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Jul 25

Zucchini TVP Lasagna

Taking risks is one of life’s great joys.

 

It can also be a fail require patience.

My favorite risks involve something food-related.  Hence all the #strangebutgood.

A couple of years ago I decided to adopt a vegan diet.  That risk didn’t pan out, but it did result in a TON of recipe risks that did.  One of my favorite discoveries from that time was Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP).  It’s super-high in protein, low in carbs, and low in fat.  It’s like a body builder’s dream food.

Texturally, TVP is reminiscent of ground beef.  This lead to the obvious first recipe – “Beefy” TVP Chili.  Taste-wise, TVP is like chicken.  It will take on the flavor of anything you add to it… so the “Chick-less” Nuggets were born.  Beef, chicken… why not bacon?!  Kat made hers and then I followed with a smokey version.

TVP Collage

 

All of that was good… but was it really that strange?  Chicken and TVP take on any flavor…  hold up.  So does… OATMEAL!

I went TVP oatmeal crazy: Mango-Coconut, Maple, Pumpkin Pie, Spiced TVP Breakfast Squash, and even Greek Yogurt Overnight Oats!

TVP Oatmeal Collage

 

This was a really, really long-winded way to say that I am ridiculously excited to share Kat’s guest post today.  Her brilliant move is to use it in lasagna!  Well played, my friend.

Here’s Kat….

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Zucchini TVP Lasagna

This blog has to be short and sweet because I am in study mode.  The Georgia Bar exam is less than a week away, and I’m still trying to absorb as much as I can!  (Editor’s note: How’s that osmosis working for ya? ;) )

choose to see the good stuff

 

Mostly through the emotional, mentally exhausting roller coaster, I have realized it is SO important to stay positive through this time.

Choose to see the good stuff (because it IS a choice), and I have to trust that I have it in me to achieve this goal!  (Editor’s note: YES YOU DO!  I’m so proud to call you a friend.)

Talk About Blessings

 

I would not be able to make it through this time with out running, lots of running… and thinking about what I will do after.  When I get done, I am going to the beach!  I am getting a haircut, and I am going to NOT study, and maybe never take a test again!

 

Anyway, let’s get to the fun stuff!  Every now and again a more intensive kitchen project is relaxing to me.  Remember that ricotta I made?  (Editor’s note: you mean the one you haven’t made me yet?)  I decided to use it to make a vegetarian, gluten-free lasagna…. with zucchini and TVP!

Note: You can also use this quick, vegan tofu ricotta.

 _______________________________________________________________________________________ 

Lasagna Plated

Zucchini Noodle TVP Lasagna

  • 1 giant zucchini (or 1.5 lbs of regular zucchini)
  • 4 C pasta sauce (from the Farmer’s Market, if available)
  • ½ C TVP
  • ½ large onion, diced
  • 1 ½ C mushrooms, sliced
  • Oregano, cayenne, and garlic, to taste
  • 3 C fresh Mozzarella, grated
  • 1 C ricotta, homemade
  • 2 T coconut oil

 

Zucchini

For the Zucchini:

Slice the zucchini length wise to about ¼ inch slices.  A mandolin would be a great tool for this, but I just used my knife-skills, since I don’t have one. 

Lay them out on a pan and broil for 6-7 minutes to dry them out a little.  Drain off water, then broil again for another 5 min.  Drain.

Zucchini Broiled

 

For the Filling:

Mix the TVP with water, season with garlic salt and your favorite spices. 

Sautee the onion on medium high heat for about 5 minutes in a medium-large sized pot, then add the mushrooms and TVP.  Sautee for another 8-10 minutes or so, then add about 3 ¼ cups of the pasta sauce to make it a thick filling (reserve ¾ cup for the assembly). 

Turn the temperature to Low, and let it continue to cook.

Filling

 

For the Assembly:

Grease 9 x 13 pan with coconut oil. 

Coat the bottom of the pan with ½-  ¾ cup the remaining pasta sauce, then lay zucchini gently over the sauce, letting it overlap slightly. 

Then spread ½ of the filling evenly over the zucchini.  Next, take 1/2 the ricotta, and crumble it around evenly over the filling.  Cover with 1 ½ cup of grated mozzarella.  Repeat again… Zucchini, the other ½ of the filling, ricotta, the other 1 ½ cup mozzarella. 

Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes.  (I then like to broil mine for 5ish mins to get the cheese a little browner).

Zucchini Lasagna assembly

 

The homemade ricotta made a huge difference in this dish!  It really comes through.  This is cheesy, surprisingly light, and really delish!

And for the leftovers…  I refrigerated the pan over night.  The next day, I cut it into individual sized portions, wrapped them in plastic wrap and then foil, and froze them.  The lasagna is even better leftover!  (Editor’s note: I’m convinced that all Italian food is better on day 2… and I love it on day 1.)

CloseUp

 

Now back to Bar Review!  Hope you all are having a great week, seeing the good everywhere, and not getting TOO jealous of Laura’s trip! ;)

***

Good luck to Kat taking the Bar Exam in a week!!!!  If we all send her good, focused study-vibes it must help a little, no?

What kinds of kitchen projects are relaxing to you?

What goal are you trying to achieve in your professional/personal life?

 

64 comments

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  1. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta

    Amazingly, I have never cooked with TVP. I should change that (I do have all of your TVP post pinned though!)

    1. Laura

      I can’t believe that! You’re the vegan queen. :)

    2. Kat

      You should totally do it, but look out for some of it.. make sure you get organic, or it might be GMOed (just learned this!)

  2. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    I have sooooo many goals I am trying to achieve. It’s exhausting just thinking about it………. So much so that my relaxing kitchen projects include… SHOVING FOOD IN MY STOMACH! It’s definitely a project that needs instructions sometimes. (Thanks to my weird food intolerances/allergies)

    1. Kat

      I know what you mean about weird intolerances/allergies!! Try expecting less of yourself, and you’ll be happier with the results of what you achieve!

  3. Lisa

    Ahhh this looks amazing!!
    Baking is always relaxing to me – but only if it’s baking sweets. Otherwise I’m just not into it ;)
    Ugh – I have way too many goals to even list and they are all over the place, sometimes I feel completely overwhelmed with all the goals I want to accomplish I get stuck in thinking where the heck do I start. Sounds fun, right?

    1. Laura

      I understand completely… you do NOT want to see inside my head.

    2. Kat

      I also understand… expect less and you will feel like you have achieved more! You could totally do this, and follow it up with a pan of brownies… since the oven is already preheated… ;)

  4. Debra

    Choose to see the food stuff…..love it. May need to paint that on my office wall. Getting lots of zukes so need to make this.

    1. Laura

      I think it says good stuff… Freudian slip? LOL!

      1. Debra

        Baawaahahahaha. Yes, good stuff.

    2. Kat

      Yes!! I want to paint it on a wall in every room!

  5. Amanda @runtothefinish

    your creativity knows no limits!

    1. Kat

      Thanks lady! :)

  6. Linz @ Itz Linz

    we just got a giant zucchini from our neighbors garden that this would be perfect for!

    1. Laura

      Are you going to make your own ricotta too?! I am still working up the nerve. :)

    2. Kat

      That is awesome!!! That’s where I got mine (a friend’s garden)

      … Laura, it’s SO easy. Come over tonight, I will show you. we just have to go get some milk! ;)

  7. Pamela Hernandez

    Love this recipe! I use TVP a lot too. There is a great recipe for Tacos in Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Diet vegetarian cookbook that is constant meal plan rotation in my house.

    1. Laura

      I still need to make tacos with it!!! Bet that is delicious.

    2. Kat

      Yes, Tacos are one of the best uses if you’re not into ground beef!

  8. Allie

    I bought TVP recently with such good intentions… then I got scared and didn’t know what to do with it. Now I know I can look through your recipes! Hurrah!!

    1. Laura

      Don’t be scared! You’re going to love it. :)

    2. Kat

      Echoing laura’s comment.. “Just do it!” ;)

  9. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    I used to use TVP all the time, especially in things like lasagna. I need to pick up some more! Good luck with the studying.

    1. Kat

      Good call, Heather! But beware of TVP now.. I just found out that a lot of it is GMOed.. so look for non-GMO/organic. Yikes! Even things that seem healthy…

  10. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    Good luck on the Bar Exam Kat!! I love all the editor’s notes in this post :-)
    I have to say, lately prepping food on the weekend has been relaxing for me. I kind of get into a groove and don’t have to think about anything.

    1. Laura

      I feel the same way about food prep – it’s fun for me!

    2. Kat

      Thanks so much! I have to say that blogging was a great reprieve from studying! And I also love the editor’s comments. I never get to see them until the blog is live!

  11. Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers

    I still haven’t tried TVP. I looked for it at the store twice, but no luck. :( Sounds yummy though!

    1. Laura

      Really? They even have it at Publix and Kroger here! Do you have Whole Foods? They have the Bob’s brand and carry it in the bulk bins.

    2. Kat

      If you have a good farmer’s market, it might be there, too! But whole foods and other natural markets are your best bet. Look for organic/non-GMO though!

  12. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles

    I still need to try TVP! I’m just not quite sure where to find it. And currently, the professional goal is to finish my MA by April of next year…that would be awesome (because then I wouldn’t have to pay for a summer semester next year).

    1. Laura

      They have it a mjor grocery stores here in the “healthy” section, and of course natural stores and Wholes foods carry it.

      Ah school… I miss it and I don’t.

  13. Megan (The Lyons' Share)

    This looks great! Maybe I’ll give it a shot this weekend. I used to use TVP all the time but I haven’t in the past few years. I get it in the bulk bins of Whole Foods/ Trader Joe’s, for those who asked. Bob’s Red Mill also sells packages in major “regular” grocery stores.

    1. Laura

      Bob’s is the one I linked to above… I think I remember it hads a little more protein that the bulk bins? Now I need to go look again…

      1. Megan (The Lyons' Share)

        Ohhhh I didn’t even think of that (duh). Thanks!

    2. Kat

      Did you try it out??! And, thanks! :) Sorry for the delayed reply.. the bar was followed by vacation mode!

  14. Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com

    Now this is one lasagna I would love to try – thanks for sharing the recipe & Good Luck studying AND taking the GA Bar!

    1. Kat

      Thanks! You should definitely try it out. I wish I had more…. I ate all the frozen leftovers. If you make some, send some to me?! kay, thanks! ;)

      … just kidding.

  15. Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl

    This looks and sounds AMAZING. I really need to start cooking with TVP instead of just saying that I am going to.

    1. Laura

      Let me know if you try it! I know you’ll love it. :)

    2. Kat

      Ditto to Laura’s comment. It’s so easy, too! Easier than ground beef, and easier than tofu!

  16. RavieNomNoms

    Delish! Great idea!

    1. Kat

      Thanks! Did you try it!?

  17. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    What a GREAT idea!! And you can easy swap for non-dairy cheeses altogether to keep this one vegan. Yumm!!!!

    1. Laura

      Yes ma’am! I made a tofu ricotta long ago that would be great here. And it’s fast. ;)

    2. Kat

      Oh yeah! I bet that it would be great w/ tofu ricotta and some of the Daiya cheeses. they melt so well!

  18. purelytwins

    yum yum! zucchini makes the best ‘pasta’ bases :)

    1. Kat

      TotallY! Have you every tried it for any other kind of pasta I should know about!?

  19. Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning

    Obviously, this looks delicious. I love melt-y cheese on ANYTHING. And you reminded me that I need to make some TVP nuggets again ASAP.
    Now to be totally inappropriate- I’ve been looking through all of your posts this week, and do not see one picture of your new boobs. Where are the boobs?!?! We want to see them (covered, of course!). ;)

    1. Laura

      Hahaha! there’s the pic of me with The Beast… what can I say… we were more wine and food focused. ;)

    2. Kat

      Oh, my favorite inappropriate comment of the day! ;)

  20. Jody - Fit at 55

    Laura – you crack me up with the first part of this post! :)

    KAT – always love your read. I just shared that same blessing pic on my FB page yesterday – got it from a friend! :)

    1. Kat

      Jody! That is awesome! Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy your comments, too! Thanks for reading.

  21. Melanie

    Totally making this. Yay on the veg recipe! Also, invest in a mandolin. You can get a decent one for not much, and they’re totally worth it if you cook.

    1. Laura

      Worth it ’till you slice off a good portion of your thumb. I still have nightmares. LOL!

    2. Kat

      I know, I know. I should get one. They aren’t even really that expensive, but I resist it. It’s senseless! ;)

  22. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

    That looks amazing. And easy. (Well, except for the whole “homemade ricotta” thing. I know it’s not supposed to be super hard to make, but I ain’t got time for that. Maybe a fake-out vegan TOFU ricotta?)

    1. Laura

      I got yer veggie ricotta: http://www.sprint2thetable.com/2011/09/vegan-ricotta-pasta-bake/

    2. Kat

      Lol it’s really not as hard as you think, and it’s not time-consuming at all! ;) This lasagna took way longer than making ricotta!

  23. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

    I have a GIGANTIC zucchini from the man-friend’s garden that I’ve been debating for days on what to do with…I did think about doing the lasagna thing the other day, but wasn’t really sure what to do to make the “noodles”. I knew they’d have to be cooked somehow so I didn’t end up with a watery mess. Now I know! Hmm, we shall see if I can muster up the energy/motivation to whip this up for dinner tomorrow. I HAVE been wanting to introduce the man-friend to TVP! He’s had it before but is still on the “I’m not really sure what this stuff is and since it’s different I’m gonna be a hater” side of things…maybe I can bring him over to the “dark” side with this! ;)

    I want to try the homemade ricotta too, but let’s do one thing at a time…I still need to figure out how to use my freakin’ mandolin!! Lol

    I have to say now that I’m allowing myself to bake (not to be confused with TRYING to make up a recipe of my own), I find it very calming. I think it’s because I can just forget about everything else and just focus on the step by step process of it all. My ongoing goal in my personal life is just to get back to “me”…to be happy with myself the way I am. I’ve made a lot of progress recently…and I think I’m well on my way to feeling more “normal” on a regular basis! :)

    Good luck with the bar exam, Kat!! You’re a smart cookie, you’ll do great! Mmm, cookies! ;)

    1. Laura

      How big is it?! Did you see the one Meghan had? It was downright pornographic!!!

      Don’t feel bad about the mandolin. I bought one over a year ago and STILL have worked out how to use it. Whoops.

      After seeing that cake you made, I’ll allow you to calmly bake for me ANYTIME. ;)

      1. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

        I didn’t see Meghan’s (ugh, sooooo behind in blog reading), but this one is EASILY the size of my upper arm both length and girth…tee hee, girth! ;)

    2. Kat

      Your baking sounds like yoga. Man, I should try to feel more Zen around it. ;)

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