The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
February 9, 2009

Almost Vegan Crockpot Lasagne (Deliciously plastic-free)

I’ve been having fun with my new-to-me crockpot. Thanks to everyone who suggested recipes. One of the perks of having a blog is all the free advice from readers. My first easy project was froghair’s black bean chili. Confidence boosted, I tried vegan lasagne a few days later. Here are the ingredients:

Thanks to my friends Jen and Red for the Rainbow Grocery gift certificate they gave me for Christmas. Most of the ingredients came from bulk bins at that amazing store. Thanks also to JessTrev who told me about Bionaturae tomato paste that comes in a glass jar rather than BPA-lined can and who also told me I could put regular dry lasagne noodles (not necessary to buy the quick kind) into the crockpot if I used enough liquid.

This recipe is mostly a product of my own imagination. We love it. I hope the inspiration keeps coming!

Ingredients:
*Dry lasagne noodles (from Rainbow bulk bin, brought home in my own cloth bag)

Sauce layer:
*1 glass jar Bionaturae tomato paste mixed with 3 jars of tap water
*1 cup red wine
*1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon turkey broth (this ingredient and the next item are what make this dish less than vegan.)
*1 cup chicken juice (leftover from making homemade cat food)
*1/4 cup olive oil
*1/2 onion, chopped
*3 cloves garlic, mashed
*Button mushrooms, sliced (don’t know the exact amount. I used all that you see in the top photo.)
*Dry oregano
*Dry basil
*Anise seeds (In the future, we’ll get our dry herbs from Whole Foods bulk bins when those in containers are used up.)
*Salt & black pepper

Mushy Layer:
I don’t know what else to call it. In traditional lasagne, it would be made from ricotta cheese.

*Mashed garnet yams (also leftover from making homemade cat food.)
*4 squares of firm tofu (also from Rainbow bulk bin, brought home in my own container)
*1 bunch of fresh spinach leaves, washed and stemmed
*Salt & pepper

Preparation:

Sautee onion, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil until somewhat soft. Add all remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a light boil. The “sauce” will be more like a broth than a sauce. This is important for cooking the dry lasagne. Remove from stove. Mash together yams, tofu, chopped spinach, salt & pepper in a separate bowl.

In crockpot, create the following layers: sauce, dry lasagne, sauce, yam/tofu. Repeat from beginning as many times as you want. It’s important to begin and end with a sauce layer to ensure there is enough liquid to cook the noodles. Put lid on crockpot and cook on low for several hours until noodles are the desired firmness. Some people like their pasta mushier than others.

Here is our finished product:


In the future, I think I’ll cook it for less time. The noodles were a bit softer than I would have liked and the casserole a little too dry. But overall, it was a winner.

Some of you might be asking why there is no cheese in this recipe. The reason is the plastic wrapping. Too hard to find local, organic cheese without it. I do think I may be able to buy handmade bulk mozzarella from The Cheese Shop, but whether or not they’ll let me put it into my own container remains to be seen. This time around, I skipped the cheese and used enough olive oil to not feel fat-deprived.

And don’t forget… even if we make our own cheese, there will still be plastic involved in whatever dairy product we use. Milk comes in either glass bottles with plastic caps or cardboard cartons coated with plastic. No way around the plastic unless you own a cow!
 

13 comments
JessTrev
JessTrev

YUM! Love the yams. Great idea. They are fabulous, btw, mashed with mole sauce in enchiladas. Thanks for the shout out! Any time you want to talk recipes, I am *here*. Love to cook. And also love that you saved the chicken juice from making cat food. Pretty fabulous. Next time you can throw some over your enchiladas to keep em moist!

monkeyjen
monkeyjen

What is this "ALMOST" business?? You can do better than that. JKJK. I think you should put some sausage in there. Anyway, I think you could buy cheese from the deli counter - either fresh mozzarella balls or maybe sliced provolone. Provolone would be good. You could always bring the little deli bag to our house and we will use it for Tiger's special presents.ps, thanks for the honorable mention. i knew you would make good use of the gift cert.

Anonymous
Anonymous

alas, no crock pot here, but i think probably easily adapted. i did make your recipe for chocolate syrup and it is an official family fav now. also, we really like the Skoy kitchen "cloth". i'll be buying more. i plan to ask my local store if they will order and stock them. becky

froghair
froghair

yay! glad you're enjoying your new-to-you toy!

Anarres Natural Health
Anarres Natural Health

You can make an awesome cheese sauce by toasting cashew butter with margarine or oil, then stirring in good tasting farmer's yeast, sea salt and water until you get your desired texture.I am going to try this recipe.I used to use a layer of bulgar wheat in my vegan lazagne in place of meat.Love & RRRevolution, Tracey

jill
jill

Since you have acces to such great bulk bin fare check for bulk dried tomatoes. They make great paste. Just cover a quantity with boiling water and soak until soft. Whiz them in a blender or food processor. If you make too much paste just freeze the leftovers in ice cubes trays or in little blobs on a cookie sheet. They store well in a a wide moth Mason jar in the freezer.

SusanB
SusanB

We like the bionature tomato paste to make pizza sauce with in case you decide to move on to cheeseless pizza (is there such a thing?).

Brekke
Brekke

Not that you could put it in a lasagne, but I buy spreadable cheese that comes in a cardboard circle container with additional foil packaging. I think there might be a plastic string around the container, but that's it. Maybe look into that as an occasional alternative? The one I sometimes buy is Aloutte. It's not perfect in anyway, as there is quite a bit of packaging, but at least its not plastic-y. And sometimes... i just really need some cheese...Again, not sure it could go in lasagne.

Robj98168
Robj98168

Why not make your own Mozzerella? I understand it is very easy to make at home, though I have never tried it. I have ssen them make it on Food Network and it does not look at all difficult

Robj98168
Robj98168

Why not make your own Mozzerella? I understand it is very easy to make at home, though I have never tried it. I have ssen them make it on Food Network and it does not look at all difficult

nollij
nollij

I still have a serious weakness for cheese, and though I'm learning to appreciate vegan cheese alternatives, cheese remains one of my "plastic indulgences". I try to reduce the volume by buying cheese in the largest blocks I can find to reduce the amount of packing that multiple small packages cause. I keep meaning to finish the recipe I told you about so I can send it to you... tomorrow! :)