Plant-based Spinach Lasagna

Plant-based Spinach Lasagna with Non-Dairy Ricotta
Preheat the oven to 350°F

FOR THE TOFU RICOTTA:
1 pound fresh water-packed firm tofu
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ cup nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup soy milk
4 tablespoons of vegan pesto (optional)
To make the ricotta, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until fairly smooth. Place into bowl, and set aside.

FOR THE LASAGNA:
Tofu Ricotta (above)
1−2 pounds fresh spinach, lightly steamed until wilted
8 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles
7 cups fat-free pasta sauce – I use homemade marinara with small amount of tomato paste for thickness
Top with vegan cheese

To assemble the lasagna, spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Then cover the sauce with a layer of noodles. Next, spread half of the ricotta mixture and half of the spinach over the noodles, and top with 2 more cups of the sauce. Add another layer of noodles, the rest of the tofu mixture and spinach, 2 cups more of the sauce, and the rest of the noodles. Spoon the remaining 2 cups of sauce over the noodles (make sure you cover all the edges. Top with non diary cheese.

Bake for 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 30 minutes before cutting.

Note: This recipe may be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. Add about 15 minutes to the baking time. (Source: Adapted from Forks Over Knives)

Let your buddhi guide the way!

I have never been a regular meat eater. For most of my life, including my childhood, I avoided anything to do with meat (and that includes chicken, yes, chicken is meat). About four years ago, I gave it up completely. The only real way that I used to consume meat was if it was in something that someone prepared for me, or if I was out and there were very few options (I’ve learned a lot since then). When I started studying holistic nutrition, I learned that meat and meat products might not be the best thing for my body.

I also study Ayurveda which teaches that meat takes significantly more energy to digest than other foods. As a runner, who the heck needs slow digestion? I need all the energy I can get, and I don’t want anything I consume to get in the way of nutrient absorption.  Eating meat was an invitation to gut issues, inflammation, and frankly, it just made me a little queasy. Especially raw chicken!!! Plus, seriously people, your poop is irregular at best when you eat a lot of meat. Think pebbles or stones….or no poop at all. Ug. How awful. In Sanskit, we think of bowel function in terms of downward flow or downward prana (life-force). The Sanskit term for this is apana vayu. Whatever you call it, we all need downward flow and it should be easeful, not painful.

A friend told me about Forks Over Knives and it was meat-game OVER.  Thank you, Shannon!

Now I constantly hear arguments about the benefits of eating meat over a plant-based diet. I don’t want to argue. What you eat, what you purchase, support, and consume is your business. My choice is simply to not eat meat or support businesses that contribute to what I consider not healthy, not good for the environment, and certainly, NOT GOOD for the animals. I promote a plant-based lifestyle. I will not argue, but I will always support (as will you for YOU) what I believe to be good for me and my family physically, environmentally, and ethically. This is also what I teach in my classes. No one is required to do as I do, but I try my darnedest. And as Elizabeth, a member in one of my courses said to me, “let’s just agree to disagree”.  Yep, good deal. And thank you for that, Elizabeth. I like your style.

Not all the decisions I’ve made in this life have been good. Wow, now that’s an understatement and a topic for another blog post and a bottle of wine! Ask my family and friends. No, on second thought….please don’t.  Moving on… But this decision was a good one and I continue to be grateful every day for that decision. In making that decision, I was inspired by buddhi, the Sanskit term that roughly translates to “…our higher intelligence which has access to expanded awareness on one hand and the data from our lived experience on the other” (translation by Cate Stillman).

And this is the point I wanted to make in this blog post. Today we have SO much information available to us. We can hop on the internet and use Dr. Google (thanks to Wendy who says something like this) to find answers to all our questions. But what we find on the internet (or wherever) needs to be balanced by our instincts, our true motivations or aspirations, and what we believe to be true for us (me, my family, you, your family, your world).  I chat with people all the time who know exactly what they SHOULD do to be healthy, or happy, or satisfied, or fill-in-the-blank. But we are people. We are messy people and we are influenced by so many forces out there. Often, we make poor decisions that impact our health, our ethics, our jobs, our families, our safety, our environment.

At our family cottage up north, on the inside bathroom door, we have a poster of common-sense mottos and sayings (it’s seriously been there for 35 years and when you sit on the toilet, you can read and reread the litany of sayings. It’s quite entertaining). My favorite is TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS, THEY ARE ALWAYS RIGHT. So go with your gut. Sure, read up, do your research, listen to other people’s opinions, and then do what your gut tells you to do, if it is responsible and will make you whole. When you are out of alignment with your true self, and your deep wisdom, you will make poor decisions.  Let your buddhi guide the way. Namaste!