Friday, July 12, 2013

Arugula Lasagna with Garlic Scape Pesto and Tofu Ricotta...

Okay, so I know it’s summer, and I know a lot of you are living in placed where it’s currently hot, hot, hot, but here in IL yesterday it was actually quite nice. It felt more like spring then summer with a cool breeze and no humidity. It was a perfect day, and while it might not have been a lasagna day per say, that’s inevitably what I ended up making for dinner.

You see, yesterday I was extremely busy writing essays and doing other homework. It consumed most of my day up until about 3pm. By then I was feeling a little tired and brain-fried and so I didn’t really feel like thinking to hard about making dinner. Originally I was just going to cook something from a cook book, but every recipe I found that was ‘quick and easy’ and looked appealing didn’t really utilize the bounty of fresh produce I had on hand. I had pounds of arugula, garlic scapes, kale, spinach, tomatoes, cabbage and beets and so I really wanted to make something that would use at least one or more of the most perishable items in that list. I started thinking about noodles, using my garlic scapes and kale to make a pasta dish but I didn’t feel like spaghetti. Then I remembered a box of whole wheat lasagna noodles my mom gave me to take home with me when I left Vancouver in May. Hm... Lasagna.....

So the wheels got turning, and I must say as much as I love a good lasagna I really hate actually making lasagna. It’s always such a process, but once I got thinking about it I couldn’t stop. I mean what if I put garlic scapes and arugula in a lasagna? I’d never heard of that before, It could be very interesting. What about some olives? Do I have tofu to make ricotta? What if I made a pesto out of the garlic scapes? Hm.. The questions just kept on coming and finally I decided, ‘lets do this thing!’ Of course pesto alone in a lasagna might be a bit too overpowering I thought, so I made a red sauce too, and everything combined together made the most perfect, and delicious lasagna. My husband says this is one of my best ever. No one flavor overpowers another, they all work In perfect harmony together. So If you like lasagna I urge you to make this one, it’s unique blend of flavors is really a pleasure. Of course, if it’s a bit too hot where you live to turn on the oven, then wait for a cool day to try it!

Arugula Lasagna with Garlic Scape Pesto and Tofu Ricotta 


14oz Whole Wheat or Gluten Free Lasagna Noodles
1 Large Yellow Onion Diced
½-1 lb Baby Arugula (I used roughly 1/2 to 2/3 of a 1 lb package)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tomatoes Sliced
Handful of Kalamata Olives
Sea salt and Black Pepper to garnish if desired
1 Recipe Tomato Sauce
1 Recipe Garlic Scape Pesto
1 Recipe Tofu Ricotta

Tomato Sauce 

1 28oz Can Diced Tomatoes
8oz Can Tomato Sauce
3 Cloves Garlic
2 tsp Dried Basil
2 tsp Dried Oregano
1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste
1/4 C Capers

Garlic Scape Pesto 

14 Garlic Scapes Steamed
½ C Walnuts
½ C Olive Oil
½ C Water
2-4 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (to taste)
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Smokes Paprika
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Garlic Powder
2oz Fresh Basil

Tofu Ricotta 

1 lb Extra Firm Tofu drained and Pressed
4 Garlic Cloves Minced
2 tsp Dried Basil
2 tsp Dried Oregano
½-1 tsp Sea salt
Black Pepper to taste
4 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp Tahini
1 Tbsp Mellow White Miso
Slightly less then 1/4 C Water

To Make the Tomato Sauce 

- Combine all ingredients except capers and blend until smooth, add in the capers and give a gentle blend for 2 seconds just to incorporate.

- Set aside until ready to use.

To Make the Pesto 

- Trim the ends off of your garlic scapes and steam in a pot fitted with a steamer basket for 5-7 minutes until bright and fragrant.

- Pulse Walnuts in a food processor until very fine.

- Add in Olive oil and garlic scapes. Process until relatively smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

- Add in all other ingredients along with the water. Process again until you reach your desired consistency. (I like my pesto slightly textured.)

- Set aside till ready to use

*** Note - You can use more or less water depending on your desired thickness. You can also leave the garlic scapes raw if you prefer, but some people find the taste too strong which is why I suggest steaming them for a few minutes before hand.***

To Make the Tofu Ricotta 

- Crumble Tofu into a mixing bowl.

- Mix the White Miso with the water until smooth.

- Add all other ingredients to the tofu including the miso water mixture and use a fork to mash until everything is thoroughly combined and tofu reached desired ricotta-like consistency.

- Set aside until ready to use.

For the Lasagna 

- Boil the Noodles per package directions then drain and rinse under cold water.

- Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan and saute the onion until soft. Add in the arugula and saute for roughly 5 minutes until wilted. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.


- Preheat oven to 400'F

- Fill the bottom of a baking dish with a thin layer of the sauce. Place a layer of cooked noodles over top.

- Place half of the pesto mixture on top of the Noodles and spread to coat evenly.

- Spread half of the arugula mixture over top of the pesto.

- Spread half of the tofu mixture over top of the arugula mixture and spread as evenly as possible.

It’s okay if the Arugula shows through the tofu.

- Spread another thin layer of sauce over the tofu mixture, then top with another layer of noodles.

- Spread the remaining pesto over the noodles.

- Spread the remaining arugula mixture over the pesto

- Spread the remaining tofu over the arugula and top with another layer of noodles.

- Spread the remaining sauce over top of the noodles. Then garnish with thinly sliced tomatoes, kalamata olives and a bit of freshly ground sea salt and black pepper if desired.

- Place in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until tomatoes are shriveled and sauce is bubbling.

- Let cool for 15 minutes then cut into the Lasagna and enjoy!

***Note: This can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free noodles.*** 

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