Thursday, August 6, 2015

Asian Lasagna

A few years ago, we cooked a ‘mostly vegetarian’ Thanksgiving meal, with the star of our dinner being a zucchini lasagna. The Parmesan-vegetable sauce blanketing layers of zucchini, topped with mozzarella cheese was just what we needed for a scrumptious Thanksgiving meal. If prepped properly, the vegetables don’t get soggy, and form beautiful layers. Its a great substitute for pasta if you want a lighter, healthier lasagna.

This recipe is a similar preparation, but with an Asian twist! I used extra firm tofu along with vegetables - its the best thing to soak up all the amazing flavors from the marinade and the vegetables, and it firms up as it bakes making the texture quite delectable.


Ingredients (For a 9x13 baking pan: ~10 servings)
For the layers
1 large eggplant
3 small-medium zucchini squash (I used 2 green + 1 yellow)
1 medium carrot
3-4 radishes
14 oz (or more) extra firm tofu

For the sauce
16 oz mushrooms (finely chopped - I used food processor)
5-6 green onions (separate the onion bulb from the shoots and slice the onion part for the sauce, reserving the shoots for marinade and/or garnish; Can also use regular onion chopped)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp grated ginger (or ginger powder)
1 tsp sesame oil (or olive oil)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey

For marinade (Adjust ingredients to taste if required)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp honey
sliced green onions (optional)


Prepping the veggies for layering:
This step is required to remove excess water from the vegetables so that they don’t get soggy while baking. It can be done in a pan on the stovetop, or in the oven. Since the volume was quite high, I decided to use the oven for this.

Slice the eggplant about ⅛ - ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle with some salt and lay them on paper towels. Put some weight on eggplant slices to let some of the moisture drain out.

Slice the zucchini ⅛ - ¼ inch thick. I decided not to slice them lengthwise, but that would also work. Sprinkle with just a little bit of salt.

Spread out the eggplant and zucchini in a single layer on a baking sheet if possible (it’s okay if it overlaps though). Preheat oven to 400 F and roast the eggplant and zucchini for ~20 minutes until they are a little tender (they will cook more later, so don’t keep them in too long).
Thinly slice the carrots and radishes.

Prepping the tofu:
While the veggies are roasting, drain and squeeze the block of tofu; cut it into ¼ inch slices. I like to squeeze out water one more time after slicing. Mix all the marinade ingredients, and let the tofu soak in the marinade for ~20-30 minutes.
Making the sauce:
Heat sesame oil on medium heat, add the onions, ginger, garlic. Saute for a minute, then add the mushrooms and cook uncovered stirring frequently till the moisture from the mushrooms is reduced. Add soy sauce, vinegar, and honey, adjusting to taste. The sauce shouldn’t be very liquidy.

Asian lasagna-001.jpg

Line a baking dish (I used a 9x13 pan) with aluminum foil (it’s okay not to, just makes cleanup easier). Spread a thin layer of the mushroom sauce on the bottom. Lay down marinated tofu in a single layer, followed by a layer of eggplant slices. Top that with a layer of zucchini, another thin layer of mushroom sauce, and then the carrots and radishes. Repeat layering the eggplant-zucchini-sauce-carrots-radishes until you run out (I got 2 layers). Top with the remaining tofu (I was just short of a complete layer). Spoon over about ¼-⅓ cup of the leftover marinade evenly on top.

Asian lasagna.jpg

Bake in preheated oven (400 F) for 25-30 min until all the vegetables are cooked through and there aren’t any noticeable pools of liquid.

Remove from the oven, let it stand for a few minutes, then slice and serve topped with more marinade if desired.


Serving suggestion:
I served this Asian lasagna with a simple coleslaw salad tossed with a lemon-ginger dressing. However, it would go very well with rice or noodles. The marinade is quick and easy to make, and can be used as a sauce for the noodles or rice.



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Asian Lasagna - layers of goodness!

Posted by The Cooks of Cake and Kindness on Thursday, August 6, 2015

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