I don’t know about you all, but over the holidays I indulged. I indulged in wine, beer, mai tais and rum. I also indulged in bread, fried things, vegan processed “meats” and sugar. All of which means that I gained a few pounds. Did you know that being vegan doesnt’ necessarily translate to being thin? There’s tons of unhealthy vegan foods out there. Don’t believe me? Look up the ingredients of Nutter Butters.

Carbs aren’t by nature “bad for you”. They’re an energy source. Like my in-laws, some people can consume vast amounts of rice, bread, and potatoes at the dinner table because they have this amazing metabolism, or they work out so much that they actually use these wonderful grains and sugars for energy. I don’t. I come from bread-basket Ukrainian peasant stock. The kind that didn’t die during the famines because their bodies held onto fat so much better than all those skinny dead kids. Plus, I don’t work out like Lance Armstrong, because I have a day job. So while carbs in and of themselves aren’t bad for you, they are weight-gain triggers for people like me that spend most of their day sitting in front of a computer and not walking around in the fields.

Anyway. Seeing as how The Eating Season is done, it’s time to cut the carbs (my primary weight gaining device), reduce the sugars (my other weight gaining device) and lay off the booze. Tonight I whipped up a nice big “Eggplasagna”…with no cheese, no dairy, no pasta, no gluten, and very low carb. Fortunately, it’s all flavor, sausage-y and onion-y and full of yum. Just try to keep your portions under control…just because it’s low carb doesn’t mean it’s low calorie.

This recipe is divvied up into segments, with the last being the steps of layering that I used. Photo to come.

Part 1: The “ricotta”


1 brick of firm tofu, pressed between dishtowels to absorb excess water, and crumbled into a bowl

2 heads of garlic, tops cut off and roasted in olive oil at 400 until soft and caramel-colored on the edges

1 tbsp each of dried basil, dried oregano and dried thyme

1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Juice from one lemon


Combine all in a food processer (or in a bowl, using two forks). Set aside.


Part 2: The “pasta”


1/2 a large eggplant, sliced thin (1/8″ thick at the most, but try for 1/16″)

sea salt


Sprinkle sea salt on eggplant to “sweat it”. Lay it flat or at an angle in a shallow dish. Just before you start The Layering, drain off the “sweat” that has formed. Don’t rinse the eggplant!!!


Part 3: The “sausage”


1 packet of tempeh (I like flax tempeh, but it really doesn’t matter what kind you choose. Just make sure it’s at least 8 oz).

2 tsp each of dried basil, dried fennel seed, dried thyme

a pinch of cayenne pepper

a dash of brown sugar

3 tbsp soy sauce (or tamari, if you need this to be gluten-free safe for Celiac’s diseased eaters)

juice from one lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

a dash of liquid smoke


Crumble the tempeh in a sauce pan. Fill with water until it covers the tempeh. Heat until boiling, then let it boil fo 12 minutes. Drain the water, then add the rest of the ingredients and head on medium – high. Stir frequently until the mixture is slightly browned. Set aside.

Part 4: The onions


2 large red onions, cut in half then sliced into thin half-moons

olive oil

a dash of brown sugar


Heat the onions in olive oil (enough so that they get coated with the oil, doesn’t have to be a lot) until they start a quiet bubbling. Turn down the heat to low and let them cook until they get to a reddish brown mushy color / texture. Set aside.


Part 4: The “others”


1 cup sliced firm crimini or button mushrooms

a handful of spinach leaves, destemmed

1 jar of tomato sauce (I love the Mezzetta Napa Valley Bistro tomato sauces)

Part 5: The Layering

Ordered from Bottom layer to Top layer. Start with:

1/3 of the tomato sauce

one layer of sliced eggplant

a layer of spinach leaves, raw

a layer of mushroom slices, raw

1/2 the “ricotta” crumbles

1/3 of the tomato sauce

the remaining sliced eggplant

tempeh sausage (all of it)

carmelized red onions (all of them)

the remaining “ricotta” crumbles

the remaining tomato sauce
Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes with aluminum foil covering your pan. Take off the foil, sprinkle on some Daiya Mozzerella shredded “cheese” if you like, and bake until it’s melted.

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