I’m asked all the time if I can share recipes. The thing is, I’m not a food blogger and there are so many great ones out there, that I don’t feel like there is a need for my recipes 🙂
Occasionally there is a recipe, I feel compelled share. Usually, because it’s food sensitivity compliant, as in GF, dairy free etc.… or it carries special meaning for me.
Enter Tofu Lasagna. I know it doesn’t sound like a recipe you’d run to try out, but it’s yummy, nutritious, and the reason I feel in I want to share it is because of the sentimental value it holds for me.
Of course, a little background and context is in order. I thank you for indulging me the space to share a part of my history.
As you may know, I grew up in San Antonio, Texas. My parents established the Chabad Jewish center for Life and Learning over 35 years ago. I loved growing up in Texas and I loved growing up in a home that was dedicated to service and community. One of the challenges though was Jewish schooling. When I turned 13 and needed/wanted to be in an atmosphere where my peers were like me (in their traditional Jewish values) and where I would be able to grow in my Judaic studies, my parents had to make the hard decision to send me out of town for school. Side note: now that I’m a parent living in a place with no Jewish schooling, I get to appreciate how hard this was for them.
So, I left home at the age of 13, heading to Chicago for 8th grade. I did not know any Chicagoans, and I was going into a class that had been together for all of elementary school. I am an introvert, not to be confused with shy…but it is hard for me to be in overwhelming social situations even with people I know, never-mind trying to find my place amongst a bunch of 13-year who’ve known each other for ten years prior… I am so lucky that my class was awesome, and I made friends quickly.
A few days before Rosh Hashana, a girl in my class, Dena Lubin invited me to her house to study for a test. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity! I look back at that moment and I get emotional when realize that that was the start of not only an amazing friendship, but the Lubin’s becoming my home away from home for the next five years.
I remember everything from that first night, what we had for dinner (Yom Tov chicken soup, which remains a joke until today). The conversations we had and we did actually study, and if you know me, then you know that that’s quite the accomplishment. Only Dena could get me to study, we are quite opposite :). She’s studious to my impatience, she’s tall to my shortness, she’s calm to my crazy. You would never imagine us being friends, but it couldn’t be more perfect. How did she get me to study you might ask? bribes, snack-break bribes like a 2-year-old, but hey it worked. Point being, that it’s really hard for me to explain in words how from the second I walked through the front door of their house, I felt at home. That was it, it wasn’t like I gradually became more comfortable and started to spend more time there. It was like I went the first night and I was part of the family. Dr. and Mrs. Lubin just welcomed me, embraced me and honestly, I have no idea why. I could count on them for everything. I don’t know what my experience would’ve been like, living so far away from home at such a young age, without them.
There was one year that I ate dinner at the Lubin’s every night. I boarded in a suburb of Chicago, a half-hour away from school, so logistically it made sense for me to go home with Dena until I could get picked up.
Mrs. Lubin was an awesome cook, I loved everything she made, and I use many of her recipes. The tofu lasagna is one of them 🙂
Mrs. Lubin passed away a few years ago; way too young, way too soon. Even though I graduated high school 20 years ago, and I didn’t see her often, she was such a huge part of my life at such an important time and that connection and love never faded. I find myself cooking her recipes more often these days, I don’t know, I can’t really explain it, but it brings me comfort and it feels like a warm hug.
So, Mrs. Lubin this is for you! There is nothing you liked more than people enjoying your delicious food. I think you’ll love that people all over the world are going to be eating and enjoying your Tofu Lasagna!
Don’t forget about us up there, we need all the help we can get 🙂
Without further delay, here is the recipe. I did make a few adjustments to accommodate GF.
Yields – 9×13 and 9×9
Bake on 350 for about an hour (covered if you’re using no bake noodles)
2 boxes GF jovial lasagna noodles, these are my favorite by far! https://amzn.to/3xcpQWY
2 jars tomato sauce
2 lbs. frozen spinach- water squeezed out
3 lbs. firm tofu- I prefer organic but not necessary
½ cup lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup
1 Tbs salt
3 Tbs oil
4 tsp basil
1 tsp garlic powder
¼ cup nutritional yeast (optional)
Sautee onions until light brown, add drained spinach and continue cooking for a few min. Blend the rest of the ingredients in food processor till smooth. Layer bottom of the pan with sauce followed by lasagna noodles then tofu mixture and repeat. Ending with sauce.
I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into some of my teenage years. This post means a lot to me and is so much more than just a recipe.
Food is a beautiful way to make memories, show love and create precious stories.
I hope the recipes I share can contribute to that.