Recipe: Martian Lasagna


Today marks the 3rd season finale of the sci-fi series The Expanse, and while I am both excited to see it, and sad that I'll have no new episode to watch next week, I do take some solace in the fact that I will be getting new episodes at some point in the future.  Mid-way through this season, it looked like it was going to be the show's last, when Syfy announced that they would not be picking up the show for a 4th season.  Luckily a fan campaign rallied the troops and helped find a home for the series on Amazon. 

My own devastation when I thought the show was ending did at least have the positive effect of getting some of my friends curious enough to start watching.  A few of them have caught up on the whole thing and we'll be getting together this evening for an Expanse-themed dinner and viewing party.  Keep an eye out for an Expanse-themed cocktail created by Sugared Nerd contributor Casie in the following days.


I, of course, turned to one of my favorite scenes in the show for inspiration, when Alex calls the crew of the Rocinante into the dining area for an "emergency", because he decided they all needed to hang out and eat a family dinner.  He serves a lasagna based on an old family recipe, but without certain ingredients available to them in the Mariner Valley, they apparently had to take some liberties.  No wheat, no cheese, no tomatoes.  Well, a vegan, gluten-free, tomato-free lasagna sounds like a fun challenge to me.

I'll be honest, the no-cheese rule was the hardest part for me.  My favorite lasagnas are just a a vessel for plenty of ricotta and mozzarella.  But I know from some of my vegan friends that nutritional yeast lends things a nice cheesy flavor (I believe I once heard it referred to as "nature's cheeto dust").  So I added plenty to my faux-ricotta and sauce and I think it worked pretty well. 

Alex Kamal's Lasagna

For the Faux cheese sauce


1/2 cup King Arthur gluten-free multi-purpose flour

2/3 cup nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

4 cups almond milk

for the faux ricotta

1 lb. firm tofu

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon basil


1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

olive oil

For the Lasagna

Faux Cheese Sauce

Faux Ricotta

2 roasted red peppers*, sliced

1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

Gluten Free Lasagna Pasta Sheets, prepared according to package directions


To make the Cheese Sauce

In a medium saucepan, off heat, combine the gluten-free flour, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic powder. Add 1/2 cup almond milk and stir until until well-combined.  Add the remaining almond milk and cider vinegar and heat over medium, stirring, until the sauce has thickened (it should be able to coat the back of a spoon).  Set aside.

To make the Ricotta

Combine tofu, garlic powder, basil, oregano, nutritional yeast, salt and vinegar in a blender or food processor and pulse until they are a ricotta-like consistency.  If mixture has trouble blending, stream in some olive oil until it comes together.

To make the Lasagna

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat and add your onion and garlic.  Cook until translucent, then add spinach and salt and cook just a minute more to combine.

Spray your lasagna pan with non-stick spray.  Add a layer of cheese sauce to the bottom of the pan.  Top with a layer of gluten-free pasta.  Layer half of your ricotta, spinach mixture and roasted red peppers.  Top with another layer of pasta, cheese sauce, then the rest of your ricotta, spinach mixture and roasted red peppers.  Top with a last layer of pasta your remaining cheese sauce.

Cover your pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.  Remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes.  Gather your crew and enjoy!


*Roasted red peppers can be purchased jarred, but if you'd like to make your own:  De-stem and de-seed your peppers.  Cut in half and place cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Roast at 450°F for 25 minutes, or until peppers are charred and wrinkled.  Remove from oven and transfer to a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 20 minutes.  Remove the skins (this should be easy now), slice and enjoy.