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May 3, 2011

Mexican Zucchini Lasagna


Super Veggie Lentil Taco "Meat" has a new gig, and just in time for Cinco de Mayo! Layered between thinly sliced zucchini, Mexican rice, spicy tomato sauce, and topped off with some vegan cheddar, this is one mean Mexican Zucchini Lasagna. The only thing that this dish is missing is a margarita on the rocks to wash it down with!

Zucchini stands in for lasagna noodles, keeping this dish very light (more room for margaritas!), as well as gluten-free. This lasagna is also oil-free, and optionally soy-free (watch the vegan cheese and sour cream toppings). If lentils don't float your boat try this with some chipotle-style seitan or seasoned black beans instead.




Perfect mile-high slices are achieved by layering this lasagna in two standard loaf pans lined with parchment paper. Once cooled remove each lasagna by gripping the parchment paper on both sides and lifting, transferring to a cutting board to slice. Do not try this with hot lasagna -- if serving immediately simply cut and serve directly from the pan. The slices won't be as pretty this way, but no less delicious. You may halve the recipe and make only 1 loaf pan (4 servings), but I promise you that you will wish you hadn't. This is one that leftovers taste even better, and also freezes well. So clear out some space in the freezer, fill up that margarita pitcher, and get cookin'!



Mexican Zucchini Lasagna
Serves 8

1 batch Super Veggie Lentil Taco "Meat"
2 large zucchini
1 cup cheddar style vegan cheese (optional)
1/2 cup sliced olives (optional)

Rice
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 cup corn (frozen or canned)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tbsp tomato paste

Sauce
Large can (28 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes (plain diced, crushed, or whole peeled are also OK)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp ground chipotle
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder


Rice: Get the rice and lentils going at the same time, starting with the rice. Combine rice, stock, and spices in a medium sauce pan fitted with a lid. Bring to a boil, and reduce to low and simmer covered for 45-50 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in corn (don't worry about thawing), tomato paste, and nutritional yeast, if using. Partially cover and set aside.

Lentil "Meat": Start the lentils while the rice is simmering. Follow recipe here. When done stir into the pot of rice and set aside. (You may choose to make the lentils and rice a day ahead and cut an hour of prep time).

Zucchini noodles: While the lentils and rice are simmering start prepping the zucchini noodles. Start by trimming the ends off of the zucchinis. Slice 1/4" thick slices the length of the zucchini (mandolin slicer works great here), until you have 16 total noodles. Line a colander with paper towels. Lightly salt each zucchini noodle on both sides and put into the colander with paper towels between the layers. Set aside to allow some of the moisture to be absorbed, while you finish preparations on the other components.

Sauce: For the sauce, simply blend all ingredients in a blender and set aside until ready to assemble the lasagna.

Assembly: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper. Spread 1/4 cup sauce in the bottom of one pan. Take 2 zucchini noodles and gently wipe the salt and excess moisture from both sides. Lay the 2 noodles side by side on top of the sauce to create the first layer. Spread 1 cup of the lentil/rice mixture over top of the noodles, and then 1/2 cup of sauce. Repeat for two more layers, noodles then lentils/rice ending with sauce. Top the third layer with 2 more noodles followed by 1/4 cup of sauce, 1/2 cup of shredded vegan cheddar cheese, and 1/4 cup sliced olives, if using. Repeat process in the second pan. Bake lasagnas for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melty and the sauce is bubbling.

Allow the lasagnas to set for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving. The longer the lasagnas set, the cleaner the slices will be (see notes above the recipe). Garnish with avocado, vegan sour cream, cilantro, and/or hot sauce. 

17 comments:

  1. Everybody is posting Cinco de Mayo recipes that I really want to try! A girl can't make it all!

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  2. looks fantastic - I thought you were using tortillas - I have done that but never tried zucchini - your freezer sounds like it is filled with good food!

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  3. Yum. I don't think I've ever made a Mexican lasagna. I love using zucchini or eggplant as pasta though.

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  4. Wow, this looks fantastic! I love making Mexican Lasagna - I'll have to try this version soon!

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  5. That sounds fantastic! I can't wait to try this. I love coming up with new ways to use zucchini.

    We're getting married on October 9th. It'll be a special weekend for both of us!

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  6. What a clever combination of Italian and Mexican - yum! It sounds too intriguing not to try!

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  7. This is such a fun lasagna! I love the use of zucchini instead of noodles and lentils are oh so totally my thing!

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  8. All of that looks great (minus the olives - those are the marbles of babylon!) :)

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  9. Mexican lasagna sounds so yummy! and replacing the pasta with zucchini sounds extra yummy and super light, just in time for the warmer weather. :-)

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  10. Looks delicious! I am definitely trying the lentil "meat" recipe. Looks great!

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  11. i bet you could use eggplant in this too!

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  12. Love this lasagna creation of yours! I so need to try that lentil veggie taco meat.

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  13. Wow, this looks delicious, I will have to try this for dinner sometime!

    Zoe xx
    Life of a Vegetarian Girl

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