I didn’t know that April was soyfoods month until a week ago. That gives me another 15 days to celebrate. I like tofu, so easy peasy.
Truthfully, the various food holidays kinda make me roll my eyes most of the time. There’s one (or more) every single day – like grilled cheese day, which was last week. But we get to honor soy all month long! Way better than smashing it into 24 hours.
So while I usually avoid making recipes exclusively to showcase holidays (my blog is more “here’s what I ate” than “here’s a list of recipes for you to try on Christmas”), this one just worked out.
Who doesn’t love a crock-pot recipe?
So you know how I make this really simple gluten free lasagna with rice paper and tofu “ricotta”?
Well. This is what you call an aha moment.
Crock pot, meet rice paper.
Ummm, could the fit BE more perfect?!?!
I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me sooner, but I couldn’t wait to give the recipe a shot in the slow cooker. No more breaking apart rice paper to shape into a rectangular casserole dish! In other words, the recipe just went from 15 minutes of prep to 10.
Crock-pot lasagna with tofu “cheese” [vegan, gluten free]
Tofu “cheese” ingredients:
- 1 14 oz. container extra firm organic tofu ( I used Wildwood brand made with sprouted soybeans)
- 1/2 cup hummus
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1 tsp dried Italian seasonings (basil, parsley, oregano, thyme)
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- 10-15 rice paper wrappers (Asian spring rolls) or gluten free lasagna noodles (like Tinkyada)
- 1 cup TVP* (rehydrated with 1 cup water or vegetable broth)
- spinach (fresh or frozen)
- 1 25 oz. jar of marinara
Begin by greasing the inside of the crock pot with non-stick spray or oil.
Make the tofu “cheese” by mashing all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until you have a uniform and cheese-like texture.
In a separate bowl, rehydrate the TVP (textured vegetable protein) with the liquid.
Begin layering in the crock-pot, starting with a bit of marinara, followed by rice paper(s), then tofu “cheese”, then rice paper(s), then marinara, then TVP, then rice paper(s), then marinara, and so on…ending with a top layer of just marinara.
Cook in slow cooker on low for 4 hours. Let it cool and “set” for another 4 hours before serving. [If you serve it straight away after cooking it will be delicious, but it will be lasagna soup. I learned this the hard way. The next day’s portion was perfect.]
*Notes: TVP is a vegetarian protein make from dehydrated soy. If you can’t find TVP in your local health foods store, you can sub grated tempeh or omit the “meat” layer altogether.
I doubled up the rice paper per layer, but if you are using regular lasagna noodles (or GF ones) you only need one noodle per layer. You do not have to cook them prior to assembling them in the crock.
The amount listed in this make enough for two people and some leftovers. For a larger group all you have to do is keep on layering. I recommend doubling the tofu “cheese” and using an extra jar of marinara. You will likely have extra rice paper spring rolls because most packs come with more than the amount I used, so just keep on layering until you run out of an ingredient.
Soy isn’t just for veg heads! I promise this tofu cheese recipe will make a meat eater just as happy as a vegan. This was actually my first time trying sprouted tofu and although I couldn’t detect much of a difference in taste, the texture was much heartier and dense. Wildwood Organics is the only company is the US to make their tofu with sprouted soybeans. The real difference is in the nutritional stats – sprouted tofu contains more calcium, iron, and protein (as well as more fat and calories) as compared to regular tofu.
On the left, the rehydrated TVP. On the right, the layering process.
If your crock-pot doesn’t happen to fit the spring rolls perfectly, you can just dampen them with some water and they will bend to fit into the crock. Don’t worry about it being perfect. It all tastes the same, with or without wrinkles. 🙂
Once prep is done, you can just step away and forget about it. And since the dish is better once cooled, you can start it in the morning and leave it all day and by dinnertime it will be good to go!
Of course I wasn’t quite on top of things, so I started it around 2 pm.
This is what happens when you can’t wait to dig in…
Ladies and gents, may I present lasagna soup.
Truth: it was freakin’ awesome tasting and neither Kyle nor myself cared what it looked like. So what if the noodles were too mushy and didn’t hold their form?
This is what it looks like the next day (or when you wait until it has cooled and the rice paper has set)…
Ha. Okay, still not great to photograph.
Are you planning on celebrating soyfoods month??
I know there’s often controversy about the role of soy in the diet, but I’m a big fan. My mom literally raised me on tofu, blending it into my pureed baby food! It’s packed with protein and fiber and can take on any flavor, making it great for everyone. Not just vegetarians. Every time someone tells me they don’t like tofu, I think they just haven’t had it prepared correctly. Because it’s good stuff. And SO easy to incorporate into everyday meals (from smoothies and puddings to stir-frys and sandwiches). Especially in a “cheese” recipe like this one, which has way fewer calories and saturated fat than real cheese. Plus soy has calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B-12. Win win win.
This sponsorship is brought to you by the Soyfoods Association who I have partnered with for this promotion.
The Soyfoods Association of North America (SANA) provides information about the health benefits and nutritional advantages of soy. SANA offers fun recipes and convenient ways to incorporate soy into meals for everyone – from athletes to families. SANA is dedicated to spreading the word about soy, especially during National Soyfoods Month in April!
Check out their facebook page for more info and their website for recipes.