There’s no way, no how, I’m cooking anything in this heatwave. Not for a thousand cupcakes*, would I turn on the oven. No sir.
Still, I must eat but I rarely feel like having just salad for dinner. I blame this on my mom, she believes in having a hot, cooked meal for dinner no matter what.** No excuses. I guess I do too. So I pull out my ever trusty fuzzy logic rice cooker to make lasagna. That’s right, beat the heat with rice cooker lasagna.
A little time-consuming but easy to make, as it’s mostly assembly, just like the oven-baked version only it’s in a cylindrical shape and doesn’t heat up the kitchen at all. Depending on the size of the rice cooker and the number of layers, it’s just enough for 2 to 4 servings.
Sprinkled on top is vegan cheese Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds (pictured above), I tried Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Shreds too the next time I made it (pictured below). Both melt really well and have their own particular taste. Some people prefer one over the other, I can eat both and generally just get whichever one is on sale. But if I had to pick one, I like Follow Your Heart a little better.
For the filling, I used whatever veggies I had on hand, from sautéed shiitake mushrooms to kale or spinach to assorted squashes. I also tried a version without sautéing the veggies first, just layering in thinly sliced zucchini rounds and crumbled tempeh. It’s cooked through but I prefer the pre-sautéed vegetables so much so I’ll bear firing up the wok for a few minutes.
* Those would be vegetable lasagna cupcakes of course.
** I meant to say credit. I credit my mom for me not settling for cold cereal for dinner whether it’s too hot to cook or just plain laziness.
Rice Cooker Lasagna
Serves 2. Double the tofu ricotta and increase the veggies and layers for 4 servings, but don’t go higher than the slow cook maximum level marked on the inner pot. Cooking directions is for use with a rice cooker with a 5.5 cups capacity.
Small box of no-boil lasagna noodles
A jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1/4 cup or more of your preferred cheese
2 ounces shiitake mushrooms, washed and thinly sliced
1/2 bunch of chopped kale, other vegetable such as chopped spinach or a 1/2 cup of sliced zucchini rounds
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon oil
8 ounces firm tofu with water squeezed out and crumbled
10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
To make the vegetable filling, heat a wok or sauté pan to hot. Add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds, add the kale or other vegetable and cook for a minute or so then add the mushrooms and cook for another minute until the vegetables are tender. Place in a bowl and set aside.
Next, make the tofu ricotta. Crumble about 3/4 of the tofu in a bowl, add the basil, olive oil, nutmeg, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until smooth but still slightly lumpy. Crumble in the remaining 1/4 tofu, mix to combine and set aside.
Spread a few tablespoons of sauce on the bottom of the inner pot along with a tiny bit of water. Cover with the noodles, breaking them to fit in. Cover the noodles completely with the sauce (don’t be stingy, the no-boil noodles needs it). Layer in the tofu ricotta, the veggies and a bit of sauce. Then repeat the layers ending with a layer of noodles on top covered with sauce and cheese.
Close the lid, set to the white rice setting and press the cook button. After the rice cooker beeps at you that it’s done, let it sit for at least 15 minutes or up to an hour before serving.