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Cook the Book: Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta and Spinach

With its layers of pasta, vegetables, tomato sauce, and cheese, vegetarian lasagna is a no-brainer for feeding the meatless set. But is lasagna a dish that can be translated into the realm of vegan-dom? Or is the cheese part of lasagna's integral appeal?

I decided to see just how well cheese-less lasagna would go over by testing out this recipe for Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta and Spinach from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Appetite for Reduction. Moskowitz uses a clever combination of whipped tofu and roasted cauliflower mixed with nutritional yeast and lemon juice to stand in for creamy ricotta. Sure, the combination sounds like the work of some sort of crazy vegan made scientist, but there was something decidedly cheesy about this so-called cauliflower ricotta. The texture was lumpy-creamy like real ricotta, and the yeast and lemon gave it a cheese-like tang. The usual layer of salty Parmesan that graces the top of the lasagna was replaced with salty black olives, a genius move if you ask me. The oil-cured ones that I used even had a slight nuttiness on par with that of a good Parmesan

Moskowitz opted to forgo vegan cheese substitutes in favor of real food and real flavors for all of the recipes in this book, and I have to commend her. This vegan lasagna might not be the lasagna that dairy eaters are accustomed to, but the flavors are bright and creative. There's something really wonderful about olives and cauliflower standing in for ricotta and Parmesan.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Appetite for Reduction to give away this week.

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction. Copyright © 2010. Published by Da Capo Lifelong Books. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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