Tuesday, November 27, 2007

T-Day Numblies

Oh man, was this Thanksgiving bountiful. And honestly, it's all because of my mom who, despite her assertions that she's never liked to cook, managed to veganize not one, not two, not THREE, but FOUR MOTHERF-ING RECIPES for us. And that just plain rocks.

T-day was just three of us--me, my mum, and my brother (one sister had to work, and the other was in Chicago) but we cooked like we were feeding small armies. And that is the way T-day should be, exploding with foodie goodness, way too much for just three people to handle.

What we had:
  • Zucchini & mushroom lasagna

  • The apple-chestnut stuffing from the most recent Vegetarian Times, with walnuts subbed in for the chestnuts

  • A mixed greens salad, courtesy of my bro

  • Vegan stuffed mushrooms--courtesy, again, of my mum

  • Green bean casserole--my mom is truly an artiste, veganizing this completely on her own using vegan cream cheez and... strangely enough... hummus, and this was seriously seriously some bad-ass shit, leaps and bounds better than the T-day standard

  • Veganized apple crisp--courtesy of my mum; and

  • Sweet potato pound cake, also BRILLIANTLY veganized by my mom, after several calls about what to substitute in for eggs

Hopefully I'll be bringing some of these recipes to you this week... Definitely the stuffing, and hopefully (if my mom can remember exactly how she veganized the cake) the cake as well. So hold onto your seats or hats or whatever the expression is.

Today, I bring you the lasagna recipe, from my **VERY LARGE AND VERY WHITE PASTA BOOK**. I tried linking to the cookbook on amazon, but it's one of those vague cookbooks just named "Pasta," and I'm having a hard time figuring out which one it is exactly, since none of the pictures match. But good lord do I love this cookbook--it is THE cookbook for pasta-sluts.

And this lasagna was no disappointment. It's a bit time-consuming to prepare (I actually cut down a bit on that though by using store-bought pasta-sauce instead of their homemade "winter pasta-sauce" that they recommend), and it doesn't make NEARLY as much lasagna as those recipes I usually use, but good god good jebus good allah good mother, this lasagna is KILLER. And it totally is all about the white sauce, and how the white sauce sexily commingles with the meaty shrooms. It is decadent, without making you feel like you're killing yourself on butter. The zucchini also sexes it up remarkably well with the white sauce. And, shit, I just kept praying that my family would stop eating it so I could have more left-overs. For those of you looking to feed a good number of people, I'd recommend doubling the recipe and using a 9x13-ish sized pan. You will not regret it. Not at all.

Jesus, I'm getting tingly just thinking about it.


  • 1/2-oz. dried porcini mushrooms (or I just used a "Steak Mushrooms" mix from my local grocer)

  • 3/4 c. warm water

  • 2 T. olive oil

  • 1 lb. zucchini, thinly sliced

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 6 c. brown (or baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 30-oz of spaghetti sauce

  • 1 t. dried marjoram

  • 6-9 "Ready Baked" lasagna noodle sheets

  • Vegan parmesan

  • Salt & ground black pepper

  • For the white sauce:

  • 3 T. vegan margarine

  • 1/3 c. all-purpose flour

  • 3-3/4 c. soy milk

  • A couple dashes nutmeg


Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour the 3/4 c. cup warm water over them, allowing them to soak for 15-20 minutes. Squeeze the liquid from the rehydrated shrooms and set liquid aside. Chop the rehydrated shrooms finely and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375. Heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. If your pan is large enough, add all your zucchini (otherwise add them in half-batches) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the zucchini over medium heat, turning the slices frequently, for 5-8 minutes until they are lightly colored on both sides. Remove the zucchini from the pan and allow to drain on paper towels.

Heat the remaining olive oil in your pan, and then cook the onion, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Again, if your pan is big enough, add all your fresh mushrooms and garlic to it, and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste (otherwise do so again in half-batches). Toss the shrooms over high heat for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are JUST becoming juicy and tender. Transfer to a bowl.

Make the white sauce: Melt the vegan margarine in a large saucepan. Add the flour and cook, stirring over medium heat, for 1-2 minutes. Add the milk a little bit at a time, whisking well with each addition. Bring to a boil and then cook, stirring, until the sauce is hot and thick (it may not thicken up as much as you had thought while OVER the heat, but no worries--once you remove it, it should thicken up a wee bit more). Add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.

Add about 1/2 of your rehydrated shroom-liquid to your spaghetti sauce. It's ok if it's a slight bit thin.

Add the zucchini to your bowl of fried mushrooms, then stir in the rehydrated shrooms and the marjoram.

Spread 1/3 of the tomato sauce in a baking dish (I would recommend a fairly small one--maybe a 9x9 or something). Add half the veggie mixture, spreading it evenly. Top with about 1/3 of the white sauce and about half the lasagna sheets. Repeat these layers, and then top with the remaining tomato sauce and white sauce, and sprinkle with vegan parm to taste.

Bake the lasagna for 35-45 minutes, or until the pasta sheets are tender when poked with a fork.

Let stand for about 10 minutes at least before serving.

Serves about 6.

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