Christmas 2015 came out of nowhere – mostly because I’d just gotten back to Oklahoma after being in Ohio for several weeks, but also because the weather just wasn’t saying holiday time to me. Even so, at about 2 pm on Christmas Eve I decided Kel and I just had to have a “special” meal to celebrate the day. And it had to be lasagna.
Now, in my family, lasagna was the traditional Christmas Eve meal and my father made it. It took him days of special shopping to gather just the right ingredients and then a whole day of prep and cooking. The end result was an absolute towering monster of Italian deliciousness. Layers of noodles, slow-simmered meat sauce, spinach, mozzarella, Parm, ricotta, green olives, slices of hard-boiled eggs and spicy Italian sausage baked to browned-on-top perfection. We ate until our stomachs were bursting. And the leftover ‘zagna? – fuggetaboudit! – we couldn’t wait for the next day to get into it. So it was kind of madness (with a touch of hubris) for me to think I could create a decent lasagna at the last minute. But this post isn’t really about that lasagna, delicious as it was.
It’s about soup – and how soup makes meal time a whole hell of a lot of easy. Lasagna soup has all of the rich flavor of the classic bake but because it’s prepared in a pressure cooker, it’s ready to eat in under 30 minutes – and no layering! You can pare down the prep even a bit more by using Field Roast sausage or other plant-based Italian sausage substitute instead of making it. (But really, it’s dead simple, and if you do decide to make your own, you’ll need a cup of Butler Soy Curls.) The ingredient list looks ridiculously long, but there are a lot of herbs and spices in this dish, so don’t be intimidated! Speaking of spices, do not skip the fennel seed and anise seed in this recipe – their flavors are absolutely imperative to getting that classic Oliverio lasagna/sausage flavor.
*You can absolutely make this on your stove-top as well. Just follow the instructions below, simmering the soup until the noodles are tender.
All the rich flavors of (labor intensive!) slow-cooked lasagna with a fraction of the hands-on time. Plant-based and oil-free.
For the sausage
- 1 cup soy curls
- Boiling water
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. rosemary
- 1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp. anise seeds
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- sprinkle red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup (or a bit more) dry red wine
For the soup
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped into small pieces
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. rosemary
- 1/2 tsp. anise seed
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seed
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
- sprinkle red pepper flakes
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
- 2+ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 28-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes (or crushed)
- 1 15-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
- ~4 cups kale or other sturdy green, cut or torn into small pieces
- 1 cup (about 5) lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces
Prepare the sausage
- Place the soy curls in a glass bowl. Pour enough boiling water over them to cover. (If you want to get extra fancy, add a pinch of black pepper and a splash of red wine.) Let curls sit for about 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
- Warm a skillet (preferably well-seasoned cast iron) over medium heat. Add the soy curls and then – leave them alone! Let them brown before turning/scraping them up. Add a splash of water, wine, or vegetable broth if they stick. Continue to brown the soy curls until they have lovely crispy edges. Now stir in the garlic and the spices, cooking for about 1 minutes before adding 1/4 of the red wine. Stir and let the wine cook off before adding more. The soy curls will be very fragrant and boast a nice deep red-brown. Continue to cook until you’ve used up all of the red wine. Then set the “sausage” aside until you need it for the soup.
Prepare the soup
- Set the pressure cooker to (low) sauté. Add a splash of water or broth and cook the onion, carrot, and celery until beginning to soften. Don’t let the pot dry out – keep adding water or broth as necessary. Add the remaining ingredients and set the cooker to manual pressure (make sure you have the vent set to “sealing”) and the time to 10-15 minutes. Once the cooking has finished, let the cooker depressurize naturally.
- Open, stir, taste and adjust seasonings. You can either stir in the “sausage” or when serving, sprinkle some on top of each bowl of soup. Further adorn the soup with vegan Parm is you are so inclined.
- Reader feedback reports that this cooks up in about 10 minutes – not the longer amount I originally stated. Let the cooker depressurize “naturally.”
- Break the lasagna noodles into pretty small pieces – they really expand as they cook.
- Serving Size: 6
- Calories: 180
- Sugar: 7
- Sodium: 2794
- Fat: 1
- Saturated Fat: 0
- Unsaturated Fat: 1
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 34
- Protein: 9
- Cholesterol: 0