PLANT BASED LASAGNA with KALE CASHEW RICOTTA

When the nights are cold and the days are short, cozy up to a nutrient dense, flavorful, one pot meal that can feed an army. I have a love hate relationship with lasagna. I absolutely love it, but my belly hates it. when I figured out that I couldn’t tolerate dairy and wheat together or at all, a few years back, I began recreating my favorite comfort meals without them. I think finally figure out the consistency and ingredient mix in this recipe. Happily, with lots of dietary changes and modifications, I can tolerate these foods occasion, but honestly, it is not necessary and offers a whole slew of positive feedback on many levels from the microcosm of our internal systems to the macrocosm of this planet. Eat with the seasons, eat real food, eat plants, be happy.

INGREDIENTS

LASAGNA

1 butternut squash or 2 sweet potatoes, Sliced thin

1 zucchini Squash, sliced thin

1 white onion, sliced into thin rounds

1-2 russet potatoes, sliced into thin rounds

1 lb spinach, sautéed with garlic

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup vegan mozzarella, Myokos or Parmela brands are my favorite

24 ouches Marinara Sauce, make your owner make it easy and use Rao’s Brand, there is nothing that compares, except maybe your Gand mother’s sauce

Salt

Pepper

1/2 lb Shitake mushrooms, sautéed until well done, optional topping for a heartier, wintery dish.



KALE/CASHEW RICOTTA

1 bunch kale, stems removed

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour

2 garlic cloves

Juice from 1/2 lemon



PREPARE

RICOTTA

Soak cashews ahead of time for one hour. Set a large pot with about an inch or 2 of water on the stove and bring to boil. Once the water is boiling, add the kale, cover and let blanch for 1 minute. Strain excess water and rinse with cold water. Using a food processor, add the juice of 1/2 lemon, 2 garlic cloves, 1 generous pinch of salt, 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast, blanched kale and soaked cashews, pulse for about a minute or more until you have a ricotta like consistency. You may have to scrape down the sides of the container and pulse a few times to get the right texture. It should be light and fluffy and slightly sticky. This will be the glue for the lasagna.



LASAGNA

This all works very quickly if you have a mandolin slicer, if not, then turn on some music and get slicing. Organize the vegetables their own separate piles for easy assembly. Using a pat of your favorite veg based oil/butter sautée spinach with a teaspoon of oil and 1 clove of minced garlic until wilted, strain off the liquid and set aside.



Take 2 - 3 tablespoons of marinara and coat the bottom of your lasagna pan, then start with your sweet potatoes or butternut squash and layer the vegetables so that the pan is covered. Next,add a few dollops of the cashew ricotta and then another layer vegetables, this time, perhaps the white potatoes which takes the place of the noodles. Then add a pinch of salt and pepper and a layer marinara, in the middle, layer your spinach and just keep repeating different layers like so - Marinara, sweet potatoes, ricotta, potatoes, salt, pepper, marinara, vegan mozzarella, zucchini, onion, salt pepper, marinara, Repeat 2-3 times depending on the depth and shape of your pan. Once you get the top, place the rest of your marinara, ricotta and a handful of vegan mozzarella. Preheat the Oven to 350, cover and bake for 1 hour. Add sautéed shitakes for a heartier meal with a healthy dose of protein.

Let me know how it goes! This is definitely a show stopper and your guests will not believe it is plant-based!