It was time to go from taster to maker of vegan cheese. After watching Miyoko Schinner, author of Artisan Vegan Cheese, whip up three different cheese in less than an hour...twice...I finally got the courage to get in the cheese making game. I mean I wasn't brand new. I highly recommend making vegan parmesan for true beginners. It's super easy and stores really well.
I chose to conquer ricotta because it was simple ingredients and instant gratification (no need to wait for it to culture.) Prior to trying Schinner's ricotta, the only vegan ricotta I had tried was Pizza Luce rinotta which is a vegan crowd pleaser, but doesn't really have the airy subtlety of Schinner's ricotta. This rinotta recipe packs a flavorful punch. In the pictures below you can see the ricotta is a whiter hue (lasagna) while the rinotta is more golden (pizza). After trying both, I'd say simplicity in recipe and taste wins out and go with Schinner's recipe.
Garden Harvest Lasagna
1 pkg lasagna noodles
2 batches almond ricotta (Miyoko Schinner recipe that requires soaked almonds, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic and fresh basil)
2 jars marinara
1 large zucchini
1 pkg mushrooms
1 bell pepper
2 cups greens (I mixed spinach and kale from the garden)
4 cloves of garlic
2 T fresh oregano
1 T crushed red pepper
1/2 T dried basil (or a small handful of fresh basil if you have some left after the ricotta)
1 T olive oil (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Night before start soaking your almonds for the ricotta. If you don't have a vitamix (I don't), soak the for at least 12 hours and use a blender to mix up the ricotta. Preheat oven to 375 and put a stock or large pot of water on to boil for the lasagna noodles (no shame in using no boil and skipping this step.) In your biggest fry pan or saute pan, saute in olive oil diced onions until they begin to brown (~5 minutes.) Cut up each veggie and add it to the saute as you go to save time and allow the veggies to cook according to time needed. Add veggies in this order: after onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic and let cook until the veggies give up some of their moisture, add in spices, salt and pepper and stir, add the greens and fold them in slowly (you'll have a very full pan, but the greens will cook way down.) Add a half a jar of the sauce to the veggies and put on low. If you're cooking noodles, I'd recommend cutting the time in half (usually down to 4-5 minutes from 8 minutes rec'd on the package) and cook in batches for each layer. In a 9x13 pan, spread a half cup sauce on the bottom. Add noodles, followed by half the pan of veggies and 1/3 the ricotta mixture, add the next layer of noodles and repeat, add the final layer of noodles and spread the ricotta mixture across the top of the noodles and add 1/3 to 1/2 jar of sauce based on how much you want. Cover with tinfoil and cook for 30 minutes, then uncover and cook 10 minutes. Let rest 10-15 mins before serving.
Leftover Garden Veggies Pizza
1 pkg pre-made pizza crust (We used Whole Foods organic whole wheat crusts)
1 batch "rinotta" (you could also use the the ricotta from the recipe above ...you'll have enough leftover for a pizza)
1/2-3/4 c pizza sauce (or leftover marinara from the lasagna)
fresh veggie toppings of your choice (We used spinach, mushroom, onion, broccoli, bell peppers)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Assemble the pizza with a brush of olive oil on crust, smear of red sauce, generous coat of rinotta, and load it with toppings (or not depending on your liking). Cook on tinfoil on a cookie sheet for 15 minutes or until the pizza crust and toppings begin to brown. Let sit 5 minutes before cutting.