Rip Esselstyn developed the “Engine 2 Diet” plan for a team of Texas firefighters, who were overweight and suffered from high cholesterol and high blood pressure. He found that eliminating meat and dairy (including chicken and fish, milk and cheese) from his diet, helped him and his team lose weight, lower their cholesterol numbers and turn the tide on high blood pressure.
He wrote The Engine 2 Diet: The Texas Firefighter’s 28-Day Save-Your-Life Plan that Lowers Cholesterol and Burns Away the Pounds to share his insights with the world.
I used to be a die-hard 3 meals a day with meat kind of gal. Well, maybe not breakfast with meat everyday, but still. I would make up for it later in the day. Heck, the post before this one is a burger with cheese. But I bring you this recipe because it is as satisfying as any meal I’ve had with meat, including meat lasagne, and packs more veggies per serving than any dish I’ve ever prepared. Talk about sneaking in veggies in your kids’ meals. This recipe does that in spades.
Dr. Oz endorsed this eating plan on his show in February 2010, just about the time my husband and I started exploring the benefits of a vegan diet. The timing was perfect. This is a great meal to transition effortlessly to a diet that treads more lightly on the earth and on your body.
In the photograph above, I have not yet sprinkled the top with the ground cashews, because that step occurs after you’ve baked it for 45 minutes. It’s amazing how the cashews successfully take the place of mozzarella cheese.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 head broccoli, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 can corn, rinsed and drained
- 1 package firm tofu
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 2 jars pasta sauce
- 2 boxes whole grain lasagna noodles
- 16 oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
- 6 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin
- 1 cup raw cashews, ground
- Preheat oven to 400 ° F.
- Saute the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liquid. Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan.
- Saute the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl. Saute the peppers and corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to them to the vegetable bowl.
- Drain the tofu by wrapping in paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl. Add spices to the vegetable bowl and combine.
- Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch casserole with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy.
- Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles. Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce.
- Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles. Cover the spinach with the mashed sweet potatoes. Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce.
- Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced Roma tomatoes. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cashews, and return to the over for 15 minutes.
- Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.
This post is part of Real Food Wednesdays hosted by KellyTheKitchenKop.com.