I cooked up a bit pot of white beans for the (not so successful) white bean salad. I froze what I didn’t need for the salad, and then defrosted them this weekend. For some reason I felt like eating lasagna, so I dug up this recipe for a vegetarian white lasagna with bean sauce. It’s pretty similar to a traditional lasagna except it doesn’t have any tomato sauce and the white sauce is made from blended white beans, milk, and nutritional yeast.
- 9 dry no boil lasagna noodles
- 2 cups steamed peas (I used frozen peas, didn’t measure)
- 1/2 -cup steamed spinach (I used 1 block of frozen spinach, not sure how much it was, maybe 3/4 cup?)
- 1 carrot, shredded and steamed (I forgot this!)
- 2 cups chopped broccoli, steamed (I’m not sure how much I used, maybe 3 cups cooked?)
- 3 cups fat-free ricotta (I can’t get fat-free ricotta here so I used whole milk ricotta mixed with very low fat cottage cheese)
- 8oz shredded mozzarella cheese (I used balls of buffalo mozzarella)
- One (12oz) can white beans with juice (butter, cannellini, navy, etc.) (I used about 2 cups of home cooked white beans with the crevices filled with the cooking liquid)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 cups milk (I used 1.5%)
- 1 TBSP garlic powder (I only had about 1 tsp. so added 1 large cloves of garlic)
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Salt or salt substitute to taste, optional
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (mine was moldy so instead I added some grated cheddar cheese)
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Steam all of the vegetables; drain as much water out of them as possible. Put spinach in strainer and squeeze.
- Add milk, beans with juice, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt* to blender. Blend until thoroughly mixed together, do not over-blend to avoid airiness.
- Add bean sauce to saucepan with steamed vegetables; stir well. Heat on low for 10-15 minutes, stir often.
- In lasagna tray, spread thin layer of bean and vegetable sauce evenly across bottom, then add a layer of noodles (no boil noodles or cooked regular noodles), next a layer of ricotta (1.5 cups), white bean and vegetable sauce, then a layer of mozzarella cheese (4oz). Repeat for two layers; sprinkle top with parmesan cheese.
- Cover with (nonstick) foil and bake on 400F degrees for 45-50 minutes. Remove foil for last 10 minutes of cooking to lightly brown the top.
Makes 8 large or 12 small servings.
I messed up and didn’t measure the veggies. I had steamed more than the recipe called for but forgot and added them all to the white bean sauce. I also added a layer of noodles on the top of the lasagna. I didn’t have enough mozzarella for three layers so I just used it on the top layer, above the top layer of noodles, along with the cheddar. It stuck to the tin foil a bit, but was otherwise fine. The extr veggies ended up being quite good. I think the original recipe might have been a little low on veggies. The sauce was extremely saucy. I didn’t push my veggies through a sieve to drain them, since the white sauce was already so thin. But the no cook noodles did a good job of absorbing all the extra moisture, and the lasagna actually held together pretty well. I forgot to add the carrot. I’m sure it would taste good but I kind of liked the all-green-and-white color scheme. Very green goddess-esque. I also added basil to the ricotta, but I don’t think it was enough as I couldn’t really taste it.
I quite liked the lasagna. The taste is mild but satisfying. Derek thought it could use a little less ricotta and a bit more mozzarella. And I really wish I could get no boil whole wheat pasta. But other than that I liked it a lot. The combo of peas, broccoli, and spinach worked really well. You couldn’t really taste the white beans, but they make the sauce taste a tad more fibrous and maybe even gritty (but only if you were really paying attention). But I think this is a really innocuous way to add 2 cups of beans to a lasagna. Next time I might add an egg or two to the ricotta to help the lasagna firm up just a tad more, and maybe more fresh garlic and basil. I wouldn’t leave out the nutritional yeast–I think it adds an essential flavor.
Compared to other lasagna recipes this one is surprisingly easy. I skipped the step where you heat the vegetables in the white sauce for 10 minutes. I didn’t see the point, when the vegetables were already cooked and the lasagna was going to bake in the oven for almost an hour. As it was the broccoli and peas ended up just a little overcooked. Next time I think I’d steam them until slightly underdone.
This recipe is a little bit high calorie (about 425 calories for 1/9 of the recipe, for the cheeses I used). I wonder if there’s a way to keep the rich taste while cutting back on the calories a tad? Maybe getting rid of the top layer of noodles?
Rating: B / B+
I made this recipe again with just a few changes. I used 2 cups of frozen green peas, 5 ounces of frozen spinach, about 3? cups of broccoli florets (the florets from one head of broccoli), 35g basil, and 10g parsley. I skipped the carrot again. I used about 2.25 cups whole milk ricotta with 0.75 cups of lowfat cottage cheese. I used canned beans with their juice, but a little more than one can, maybe 14 ounces of beans? I didn’t add any salt to the sauce but I should have — maybe 1/4 tsp. I only had 1 tsp. of garlic powder so I added 2 large cloves of garlic. The lasagna wasn’t very garlicky though, so next time I’d add more. This time I used 200g of full fat pre-shredded mozzarella plus 125 grams of “light” mozzarella balls and 1 ounces of grated Parmesan.
The lasagna came out pretty similar to less time except that it was too runny. I don’t know if my vegetables were wetter than last time or if last time I added more beans resulting in a thicker sauce. But last time the lasagna mostly held together and this time it was more like lasagna soup. Also the top lasagna noodles didn’t cook at the corners. I think it’s really important to cover them well with sauce. The taste was again good. I was worried that I added too much herbs (about 1 unpacked cup of chopped herbs). However, even though I added way more basil than last time and a bit of parsley, the herb taste was quite discreet. I got a few bites of parsley but didn’t really notice the basil at all. Derek and I both thought the amount of broccoli and peas was good, but the lasagna could use a bit more spinach. Maybe next time I’ll try 10 ounces spinach. Again we thought the lasagna was quite ricotta-y but not quite enough mozzarella. Again I liked the milk + bean + nutritional yeast sauce. I actually think it would make a nice soup, if you added a drizzle of pesto or red pepper sauce as garnish.
As all lasagnas, this one is a bit of a pain to make. It took me about an hour, without cleanup, and got quite a few pans dirty: the blender, a bowl to mix the vegetables in, a bowl to mix the ricotta and cottage cheese in, and a steamer to steam the broccoli. Next time I want to try not cooking the broccoli at all. I would think that after an hour in the oven it would be cooked. Or maybe I could throw it in the microwave with the spinach and peas when I defrost them.