Virtual Thanksgiving Potluck with Underground Culinary Lab

Pumpkin Spinach Lasgna DSC_6670Thanksgiving is no longer around the corner! I hope you are having a lovely extended weekend to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. I know I will be enjoying my reading week  to catch up on courses and to recharge myself. I could not ask for a better birthday gift than a week off (p.s. tomorrow I turn 21!). A month ago I purchased a new camera lens which I am still trying to get the hang of. To make up for the lack of savoury dishes on this blog, here it is. My friends from Underground Culinary Lab (UCL) invited me to a virtual double-date potluck. Ricelessasian and Matchachoco are good friends of mine from university and also the creative masters of the UCL blog. They made a delectable pumpkin loaf and healthy pumpkin oatmeal cookies here.  Check out their blog for delicious recipes, beautiful photographs, travel and much more. Pumpkin Spinach Lasgna DSC_6702 My strategy to incorporate pumpkin into baking normally results in some form of dessert. Desserts are so fun to make and worth the extra effort. If you are looking for some delicious homey recipes, you won’t be disappointed with my vegan coconut pumpkin pie, pumpkin loaf and sweet potato pie to fit the occasion. The pumpkin sauce in the lasagna adds a light buttery flavour. Without the marinara sauce, I find the recipe missing a familiar lasagna character. Feel free to make a traditional lasagna in a rectangular pan instead of a muffin pan, more space means more layers. The order of layering is not fixed, it is all about free-styling and switching up the pumpkin sauce, marinara and spinach tofu ricotta.

Pumpkin Lasagna with Spinach Tofu “Ricotta”
Serves: 12
Adapted from Holy Cow Vegan

10 to 15 lasagna noodles
1 batch of Pumpkin Bechamel Sauce + 1 tbsp dried parsley + pinch of cinnamon + 1 tsp black pepper 1 1/2 cup marinara sauce (store-bought)

Spinach Tofu Ricotta
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch fresh spinach (15 oz)
black pepper, white pepper, dried basil and salt to taste
150g extra firm tofu + 100 g  crumbled for topping

1. Prepare the Pumpkin Bechamel Sauce and set aside.
2. Boil the lasagna noodles. Brush with olive oil after removing from water to prevent them from sticking. Cut each noodle into 4 pieces or desired length to fit into the muffin pan.
3.  Sauté all the ingredients for the Spinach Tofu Ricotta on medium high heat, except for the tofu. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the 150g of tofu. Blend until the mixture is smooth and there are no large chunks. Add more seasoning if needed.
4. In a muffin pan, brush with olive oil. Add layers of: 1 tbsp of the Pumpkin Bechamel Sauce, 1 piece of lasagna noodle, marinara sauce, lasagna, pumpkin bechamel sauce, lasagna, spinach tofu ricotta, lasagna, Pumpkin Bechamel Sauce. Sprinkle the top with crumbled tofu and season with black pepper and dried herbs.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly crispy and the centre is thoroughly heated.

Pumpking Spinach Lasgna DSC_6675. Baked sweet potato fries are a simple guilt-free indulgence. But you were warned, they get filling after a while. The cinnamon brings out the sweetness of the fries and adds to that warm Thanksgiving aroma. Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Serves: 3-4
3 medium to large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
dash of cinnamon
pinch of dried basil
pinch of oregano
pinch of black pepper

1.  Wash and cut the sweet potatoes into long rectangular pieces.
2. Combine the coconut oil, cinnamon, basil, oregano and black pepper. Pour mixture over the sweet potato.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-45 minutes or until the edges are crispy and the centres are soft. Flip them halfway during baking to make sure they cook evenly. This year I am especially thankful to have my uncle’s family and my cousins visit us for a weekend. Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for this year? 

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