Rice Cooker Lasagna

Rice Cooker Lasagna

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.

Rice Cooker Lasagna

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

Tofu Ricotta
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.

Related Posts
Rice Cooker Vegan Frittata
Sticky Rice Bowl

Kokio Republic Tofu Balls and a Moffle Waffle

Kokio Republic Tofu Balls and Fries

This is what summer should be made of – a beautiful, not-too-hot, not-too-cold day in San Francisco, sitting on a Japantown curb eating tofu balls and fries from Kokio Republic, a Korean fried chicken food truck at the Nihonmachi Street Fair.

Pictured is the number 5 combo: 3 tofu balls, garlic fries and a drink for 12 bucks. Great flavor and texture inside with a mildly sweet glaze on its crispy outside. The deep-fried tofu balls are made with shiitake mushrooms, bell peppers, roasted flaxseeds and topped with a soy garlic sauce, veggie mayo and parsley. It’s marked vegetarian on the menu but I asked and it’s also vegan.

Kokio Republic Tofu Balls

The super nice order taker knew enough to leave off the cheese on the fries to make them vegan too. My fries didn’t come with any garlic but maybe it was mixed with the cheese and got left off. It didn’t matter much as the fries were perfectly fine on their own.

I shared a couple of bites of a tofu ball and the fries with little omnivore foodies and got a big thumb’s up all around. After scouting out all the different food options at the street fair, everyone got what they wanted for lunch at different vendors and no one had to compromise on where to eat.

Vegan Banana Cream Moffle Waffle

For dessert, Moffle Waffle, a waffle made out of mochi. It’s been years since I’ve last eaten a waffle, making the moffle with its crunchy exterior and chewy interior, a rare and extra fun treat.

They had a vegan Moffle combo right there on the menu – Vegan Banana Cream – banana with chocolate sauce and coconut whip, regular size for $7. You can also create your own combo, the moffle and a number of different toppings are clearly marked vegan and gluten free.

Vegan Banana Cream Mochi Waffle

I was pretty stuffed after polishing off that moffle. Nothing like stuffing your face with fried food and a dessert waffle at a summer street fair in the city by the bay.

Related Posts
Ramen Yamadaya SF Japantown
San Francisco’s Underdog
Vegan Eating at the Home of the SF Giants

A Notable Bite of Orange Crumb Cake

Vegan Orange Crumb Cake
No matter how many times it happens, it’s still a thrill to stumble across vegan treats when you least expect it.* This time it’s at the downtown Palo Alto farmer’s market. I was moseying along the various booths, when I came upon Notable Bites and their display of crumb cakes and shortbread.

As usual, I automatically ask, “is it vegan?” All of the crumb cakes are, sadly the shortbread are not, they’re still working on veganizing that recipe. I got the orange crumb cake, piled high with a sweet crumb topping that was a 1/4-inch thick. The cake itself isn’t overly sweet but nice, fluffy and light. And it was a pretty good size too, at 3.5-inch x 2-inch x 2-inch for 5 bucks.

Vegan Orange Crumb Cake
They also have gluten-free crumb cakes as a diy baking mix for those with allergies, it’s also egg, dairy, nut and soy free. Turns out the already baked gluten-free version dried out by the time it got to the farmer’s market. Rather than serve a less than optimal product, they offer the baking kits complete with its own baking pan.

I don’t really eat crumb cake all that often, but something about it seemed vaguely familiar. It took me awhile to remember since it was so long ago. But before I was vegan, I loved the coffeecake at Hobee’s, a small SF Bay Area chain restaurant known for their world-famous blueberry coffeecake. They had a location in San Luis Obispo way back when I was in college (since closed). But what a nostalgic treat to have stumbled across Notable Bites. Now I can have my crumb cake and eat it too.

* Remember when this happen with the spinach bolani?