The plan was vegetable lasagna, based on a recipe from the book The Vegan Cheat Sheet by Amy Cramer and Lisa McComsey, with a side dish of spinach, and a mixed green salad with Dr. Barnard's Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette. (Note: the book underestimates the amount of filling you need, in my view, so below I upped the amount of cauliflower relative to the book. We found out the hard way that we ran out of the white filling too soon.)
This is a very lovely #WFPB (Whole Foods, Plant-Based) dinner. And the #not62 health campaign in the Bronx would not be the same without it! The people of the Bronx are learning.
The Menu - RecipesNote: these quantities were for 9 people. You can adjust them accordingly. Out of our $15 grocery money we only spend about $9, so in all there was an $6.00 refund.
To begin with, here is the salad dressing:
Dr. Barnard's Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette
Tomato Sauce (Red)
- Cut up the onions fine, and start dry-roasting them in the pan
- add the peppers, cut up, and stir it up
- add the garlic (first flatten it and cut it fine) and stir it up
- add the carrots (match stick cut) and stir it up
- add the mushrooms, sliced (note the mushrooms yield a lot of moisture) and stir it up
- when these ingredients start to get soft and feel cooked, add the tomatoes and stir it up
- let simmer, and finish with Liquid Aminos to taste
- make it smooth with an immersion blender
Spinach side dish
Lasagna filling (White)2 14 Oz packs of Silken Tofu
5-6 cups of steamed cauliflower
When the cauliflower is soft, add the tofu, and make a smooth sauce with a stick blender.
3 yellow squash sliced
3 zucchini sliced
Building the Lasagna2 12 Oz packs of Whole Wheat Lasagna, or 3 packs if they are 9 Oz
some nutritional yeast
(Note: this was the fun part, doing it assembly style... We used 2 12 Oz boxes of Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Wheat Lasagna - note: it is available next door, at Chang-Li Supermarket. More and more supermarkets are starting to carry it.)
Preheat the oven to 425 F
- start with a layer of pasta sauce
- layer whole wheat lasagna strips in the sauce (typically 3 strips make one layer)
- layer on the white filling
- make a layer of sliced squash/zucchini
- repeat until the pan is full, finish with a layer of red sauce on top.
The salad is obviously colorful.
The main dish is red/white, with a side of green.
For topping, you can sprinkle on some nutritional yeast
ConclusionsThe above is a very complete and satisfying meal. And, it was fun to build with the group, even though this time we went far over schedule, mainly because I started too late to make the pasta sauce and the Cauliflower/tofu filling in advance.
The point of the exercise however, remains, that in the spirit of the Suppers program, this is all about home cooking, and about creating a mutual support mechanism on a local level. Audelle has been doing Suppers meetings at her home in Throgs Neck for a long time, but doing this at the St. Helena's school cafeteria enables a slightly larger group.
Meanwhile, the idea of sharing the grocery bill, also teaches us that a very healthy and abundant Whole Foods Plant-Based meal can be made on a budget. In this case, we came out to $9 per person. The highest we ever did was $11.50 per person, but it seems that we can typically do these productions for under $10 pp in groceries. You can do it for less, or you can spend more. In the long term you are reducing your medical expenses and nearly completely eliminates the need for any supplements. In this case we added chia seeds and milled flax seed to the salad for Omega-3s and as long as you keep that in mind, the only supplement you should ever need is a vitamin B12 every other day.
If you think about it, the degenerative diseases which consume 86% of our healthcare expenditure, are diseases of affluence and can largely (ca 75%) be prevented or largely reversed with the Whole Foods, Plant-Based diet. It produces such nutritional abundance that the mere thought of supplements is silly. On top of that, there is more and more evidence that isolated supplements are not absorbed as well by the body, or even absorbed at all, as nutrients which are consumed as part of a whole foods diet. In some cases, supplements can even be toxic.