Testing Tuesday: Trisha Yearwood’s Black Bean Lasagna

Welcome to the very first edition of Testing Tuesday where I plan on doing my very favorite thing in the world and sharing it with all of you - that would be recipe testing of course!  I guess you could call me a recipe "spectator" of sorts being that I collect cookbooks and watch cooking shows all day making tons of mental notes on which recipes I want to try and yet never do.  Well I shouldn't say that, I do make some, but only a fraction of what I would really want to.

So welcome to Testing Tuesday, where I will attempt to make creative and exciting recipes that I find in cookbooks, magazines, or on websites and give you an honest real-life review.  I'll even let you know what my family thinks too.  This could get interesting.

Trisha Yearwood has a show on the Food Network called Trisha's Southern Kitchen.  Do you watch it?  I'll be honest and admit I don't.  Sorry Trisha!  I actually came upon this recipe via my husband who got it from a coworker.  Dennis and a bunch of his work buddies are on a crazy health kick right now - green smoothies, juicing, protein shakes, the whole nine yards - but more on that later.  So long story short, a few weeks ago Dennis came home with a recipe for vegan lasagna and it sat on my nightstand until today.  SAD.

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Trisha Yearwood's Black Bean Lasagna (makes one 13"X9" pan or 12 servings)

You'll need:

  • One 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • One 12-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt, plus more for pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • Two 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 ounces lasagna noodles
  • 1 recipe of Tofu Ricotta, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  In a large saucepan, combine the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, oregano, onions and black beans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook to al dente according to package directions. Drain the noodles well.

Spread 1 cup of the prepared sauce in a 9- by 13- by 2-inch baking pan. Make three layers each of noodles, sauce and Tofu Ricotta. End with the sauce and make sure the noodles are completely covered or they will dry out during baking. Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered. Allow the dish to stand for 15 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Tofu Ricotta

You'll need:

    • 1/4 cup raw cashews, finely ground
    • 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
    • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil, or 1 tablespoon dried basil
    • Salt and pepper

Add the cashews to a food processor and grind them. Then crumble in the tofu, and add the yeast, olive oil and basil. Season with salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use. Keeps well for at least a week. Yield: about 2 1/2 cups.

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Things I liked about this recipe:

  1. It's easy.
  2. It's healthy - beans add tons of protein also the tofu which is hidden if your kids aren't into that sort of thing.
  3. It's different.
  4. It's family friendly.
  5. I was able to use no-boil lasagna noodles (not vegan though) and it came out great.
  6. I used up all of the sauce and ricotta so proportions are good.
  7. We ate almost 1/2 the pan (we're a family of four) so we have leftovers!
  8. I got to grind up cashews in the Vitamix for the first time!  Very fun!

Things I disliked about this recipe:

  1. I sauteed the onions in a little olive oil first before adding the rest of the ingredients - personal preference I guess.
  2. It came out a little dry - I'll add a little water to both the sauce and ricotta next time.
  3. The top felt like it was missing something so I drizzled on a little olive oil and sprinkled on some parmesan (not vegan.)  Oh and I added some finely chopped chives which added a nice fresh touch.

In conclusion:

This is a wonderful, different and unique lasagna recipe.  My kids both ate it.  They didn't whine or complain and ate it willingly.  Olivia (6 years old) said it was the "best lasagna she's ever had" to which my husband responded, "Have you even had lasagna before?"  Not nice daddy.  Penelope did her usual, "I'm done!" after only having 3 or 4 bites but she did sneak spoonfuls of the sauce when I was assembling so there's that.  Daddy liked it.  He had 2 servings with a whole bunch of parmesan cheese on top.  In the mood for some healthy lasagna?  Give this recipe a try!

Girl Eats Green rating: 4 out of 5

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Do you have a recipe you want me to try and maybe even blog about? (Preferably from a cookbook or website.)  Let me know in the comments below! 

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