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Sunday, December 28, 2003

Tuscan Cooking, Light and Healthy 

Tuscan cooking is characterized by simple food, not covered in heavy sauces made of butter or cream. Cooking is done with olive oil and fresh natural herbs like sage, rosemary and basil. Olive oil is the base for most salad dressings, drizzled over warm bread, used in soups and stews and 'Lasagna'

Tuscan Spinach Lasagna

Excerpt from: A Vegetarian Cooks' Book, The Green Cutting Board Press, 2003


8 ounces lasagna pasta (8 sheets), uncooked*
2 Cups of fresh spinach hand torn to prevent bruising
1 6 oz bottle of marinated artichoke hearts drained (reserve the liquid)
1 Small onion sliced thin
1 small red pepper diced
2 ounces of sliced green olives
8 ounces button mushrooms sliced
1 Tbls chopped garlic
4 Tbls extra virgin olive oil
4 ounces Parmesan soy cheese grated
4 ounces Romano soy cheese grated
4-5 leaves of fresh basil torn
pinch of rosemary


Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Mix the two cheeses and set aside. Sauté sliced onions and garlic in 2 Tbls olive oil until soft, add the diced red pepper and reserve liquid from the artichoke hearts cook for about 2-3 minutes covered at medium low setting, you don't want to let the onions over cook. Turn the heat to simmer and add the artichoke hearts, spinach and olives, stir, re-cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat.

In a 4" x 4" x 8" oven proof glass baking dish start with a ¼ cup of the sauté mixture and layer two overlapping sheets of dry lasagna pasta and cover with 1/3 cup of the sauté, 1/3 cup of the cheese mixture and a drizzle of olive oil. Repeat the process ending with the last of the sauce and cheese mixture on top. Place covered in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese has bubbled and browned slightly.

Serves 4

*Uncooked, the lasagna pasta does not have to be pre-cooked or boiled, the liquid from the relatively wet sauce will soften the pasta in the oven. This recipe is not only Vegan but good for the environment; energy saving.


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