Spicy Kale Lasagna (vegan)
I’m not sure if I’ve ever made the announcement here or not but I made a total career change this past August and have been working as a high school biology teacher.
Sometimes I forget to tell people I’m a teacher or sometimes I feel weird telling people I’m a teacher because 1) I didn’t go to school to be a teacher and 2) I’ve only been doing it for like 4 months. I’m teaching in a rural public school and am certified under sort of an emergency-certification program for high needs subject areas (science).
So that’s that. One thing that I’ve found is that my kids adore it when I tell them a story that relates to whatever school related things on which I happen to be blabbing.
Today, shortly after I caught a cheater in my class, I told my cheating story.
Yes. They all gasped just like you did. It happened in 1st grade. Ms. Waring, if you are out there, I am so sorry.
In order to prevent cheating, we even had barricades on three sides of our desks to block our vision of other kids’ papers. This was first grade, people! (I think those barriers are more important to my high school class than to a class of 5 and 6 year olds).
The test was a spelling test on all the colors. The word was orange. And I didn’t know it. What I did know was a giant cartoony poster of a fruit basket was plastered on the cinderblock wall to the right and along side pictures of the banana, apples, grapes, and yes, orange, were the names of the fruits all spelled out.
And I peeked through a small hole I found in my barrier – a hole that happened to align perfectly with the fruit poster – and cheated.
And I still remember that incident, decades later, and I still feel really guilty about it.
I happened to make this lasagna vegan because I had no cheese around but did have a box of tofu handy. You can make it either way.
I adore the garlicky-spicy flavor here and the kale is such a wonderful winter vegetable. I ate this meal for 4 consecutive meals since my husband was out of town for work and it was totally satisfying each time.
1 pound no-boil whole wheat lasagna noodles (or noodles cooked according to the package instructions)
1 1/4 pounds kale
4 cups cottage cheese or 2 8 boxes silken tofu
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
freshly ground nutmeg
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (with herbs, if available)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Fresh ground pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Prepare the kale by bringing a large pot salted water to a boil.
- Cut and remove the stems from the kale.
- Boil the kale for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.
- Using a towel, wring out as much water as possible from the kale.
- Chop it and season with salt and pepper.
- To make the tomato sauce dice 3 cloves garlic. In a cold saucepan, combine garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 scant teaspoon red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Bring to medium high heat, stirring as the mixture heats up. Saute for about 30 seconds, then add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and add vinegar.
- To make the vegan filling, mash up two boxes of silken tofu with the back of a fork. Add a hefty pinch of ground nutmeg to the filling.
- To make the low-fat dairy filling, strain out all liquid from the 4 cups cottage cheese (squeeze it in a strainer, if necessary). Add a hefty pinch of nutmeg and mix thoroughly.
- Assemble the lasagna: Place a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish. Cover the sauce with a layer of noodles, then half of the cheese mixture, half of the kale, and half of the remaining sauce. Add another layer of noodles, the remaining cheese, and the remaining kale. Top with the remaining noodles, then the remaining sauce.
- Bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 45 minute(s)