I was asked, “How can you call it lasagna when you remove the meat and cheese, two of the three main ingredients?” My response to that question is to just taste it! One bite and you’ll be hooked! Yes, there are a lot of ingredients and several steps to put this together, this is not a beginners recipe, but it is well worth the effort.


Of all the ingredients in my lasagna recipe, I’m focusing on just two of them here in the twist. The other ingredients are more common in several dishes and their health benefits are covered with other recipes.

Seitan is a hearty Asian meat substitute made from wheat gluten which offers high protein and other nutritional benefits. It is a low fat food with only about 2 grams of fat in a half cup serving. When made with whole wheat flour it is high in iron with about 20% of the RDA per half cup averages and contains about 10 grams of carbohydrates, however, commercial brands tend to have less carbohydrates. The protein in seitan is quite high with 26 grams per one half cup serving which is more than 50% of the recommended daily allowance. Seitan made with whole wheat flour has about 3.6 mg of iron per half-cup serving, or 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance. Commercial brands can contain as little as 1 percent to 2 percent of the recommended daily allowance.

To tofu or not to tofu….that is the question. After wading through all the controversy over soy products, I have come to the conclusion that most soy products are health promoting, especially given that native Asian cultures who have eaten soy products over the course of thousands of years tend to produce long-lived, disease free, healthy individuals. However, keep in mind that too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily good. In other words, don’t try your hardest to eat more soy just because it’s beneficial it can be a high allergy food and there are other health promoting foods to eat as well.  With that said, research indicates that soy can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, improve cardiovascular health, and alleviate many of the symptoms of menopause. It is high in protein, is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids and many minerals including iron which is essential for the transportation of oxygen in through the blood, copper which provides flexibility of the blood vessels and helps reduce symptoms of arthritis, selenium and manganese which disarm free radicals and protect against cancer causing toxins.



Red Lasagna Sauce:
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1 cup seitan, sliced
1/2 cup textured vegetable protein
4 cans (15 oz.) tomato sauce
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 T each of fresh thyme, oregano and rosemary
1 t ground fennel
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1/2 t kelp powder*

Mushroom Layer:
2 lbs. sliced mushrooms
3/4 cup shiraz red wine (one small bottle)

White Sauce:
1/2 cup non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups almond milk
1/2 t nutmeg

Herbed Tofu Cheese:
2 (1 lb.) pkgs. firm tofu, pressed and crumbled
1/4 cup Vegenaise
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 t Himalayan sea salt*
1/2 t dry mustard
4 cloves garlic
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1/2 cup nutritional yeast

For Assembly:
1 pkg. (1 lb.) whole wheat lasagna noodles
1 pkg. (8oz) Diaya mozzarella shreds

To make the red lasagna sauce, sauté onion until beginning to caramelize, add carrot dices. Add the next 4 ingredients to the onion mixture. Add all the fresh herbs and spices blending well. Set aside.

Sauté the sliced mushrooms until they release their juices and most of the liquid evaporates (some of the liquid may need to be drained off). Add the red wine and reduce until the wine barely coats the mushrooms. Remove from heat and set aside.

Make a white sauce by melting the non-hydrogenated margarine in a saucepan. Add the whole wheat flour, stir until smooth. Add the almond milk and nutmeg stirring until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the herbed tofu cheese layer, first press and crumble the tofu by wrapping each block of tofu tightly in 4 paper towel sheets and place on a plate and cover with a second plate placed upside down on them, then 1 to 2 heavy books placed on top of the second plate to apply a little pressure. Allow the juices to be pressed out for about 20 minutes. Remove the tofu from the paper towels and crumble into a bowl. Add the next 8 ingredients to the crumbled tofu. Stir to combine and set aside.

To assemble the lasagna: In a large lasagna pan or roasting pan lay down a small amount of the red lasagna sauce. Top with a layer of 7 of the dry noodles and layer with more red lasagna sauce. Spread with half of the tofu mixture and then half of the white sauce. Layer with half of the remaining dry noodles, then red lasagna sauce, all of the mushrooms and then the remaining white sauce. Top with the remaining dry noodles, the rest of the tofu mixture and then the remaining red lasagna sauce. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes until noodles are completely cooked through. Sprinkle with the Diaya mozzarella shreds, return to the oven briefly to slightly melt and toast the final top layer. Serves 12 to 15.  ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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Last week, while vacationing in Tennessee we found the nicest vegan restaurant in all of Nashville, The Wild Cow. While we had fun enjoying a full menu full of animal free choices it also made the decision of what to eat a little more difficult than it usually is in restaurants. We asked our server, Ryan, what he liked on the menu. He indicated that everything was delicious but that he had recently been “addicted” to the reuben.  Enough said, Vincent ordered the Reuben! There were four of us at the table and we each ordered something different. Ryan was right, everything was very delicious! I told Ryan about The kitchen twist and he told me about how to download some of his original music for free at ryansilver.bandcamp.com be sure to visit and enjoy his tunes! You can also find him on youtube or his website at ryansilvermusic.com his music is very chill with a bit of whimsey, I liked it! Upon arriving home I wanted to create something in honor of The Wild Cow and Ryan, our talented server, who is sure to break into the music scene and become a famous musician. Under these circumstances I decided that nothing could be better than to create a satisfying and addicting reuben sandwich!


Apart from its deliciously tangy flavor, sauerkraut offers remarkable health benefits. The fiber and lactic acid bacteria improve digestion and promote the growth of healthy bowel flora, protecting against many diseases of the digestive tract. It’s low in calories, enzyme-rich and high in vitamin C. The fermentation of cabbage produces compounds called isothiocyanates which are protective against cancer.

Tofu is a rich source of protein that is cholesterol free. It can help lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol without lowering HDL (good) cholesterol which leads to a reduced risk of heart disease. Being high in protein, it satisfies body’s hunger for a long time. Also, its low-calorie nature doesn’t add any excess calories to your diet.

Tofu is a very good source of iron. Iron helps in the transport of release of oxygen throughout the body promoting energy production. Tofu also provides copper, an important mineral without which iron cannot be properly utilized in red blood cells. Copper is also helpful in reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

A study done on men with type 2 diabetes, all of whom had a diagnosis of diabetes-related kidney disease, found that men who added tofu to their diet significantly reduced the stress on their kidneys.  Those receiving the animal protein, however, experienced an increase in kidney disease.

The juniper berries in the marinate help to prevent gas and heartburn. They also help treat bladder and kidney infections.

Rye bread may be a better choice than wheat bread for persons with diabetes. One study found that bread made from wheat triggers a greater insulin response than rye bread does. Results of the study showed that after women had eaten rye bread, their insulin responses were significantly lower than after they ate wheat bread. Researchers felt this lower after-meal insulin response could be due to the fact that the starch granules in rye bread form a less porous and mechanically firmer matrix than in wheat bread. This would translate into a much greater particle size being swallowed when rye bread is eaten compared to wheat, which would slow the rate at which the starch could be digested into sugar.



For the tofu:
2  (1 lb.) blocks extra-firm tofu, frozen, thawed and water squeezed out (or fresh, drained and pressed)
1/2 cup water
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T grated ginger
2 juniper berries,* crushed
2 t dry mustard
1 t sesame oil
1/4 t Cayenne pepper
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t allspice

Place the tofu  in a gallon sized ziplock bag. Stir together all remaining ingredients and pour over tofu, coating all sides. Press the air out and zip closed. Marinate for 30 minutes while preparing the remaining ingredients.

For the reuben sauce:
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (Vegenaise)
6 T ketchup
2 T minced dill pickle
4 t horseradish sauce
2 t Bragg’s amino acids

Mix all ingredients together. Use to spread on the reuben sandwiches.

For assembly:
16 slices rye bread cut from 2 loaves
1 (8 oz.) pkg. Diaya Mozzarella shreds
2 1/2 cups fresh sauerkraut
Non-hydrogenated margarine (Earth Balance)

Preheat a large skillet on medium low heat. Place the slices of rye bread together preparatory to assembling the sandwiches. Evenly spread the reuben sauce across each slice of bread. Slice each block of tofu into 4 thin pieces and place on half of the bread slices. Top the tofu with a generous amount of sauerkraut, then evenly spread the Diaya Mozzarella shreds on the opposite bread slices. Quickly put the bread slices together to form sandwiches. Spread the top of each sandwich with a very thin layer of non-hydrgenated margarine and carefully lay in heated pan, margarine side down. While in pan spread a very thin layer of non-hydrogenated margarine on the second side of each sandwich. Flip sandwiches when the first side is browned and brown the second side. Remove from pan and continue until all sandwiches are grilled. Makes 8 sandwiches. ©Janice Moreland  http://thekitchentwist.com

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