Italy of the 1970s; My first trip abroad; a group of girls traveling by night train from Vienna to Venice (Mestre to be exact) – I fell in love with the Italians and the language at first sight.
From there, we drove to Lugano, a picturesque Swiss town that seems to have emerged from the legends, with berries in ruffled baskets, a bakery that looks like the house of the witch in Hansel, and Gretel – and graceful traffic lady-cops in red-skirt suits.
From Lugano, we took the bus to St. Moritz. The road (which crossed Italy again) was among the most beautiful I have ever seen! – This was probably the first time I discovered that sometimes the road could be much more exciting than the destination itself!
I felt like a dreamer at the sight of the fantastic views, which abounded in lake water, manicured private homes with red geraniums on every fence – and in each parking lot at least one Fiat car. When we got to Chiavenna, a charming little town – I told myself I wanted to live here! (It has not happened yet – but who knows 🌞)
Most of all, I was amazed at the patience: I remember how we got stuck in a traffic jam on the narrow mountain road; The bus stopped for about an hour. No one grumbled! Everyone was chatting, laughing, and looking very relaxed – I looked out the window – even the passengers in the car behind us were in high spirits – a real cultural shock!
I was fascinated by fashion; Almost all the young men wore button-down white shirts inserted with meticulous, elegant care into stylish jeans. Some wore “Fruit of the Loom” t-shirts, and the shoes – OMG – the Italian shoes!
I remember a group of giggling teenagers pushing themselves into a Fiat 126 – and me standing there, planted on my place, watching amazed and jealous.
And of course – The Italian food!
The smell of food made me intoxicated – at that time, it was taboo for me; we had to settle for boring sandwiches we made in the hotel room. I remember well the feeling of missing out – the frustration of being in Italy and not enjoying Italian food.
Later, when I no longer felt bound by kosher rules – on a trip to Rome – I had a corrective experience: we entered a cute little family restaurant, and for the first time in my life, I had spaghetti made of fresh pasta, with lemon and cream sauce – oh oh oh how delicious it was (a vegan version – soon).
Years later, I imposed the vegan restriction on myself – only to find out that there are virtually no restrictions due to the substitutes, patents, and molecular discoveries.
Same with this recipe, it is vegan plus gluten-free, which until recently could have caused an involuntary spasm in some traditional Italians – if not a heart attack! But water has flowed through the canals of Venice and the Tiber River:
Taboos have been broken.
Conventions have changed.
Fashion has become less homogeneous and has far more personal expression options.
Strict laws no longer have to be blindly obeyed. The same goes for food and its trends. For example, when I first made the lasagna with the gluten-free dough – I was surprised to discover how tastier it is than the traditional lasagna sheets.
Oh, and you can also prepare in advance and freeze!
The pasta dough is based on a recipe from More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet Bette Hagman’s book – which developed gluten-free recipes – when the concept was still in its infancy. I discovered the recipe entirely by chance while surfing the net – and veganized it (the original recipe contains eggs). The result is a vegan pasta dough ‘Al-Dente’ to an exact degree that creates a delightful duet with the vegan bolognese filling.
The filling and the Béchamel sauce are based on Ruth Sirkis’ recipe book – “worldwide pies”.
Serve with a green salad and red wine, and you are set! Everyone has fallen in love with this dish, vegan or not; They often ask for a second 🙂
From experience, lasagna is tastier the next day – because overnight, the ingredients create dialogue and blend well.
And if by chance you also happen to visit Chiavenna, please share 🙂
Enjoy, and let me know how it turned out ❤️
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 small carrot, grated don't peal, the skin is very nutritious 🙂
- 6 cloves minced garlic or more 🙂
- 6 tbsp olive oil or more…
- 800 gram crashed tomatos (like mutti) two of 400ml cans
- 100 gram tomato paste
- 150 gram tvp – soked in hot water, drained and squeezed After squeezing the liquids, an amount of about 500 grams is obtained
- ½ cup red or white wine
- ½ tbsp dried oregano
- ½ tbsp dried basil
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- salt, black pepper
- 6 tbsp chickpea flour mixed with 9-10 tbsp of water
- 3½ tbsp olive oil
- In a large skillet or wok, fry olive oil, onions, carrots, and garlic until they soften a little.
- Add canned tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes (it is recommended to cover with a mesh lid so that it does not splash the whole kitchen)
- Set aside one cup of the sauce (this will be part of the topping)
- Oil the pan Lightly and spread 3-4 tablespoons of tomato sauce over it.
- Add to the sauce the soy chips(TVP) and mix; Add wine, salt, black pepper, and agave.
- Cook on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes (don't forget to cover with a mesh lid so that it will not splash). Stir occasionally.
- Add the herbs and mix. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- While the sauce is cooking, you can prepare the dough for the lasagna sheets and preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Mix all the dried ingredients.
- Mix the batter of the chickpea flour, water, and oil.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix well; At this point, you will get a mixture similar to that of a short pastry dough.
- Process the dough into a hardball – if the dough is too hard to process or too dry to form a dough ball – add water gradually; alternatively – if it sticks to your hands, add more tapioca flour gradually.
- Knead the dough for about 2-3 minutes until you get a smooth, elastic dough ball.
- Divide the dough into three equal balls (our lasagna consists of 3 layers of lasagna sheets) – knead each ball of dough for about two minutes.
- Grease a rolling pin with oil. Roll out one ball of dough on a surface powdered with a bit of potato/tapioca starch. Roll the dough as thin as possible – the goal is to reach the size of the mold (about 20X30 cm). If rolling the dough is too difficult in addition to greasing the rolling pin, spray or brush the dough with a bit of oil.
- In a small saucepan, heat oil and flour; If you choose vegan butter, melt it first and add the flour; Mix until uniform; Remove from heat.
- Add water (or broth) and mix well.
- Return to the heat and cook over medium heat until thickened.
- Remove from heat, season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and mix well.
- Place the lasagna sheet we rolled in the pan (over the tomato sauce we spread earlier)
- Put over the lasagna sheet half the amount of bolognese filling and flatten evenly.
- Roll out another ball of dough to a sheet the size of the pan and place it over the bolognese filling.
- Layover the rest of the bolognese filling and flatten.
- Roll out the third ball of dough and place it on the bolognese filling.
- Spread the tomato sauce we saved earlier on the lasagna sheet.
- Gently spread the Béchamel sauce over the tomato sauce.
- Cover the mold with aluminum foil and close/fold on the sides; Put in the center of the hot oven; Bake 45-50 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, remove the aluminum foil, sprinkle with a bit of nutritional yeast, and drizzle with a bit of olive oil; Return to the oven without a cover and bake for another 10-15 minutes – the coating does not have to become golden/brown.
- Let rest for at least 20 minutes to allow the lasagna to set; The longer you wait the better! (see notes).
- Garnish with thyme or basil leaves
- Instead of large lasagna sheets – you can cut them into strips to the standard size of lasagna sheets (10X4 cm).
- it is possible and recommended to freeze the dough for the lasagna sheets and the bolognese filling; You better prepare a double amount and divide it in half!
- You can replace Béchamel sauce with vegan mozzarella cheese; In this case, add the mozzarella only after 45 minutes of baking – after removing the aluminum foil.
- The texture and taste of the lasagna improve the next day! I took the picture the day after – so it is more set.
- If you do not adhere to gluten-free foods – you can replace soy protein with any vegan minced meat.