MMMM… Lasagna. Slightly laborious, but so delicious it doesn’t matter. Even the leftovers are fantastic. I first experimented with using a tofu based sauce in place of the ricotta, but it tasted too much like… tofu. Not good. Cashews turned out to be much better, very creamy and just the right texture. Roasting the vegetables before putting them into the lasagna really brings out their flavors, and you can use any combination you like. Also, using a fresh, homemade tomato sauce makes a world of difference, and this sauce is really easy and quick. You can use it for all sorts of applications and it saves you money in the long run. A lot of plant based lasagnas have fake cheese, fake meat, etc., but I find that those ‘slightly wrong’ flavors are distracting. This lasagna is essentially just made with whole plant foods. You could take it a step further and use layers of thinly sliced zucchini and eggplant in place of the noodles, equally delicious! I don’t think I have ever equated lasagna with healthy food, but here it is!
Roasted Vegetable Lasagna
Makes 4 large servings
15 asparagus spears, ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
10 crimini mushrooms, sliced thinly
1/2 kabocha squash, sliced thinly
2 big tomatoes, sliced thinly
2 zucchinis, sliced thinly
2 tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbs Italian seasoning
1 box lasagna noodles (about 9 noodles, or enough for 3 layers in your dish)
2 cups cashews, soaked overnight
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tbs salt (or to your taste)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup water
6 big tomatoes
2 tbs olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 tbs italian seasoning
1 head garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 c white wine
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tbs brown sugar
1 cup fresh spinach
1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
3 tbs Fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup panko brea crumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Try to slice all your asparagus, mushrooms, squash, tomatoes and zucchini to about the same thickness. In a large bowl, toss your sliced veggies with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and seasoning. Line two baking sheets with foil and lay the veggies in a single layer. Bake for approx. 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor, blend the cashews, nutmeg, salt, and garlic. Add the water in a little bit at a time. You might not need all of it, you are just incorporating enough to make the cashew mixture spreadable, like ricotta cheese. Set aside
Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Drop the 6 tomatoes into the boiling water for 1 minute, then remove with tongs and rinse under cold water. The skins should easily peel right off now. On a large cutting board, cut away the tough center where the stems attach and dice up the tomatoes, seeds, juice and all. You want to keep as much juice as possible!
Add the lasagna noodles to the boiling water and cook according to directions, mine was 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large frying pan, heat the 2 tbs of olive oil over medium high heat. Toss in the onion and italian seasoning. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Then toss in the garlic and sauté for about 1 more minute. When the garlic starts to turn a light golden color, pour in the white wine to deglaze the pan. Add the tomatoes, brown sugar, and salt and keep stirring for another 5 minutes.
To assemble your lasagna, you will need 5” x 9” or 9” x 13” a glass baking dish. You could use other similar dimensioned dishes, you just might need to cut the lasagna noodles to fit, no big deal.
Now the fun part. Start by slathering about a quarter of your tomato sauce all over the bottom of the dish. Next do a single layer of noodles. On top of the noodles, scoop out 1/3 of your cashew ricotta and spread it evenly over the noodles. Top that with 1/2 of your roasted assorted veggies. Layer on some spinach leaves and sprinkle on half of the chopped basil. Another layer of sauce, noodles, cashew ricotta, roasted veggies, spinach, basil, and then you will top that with your final noodles. I spread the remaining cashew ricotta and tomato sauce on top, and sprinkled it with the panko bread crumbs.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until it is nice and bubbly and the panko is golden.
Pull it out and sprinkle the chopped parsley on top.
Let it rest for about 5 minutes before diving in!