I’m going to call the current season, “sprinter.” You know, winter + spring. It’s the time when one day it’s 70 degrees and the following day you have a fresh blanket of snow on the ground and want to bury yourself in a pile of blankets.
We could also call this, “soup season.” Because, even if it’s 70 degrees it’s still not too hot for a comforting bowl of soup.
I believe I’ve had this recipe on my mind for over one full year, and I’m kicking myself for just getting around to making it now. While perusing Heidi’s site the other week I noticed she made a slow cooker lasagna soup that looked outstanding and that was all the convincing I needed to finally pull the trigger.
While I didn’t whip this up in the slow cooker it’s not a difficult recipe, despite it’s lengthiness. That was mostly due to the ricotta toppings, of which you have 2 choices.
I always love coming up with ways to veganize recipes and for this recipe I wanted to show both options. I actually split the recipe in 1/2 just before it was done cooking to test that each method would work.
My favorite GF lasagna noodles are from Tinkyada. Cooking the noodles until slightly al dente and rinsing thoroughly with water will ensure the best texture and wash away the starchy residue leftover from cooking.
I love the thick, doughy quality of these noodles.
Just before the soup is done cooking you’ll blend in some of the ricotta—or, “ricotta”—mixture to add a bit of creaminess to the soup.
And then it’s all about the veggies + noodles. I kept things simple with spinach and mushrooms, but you could definitely add finely chopped kale, zucchini, eggplant, fresh tomato, etc.
From start to finish I would say this recipe took about 45 minutes. Once you have the pot of water going you can start on the soup and once the soup is simmering you can whip up the ricotta. There are only a few ingredients you’ll have to chop, so the prep time is minimal.
Definitely a warm and cozy meal, best accompanied with grilled cheese or a couple slices of avocado toast.
loosely based off Heidi’s, Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna Soup
Vegetable Lasagna Soup with Ricotta or Tofu-“Ricotta”
gluten-free, vegan option // yields 6+ servings
for the soup:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2, 28oz cans crushed tomatoes, with liquid
- 3 cups low/no-sodium vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil, loosely packed
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped oregano, loosely packed
- 8-10 cups baby spinach, loosely packed
- 2 cups sliced baby mushrooms
- 1/2 cup ricotta or tofu ricotta, recipes below
- 3/4 – 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 8-10 lasagna noodles, gluten-free if needed
for the ricotta:
- 8oz whole milk ricotta
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of salt
for the tofu ricotta:
- 1 clove garlic
- 1, 12oz block extra-firm tofu, drained and gently squeezed with a kitchen towel
- 1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6-8 fresh basil leaves
- 8-10 fresh oregano leaves
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper
Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse thoroughly with cold water to prevent sticking [helps with GF noodles especially].
While the noodles cook heat a large pot over medium heat with the olive oil. Once hot, add the onion and cook until softened and starting to brown, 7-10 minutes. Add in the garlic and stir for about 30 seconds – 1 minute, until fragrant. Slowly pour [it will spatter] the tomatoes with their liquid into the pot and stir to combine. Stir in the broth, fresh herbs, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt + pepper.
Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until consistent in texture, but not pureed. Or, pulse in batches in your blender. Return to the heat and bring to a simmer [reduce heat if needed]. Simmer for 25-30 minutes to allow the flavors to fully develop.
While the soup simmers, prepare ricotta of your choice.
For the whole milk ricotta: Combine the ricotta, parmesan, pepper, and salt in a bowl and mix with a fork until combined. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
For the tofu ricotta: Place the garlic clove in your large food processor and turn on until minced. Add in the tofu, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and salt + pepper. Turn on until smooth and fully combined. Scrape the bowl if needed. Pulse in the fresh herbs until well integrated. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Store in the fridge until ready to use.
In the last 5 minutes that the soup simmers add in 1/2 cup of either ricotta mixture and blend using your immersion blender [you could also briskly whisk it in, or combine 1 cup of the soup with the ricotta and blend in your blender, then stir back into the pot]. Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed or a pinch of red pepper flakes for spice.
Stir in the spinach and mushrooms until the spinach starts to wilt. Gently fold in 8-10 lasagna noodles 1 at a time [to prevent sticking] and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. Serve hot with a dollop of either ricotta on top, a sprinkling of fresh herbs, and red pepper flakes for a kick of heat.
notes: If you want small pieces of noodles that are easily scooped with a spoon, break the raw noodles before boiling or slice them after cooking. For a smooth broth you can fully puree before simmering if desired. If you don’t have a food processor for the tofu ricotta a brisk mashing/whisking should get the job done, but you may need to add 1 tablespoon of milk or 1 tablespoon more oil to help soften. Feel free to sub in 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes for extra flavor.
Bring it on, sprinter.
This soup + I are ready for you.