Raw Lasagna

rawsagna

A couple times a year I get the urge to do some sort of bodily reset. Whether I’ve been slacking off on workouts or eating too much processed food, a good cleanse helps to get your habits and your palate back on track. Instead of doing something extreme like a 5 day juice cleanse, (which leaves you starving, cranky, and likely to stuff your face when it’s over) I like to do a week or two on a high raw diet. I eliminate everything packaged, cooked, processed, or loaded with sugar, grains, or fat. Instead, I eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, and yes, some cold pressed juice too. I do have 1 or 2 liquid meals a day, to give my digestive system a break and I try to drink a ton of water as well (about 75 ounces.) But unlike a juice cleanse, this allows me to ‘detox’, while still having energy to work and exercise. It’s a great boost to the immune system with all those raw vitamins and enzymes. It also helps you really appreciate whole, fresh food again, especially if you’ve been eating a lot of junk!

So for example, here is what I had today:

Breakfast: A tall glass of lemon water, a big green juice with some watermelon slices and grapes on the side.

Lunch: This fantastic ‘Rawsagna’.

Snack: Some cut up vegetables and raw hummus (recipe coming soon!)

Dinner: A big protein shake.

Dessert: A whole fruit popsicle for dessert.

This was all in all about 1200 calories, so I don’t feel deprived or starving, and I know my body is thanking me! I had plenty of energy for a 3 mile run and some chores.

Even if you don’t want to do a ‘high raw’ cleanse for a week, it’s a really good idea to make at least one meal a day from raw foods. This is quite easy to do with a smoothie for breakfast or a big salad for lunch, and I find it especially easy to do in the summertime when turning on the oven sounds like the worst idea ever.

All this week I will be posting raw recipes in case you want to join me in this detox andventure. It seems like it would get really old after a while, but you’d be surprised just how much you can do with wholesome raw food! This Rawsagna has been on my list to make for a couple years now, and it is even better tasting than I thought it would be. I got two thumbs up from the non-raw/non-vegans who tried it too!

It’s easy and surprisingly quick to put together!

Raw Lasagna

Makes 2 large servings.

1 big zucchini, peeled

1 portobello mushroom cap, thinly sliced

2 tbs cold pressed olive oil

1 tbs balsamic vinegar

1 big beefsteak tomato, thinly sliced

1 bunch basil

for the sauce:

2 ounces of sun dried tomatoes, soaked in water for about 1 hour

1 big beefsteak tomato, diced (or about 6 plum tomatoes)

1 sprig each of thyme, oregano, and parsley

1/2 medjool date

1 green onion, white parts removed, greens roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic

salt and pepper

for the cashew ricotta:

1.5 cups cashews, soaked in water for about 1 hour

1 tb nutritional yeast

4-5 cloves of garlic

2 medjool dates

1 pinch of nutmeg

juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper

Start by cutting about an inch off of each end of the zucchini, (one end being the tough stem) this way you will get nice rectangular slices. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, thinly slice the zucchini lengthwise. Try to slice as thinly as possible, you want to get at least nine slices out of one big zucchini. Lay the slices on a paper towel to drain as you go, they release a lot of moisture.

Marinate the sliced mushroom with the oil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Set the bowl out in a sunny spot so that the mushrooms can ‘super charge’. (They will absorb a large amount of vitamin D this way, just like us. Cool huh?)

Next put all the ingredients for the tomato sauce into a food processor and blend until smooth. Set aside.

Then do the same for the cashew ricotta mixture: blend until smooth and set aside.

Now comes time for the assembly: Start by laying three zucchini slices on a plate, overlapping just slightly. Take a couple spoonfuls of tomato sauce and spread it over the slices. Add a few slices of tomato and then some basil leaves. Then layer on some sliced mushroom and finish with some big dollops of cashew ricotta, smoothed out over the mushrooms. Add another layer of 3 zucchini slices, in the opposite direction as the first layer. Then repeat the same steps: tomato sauce, tomato slices, basil leaves, mushroom slices, cashew ricotta, and one last layer of zucchini slices. Top those with a little more tomato sauce and ricotta cheese and voila! Lunch is ready.

If you have any of the ricotta and tomato sauce left over, you can combine them to make a delicious pink cream sauce to use for something else. For example, you can spiralize another zucchini and have a delicious angel hair pasta with tomato cream sauce.

This Rawsagna is so filling, I couldn’t even finish a whole piece! I hope you’ll give it a try 🙂

Can’t fathom the idea of a raw lasagna? Try this traditional roasted vegetable lasagna recipe instead.

raw lasagna with mushrooms

raw lasagna

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Ratatouille Spiral

Ratatouille

As visually striking as this is, the flavors are humble, mellow, and comforting. I made this for my mom’s birthday, and was so excited to see even the veggiephobes going back for seconds. The best part is, this ratatouille spiral is easier than it looks! Well, if you have a mandolin that is, otherwise it’s still easy but will take a bit longer. We served this with lemony saffron rice, crusty french bread, sausages, and a salad of arugula, strawberries, pine nuts, and balsamic reduction. I also served the ratatouille with some homemade cashew cream sauce for drizzling over the top. Overall a nice meal and not overly rich! You could even make this in a pie crust for an extra special ratatouille pie. When choosing your vegetables, try to find ones that are pretty similar in diameter, which is why the recipe calls for a Chinese eggplant, because it is similar in size to the zucchini and yellow squash. You can use any kind of eggplant you like, but you will want to cut your slices in half or thirds to be uniform with the zucchini and yellow squash. This photo was before it went in the oven, because afterwards, it got gobbled up too fast for pictures. (And it looked about the same.)

Ratatouille Spiral
makes about 6 servings
3 tbs olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 can pureed tomatoes
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp Italian seasonings
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
A few fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 Chinese eggplants
2 zucchinis
2 yellow squashes
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tsp fresh thyme
Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and saute 1 more minute, then add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 minutes, adding a splash of water if it starts to stick. Pour sauce into the bottom of a 9” pie pan.
Next cut the woody end pieces off of all your veggies. Set the mandolin to slightly less that 1/4 inch (super duper thin!) and get to slicing- long ways.
If you don’t have a mandolin, that’s ok, just cut very thin slices with a sharp knife. This is a little more time consuming, but not really a big deal.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Now, you will start on the outermost perimeter, and layer your way in toward the center. Pick up a slice, and lay it against the inner wall of the pan, thin peel edge against the bottom. Do this all around, spiraling inward, alternating veggies as you go. They can overlap by an inch or so. The tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan helps to hold them in place.
Keep going until you get to the center, the tight and more upright the slices are, the better. For the very last one you’ll have to roll up the slice like a little cigar and stick it in the center.
Now use a pastry brush to brush the 2 tbs of olive oil all over the top, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme.
Pop it in the oven for about 35 minutes, but keep an eye on it, it’s done when the edges start to brown, the veggies are visibly softened, and the sauce starts to bubble up between the layers.ratatouille spiral