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