White Bean and Pumpkin Lasagna

Yield: 6 servings
Total prep time: 20 minutes
Total cooking time: 3-4 hours on low,
or 1½-2 hours on high
This lasagna is perfect for a meat eater who’d like to try a vegetarian dish. It’s easy to make and hearty. Add a nice spinach salad, and you’re all ready to have friends over for dinner.

Pumpkin-Tofu Ricotta:
1     tablespoon olive oil
3     sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated (pour boiling water over them and let them sit for 5 minutes)
1     package (15 ounces) silken, soft, or firm tofu
1     can (15 ounces) cooked pumpkin or 1½ cups pureed pumpkin, cooked fresh
¼     cup nutritional yeast
1     tablespoon Italian seasoning
1     teaspoon onion powder
2     cloves garlic, crushed
salt, to taste

Lasagna:
1     jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
about ¾ package (10 ounces) whole-wheat lasagna noodles (the regular kind, not the no-boil noodles)
1     can (14.5 ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed, or 1½ cups homemade

The Night Before

To make pumpkin-tofu ricotta: In food processor, blend olive oil and rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes until a paste forms. (There may still be some lumps.) Add remaining ricotta ingredients, and blend until creamy. Add a little water if mixture is too thick. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if desired. Store in airtight container in fridge.

In the Morning

To make lasagna: Spray crock with olive oil. Spread thin layer of sauce over bottom of slow cooker. Break off corners on one side of each noodle, so they fit snugly in slow cooker. (You can add the corners in as well.) Place single layer of noodles over sauce. Spread one third of ricotta mixture over noodles. Spread another thin layer of sauce over ricotta, and sprinkle one third of white beans on top of that. Repeat the layers two more times, ending with a last layer of lasagna noodles, and then top that with more sauce.

Cook on low 3-4 hours or on high 1½-2 hours, until a fork will easily go through the middle and pasta is al dente. Add ½ cup extra sauce or water if you need to leave it an hour or two longer.