch (equal amounts). Add sea salt. Stir until clumps are removed and then add plain soymilk. Using a wire whisk, stir until creamy and continue stirring over medium heat until mixture thickens. Mixture should be smooth and sauce-like (not too thick). Set aside until ready to layer lasagna.

In a saucepan, saute chopped onion, pressed garlic cloves, chopped green pepper, and olive oil. When tender, add mushrooms (as desired). Season with sea salt. Cook a few minutes more and then remove from heat and set aside.

In another saucepan, saute chunks of extra-firm tofu in olive oil. Sprinkle with chicken-style seasoning and nutritional yeast to provide color and flavor.

Open one jar of artichoke hearts, oil-packed, a can of diced black olives, and a can of garbanzos. Set aside.

Once all the ingredients are prepared, it's time to make the lasagna. In a casserole, place a thin layer of olive oil. Add a layer of bechamel sauce. Add a layer of lasagna noodles.

Next, add another layer of bechamel sauce, then a layer of the onion/garlic/pepper/mushroom mixture, and a layer of the tofu mixture. Then, a layer of noodles.

Add bechamel sauce and a layer of artichoke hearts, garbanzos, and tofu.

Then a layer of noodles and a layer of bechamel sauce.

Garnish with mushroom slices and black olives.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 - 40 minutes (until bubbly). Remove from heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Then garnish with fresh parsley and serve.

*The secret; lots of flavor! I used sea salt but you may prefer a non-salt herbal blend or a combination of garlic and onion powders.

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