Some days I make something that the kids really like. They have grown to love soup night which always includes a soup made from organic, whole food ingredients. Black beans and brown rice is another frequently requested dinner. I have been known to make a wicked kid friendly stir-fry too. However, there are also those nights when I totally bomb with dinner. I made a tofu bake with veggies one night that absolutely no one, including myself, could eat. Then there was a lentil loaf that I came up with that goes down in our family history as an EPIC failure. I think we had peanut butter on toast that night.
Success and failures combined, I am still amazed that my kids went along with this new way of eating. It is completely different and they had to say goodbye to all processed foods, the traditional staple of American kids! I think honesty played a huge part in their acceptance and open minds. They saw how sick their mother was and how it impacted the whole family. When I told them that I truly believed eating this way would heal me and make me stronger, they were impacted. I used this same lesson to explain to them that eating plant foods would protect them and their father from future diseases too. Children have a capacity to understand and analyze if you give them the chance! This discussion then blossomed into the other reasons a plant based diet is so extraordinary. We talked about the impact eating local and vegan has on our world. We were also honest about the inhumanity of eating other living things and how animals are treated so badly just so people can consume them.
So today I invented this recipe with my kids in mind. I wanted them to sit down, after a long day at school, and see, smell and enjoy a fabulous dinner. I have wanted to make a gluten free lasagna for a while, but I knew it had to be carefully planned to account for the different tastes of my three kiddos. So, here is what I came up with! It looks cheesy and gooey BUT there it is TOTALLY vegan, no cheese here friends!
Two boxes gluten free no-bake lasagna noodles
1 medium onion chopped
3 medium organic potatoes peeled and grated
3 cups organic baby spinach
1/2 package gluten free/organic tempeh crumbled
28oz chopped tomatoes , I use Pompi (look for a BPA free brand like these)
water for cooking onions and potatoes
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 c organic rice milk (or other non dairy milk)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (make sure it is GLUTEN free)
2 tbs arrowroot starch (or corn starch)
2 tbs liquid aminos
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tbs lemon juice
For the lasagna filling:
In a pan, saute the onions and potatoes in water, stirring frequently and adding water when they stick to the pan. Saute until the potatoes are tender. Add the crumbled tempeh along with the spices and mix well. Saute until the tempeh is well incorporated, adding water to prevent from sticking. Lastly, add the spinach to the pan and mix well.
For the cheese sauce:
Pour the milk into a sauce pan. Heat the milk and whisk in the starch, yeast and remainder of ingredients. WHISK very frequently until thickened. Careful it doesn't come to a rapid boil and burn.
To construct the lasagna:
In a 9x13 pan spread some of the tomatoes on the bottom of the pan. Put your first row of unbaked noodles down. Spread a generous layer of the filling on top of the noodles. Drizzle the cheese sauce over top of the potato/onion/tempeh filling. Layer with more noodles and pour tomatoes over the noodles and add more filling and drizzle cheese sauce. Continue with the layering. (You won't use both boxes of noodles completely. I had to open the second box for two more noodles, so you might use 1 box and only a few from the second box depending on which brand you purchase) Top the lasagna with a layer of filling and then generously pour the rest of the cheese sauce over top.
Bake for 1 hour @ 350.
How did your transition from the SAD (standard American diet) to a plant based diet go? What kinds of dinner conversations do you have about food? Let me know if you make the lasagna and if your kiddos like it :) Peace be with you!