Sunday, April 12, 2009

April 6, 2009: Tempeh lasagne

When I first suggested lasagne for dinner recently, Cindy plied me with more options than I could begin to take in. I opted for the first on the list, the eggplant lasagne rolls, but I had my eye on the tempeh lasagne that Anni and Heikki over at Tofu for Two raved about. It's a different beast to the eggplant rolls, going for a much meatier and more traditional filling. The tempeh soaks up the salty and smoky flavours from the soy sauce and liquid smoke and, by the time it's all been mushed together with onions, garlic, tomatoe sauce and basil, you've got yourself a filling that would satisfy even the meatiest meat-eater. The vegan version of the white sauce was also a success, with the nutritional yeast and lemon juice giving a bit of flavour to an otherwise fairly plain nut-based mush.

Between the white-sauce and the filling, there's a fair bit of work involved (it helped that we had some tomato sauce leftover from the eggplant rolls), and if I were doing it again, I'd probably up the tempeh filling a bit and cut down the amount of white sauce. Still, this was another astounding success, and satisfied us both for days of delicious lunches. So within two weeks we've gone from having no particularly exciting lasagne recipes to having cooked up two of the most deliciously satisfying lasagne recipes known to man. And they're both vegan! I'm still trying to decide which one is my favourite - we'll have to make them both again to help me choose.

Tempeh Lasagne with Cashew Cream Sauce

250g lasagne sheets

The tempeh filling
2 cups tomato sauce (we still had some of this left from last time)
2 finely chopped onions
200g tempeh
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Chop the tempeh into tiny little mince-sized cubes and then heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the cubes for around ten minutes - they should start turning golden brown.

Add in the soy sauce and liquid smoke and fry until the liquid has either been soaked up by the tempeh or has evaporated.

Take the tempeh out of the pan and use it to fry up the onions for ten or fifteen minutes - until they're completely soft and delicious. Add in the basil, the tomato sauce and the seasonings and simmer for as long as it takes you to make the cashew cream sauce. Once you're almost ready to build your lasagne you can throw the tempeh back in and stir it through the tomato sauce mix.

Cashew cream sauce

3 tablespoons nuttelex
1/4 cup flour
1 cup cashews and 100ml oat milk
900 ml oat milk
1/3 - 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt

Blend up the cashews with the 100ml of oat milk in a food processor to get a thick paste.

Melt the nuttlex in a saucepan over medium heat and then add the flour, whisking it through the butter. Fry for a few minutes, whisking almost constantly and then gradually add the rest of the oat milk while whisking to keep everything as smooth as possible.

Once all the oat milk is in the saucepan, bring the mix to the boil and simmer for ten minutes or so - until it all starts to thicken up a bit. When it's almost as thick as you want it, add in the pre-ground cashew cream and the yeast flakes and stir everthing together well. Simmer for another five minutes or so and then finish things off with the pepper, lemon juice and salt.

To create your actual lasagne, layer up the two sauces with lasagne sheets - we went with a fairly ad hoc ordering - I think the main thing is to put some of the tempeh mix on the very bottom and to finish things up with the cashew sauce on top. As I said earlier, I'd rejig this slightly next time so that we have more of the tempeh and a bit less cashew cream - we were spreading the tempeh pretty thin by the time we were on our last layer.

Once it's all assembled, bake in a 200 degree oven for about half an hour - until the top layer browns nicely.


  1. sounds like you need to hold a vegan lasagne potluck - now that would be intense :-)

  2. That looks SO good!
    I've only cooked tempeh once or twice before cause I'm a little bit scared of it and don't ever know what I'm supposed to do with it, but this looks like a good recipe to finally break on through.

  3. We're so glad you liked our lasagne! Nice to discover your blog too, impressive archives!

  4. Whoah, Johanna - what an idea! Will have to put my mind to dessert lasagnes. :-D

    wantingkneading, I think this'd be a great way to get back into tempeh. It can often be a bit dry, and crumbling it into the tomato sauce here avoids that issue completely.

    Lovely to have you visit, Heikki! I think this recipe will become a winter regular here.

  5. I love the idea of you and Michael sitting at your respective works, emailing recipes back and forwards, looking forward to dinner. I also love the look of that lasagne.

  6. Ok, I have to admit this. I have never made lasagne. I feel ashamed.

  7. Never, Lisa? Well, this would be a perfect recipe with which to start! Regardless of the recipe, make sure you have plenty of time and are not already hungry when you begin. :-)

  8. dessert lasagne sounds amazing - I have had chocolate pasta once and would love to try making dessert pasta (have an orange recipe to try some day)

  9. Orange pasta? I love the idea of that, even more than chocolate! Definitely with a ricotta or cashew cream layer. :-)

  10. I'm being lazy and having just the tempeh bit on top of pasta tonight. Yummo!