Saturday, April 16, 2011

Grilled Vegetable and Tofu "Lasagna" with Pesto

Grilled Vegetable and Tofu "Lasagna" with Pesto

Martha Stewart Living, March 2011
  • Yield Serves 6


  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 strips lemon zest (1 by 4 inches), plus 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons)
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 package (14 ounces) extra-firm tofu, sliced lengthwise 1 inch thick
  • 5 or 6 zucchini and yellow summer squashes (about 2 1/2 pounds), trimmed, and sliced lengthwise about 1/4 inch thick
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 18 large basil leaves


  1. Make the marinade: Heat oil, lemon zest, and garlic in a small saucepan until bubbling around the edges. Remove from heat, and let cool completely. Stir in lemon juice. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  2. Make the pesto: Puree pine nuts and garlic in a food processor until a paste forms. Add basil, and pulse to combine. With machine running, pour in oil through feed tube until pureed. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat grill to medium. Assemble the "lasagna": Arrange tofu on a double layer of paper towels. Cover with another double layer of paper towels, then cover with a baking sheet. (Weigh it down with 2 cans or something else equally heavy.) Let stand for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, brush zucchini and squash slices with oil, and season with 2 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Grill, flipping occasionally, until softened and slightly charred, about 8 minutes. Remove from grill. Whisk marinade, and drizzle half of it generously over zucchini and squash slices.
  5. Repeat with tofu and remaining marinade, flipping occasionally, until nicely charred, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly. Slice tofu horizontally into 1/8-inch-thick sheets (they will be layered, so don't worry if they fall apart).
  6. Lay 3 slices each of zucchini and squash on a platter to form a 6 1/2-by-8-inch rectangle. Spread 3 tablespoons pesto over tops. Cover with a layer of tofu, and season with salt and pepper. Top with a layer of tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Top with 6 large basil leaves. Repeat layering twice (zucchini and squash, pesto, tofu, tomatoes, basil). Serve cold or at room temperature.

Cook's Note

Pesto can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Bring to room temperature before using. Assembled "lasagna" can be refrigerated overnight.

This recipe is definitely a good thing! I could eat this a few times a month and I would not get sick of it.  The flavors blend well together and the tofu provides a healthy alternative to meat. Vegetarian or not, don't miss out on this meal.  If you have not yet experimented with tofu, why not start with this?  Grilling is easy, fast and simple, especially for you tofu-virgins out there.  A few of you have asked me about how to use tofu in your cooking.  My suggestion is to start here.  Grilled, extra-firm tofu is one of my fav things.  Mix it with some grilled veggies...especially local or you're talking!

Photo Gallery

The heirloom squash is from our garden last year.  I love putting up food in the late summer and then pulling it out of our deep freezer as needed. 
Heirloom zucchini from our garden last year.
As you can see, it thaws out nicely.
Yummy tomatoes...not from our garden.
The lemon zest and olive oil infusion.
Pretty sliced tomatoes.
Roasted pine nuts...they are so good.  Expensive as hell, but tasty.
Grilling the zucchini on a long, flat grill that fits on top of our stove.
The grilled zucchini.
The pesto layer with with the pine nuts, olive oil and lemon zest infusion.
Tomato layer.
Keep stacking like Jenga and then top with fresh basil, salt and pepper.
Gabriel was a little concerned about the quantity of fresh veggies. Some kids might not be too thrilled at the "greenness".  My opinion is that we have to get kids used to eating healthy now or else we lose the ability to do so as they age.  We've got to start somewhere.  Even thought I spotted several little frowny faces, dinner was served as-is. 

~Dinner Was Served~

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