Lasagna. It is big deal – the noodles, the vegetables, the sauces – but I have come up with a good one. I only make this dish for company because (1) it is a lot of work and (2) it is a lot of food. In the past, when I have made vegetable lasagna, I would roast the vegetables first (The Village Lasagna) and make the sauce separately. But this version is way easier by making a vegetable + tomato sauce at the same time. Why didn’t I think of that sooner?!
Note: I like to make the sauce ahead of time because it just makes the day of the party prep so much easier. Also, assembly can be done earlier in the day. Cover, place in the refrigerator and bring it up to room temperature when ready to bake!
Vegetable Lasagna (serves 12)
Vegetable Tomato Sauce (recipe follows)
Cashew Cream (recipe follows), use as much as necessary
1 8oz bags/boxes frozen spinach
1 container Kite Hill ricotta cheese
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (nooch)
1 box lasagna noodles
Defrost the spinach according to the package and squeeze out as much water as possible. Mix with the ricotta and nooch. Set aside.
Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package. Season with a bunch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil (to prevent the noodles from sticking.)
Set up an ice bath. Drain the lasagna noodles and drop them right into the ice bath.
Get a large rectangular baking dish ready and preheat the oven to 350.
Mix the nooch and spinac into the Kite Hill ricotta.
To assemble, pour some cashew cream on the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of noodles. Add a layer of sauce and another layer of noodles, this time turn the noodles the other direction (i.e., if they were horizontal the first layer, these should vertical.) Use kitchen shears to cut the noodle because most likely it will be too long.
Add another layer of cashew cream. On top of the cashew cream, spread out half of the spinach mixture. Add another layer of noodles, then sauce, then noodles, then cream and spinach mixture, and then noodles. Top with sauce and a drizzle of cream.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Take out of the oven and let the lasagna rest for at least 15 minutes before cutting into it. Enjoy!
Vegetable Tomato Sauce
1 leek, white and the tender green part
1 red pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
Salt, a few big pinches
1 tablespoon good olive oil, optional
Slice the leek in half and then into semi circles. Clean well. Cut the zucchini, carrot and pepper into a small, even dice. Add to a big pot and cook on low heat, sweating the vegetables until they are bright and starting to soften. Press the garlic over the vegetables and mix well, cooking the garlic for a minute or two.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and a few big pinches of salt. Add the oil, if using. Cover the pot and bring up to a nice simmer. Cook for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool. Refrigerate until ready to use.
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
2 1/2 cups filtered water, or more
Nutmeg, a few scrapes on a microplane
If you don’t have a Vitamix, soak the cashews for 4 hours or overnight. Or get a Vitamix. Drain the water and then use new water to make the cream.
Add the cashews and water to the Vitamix and let it rip until creamy and smooth, less than a minute. If it is too thick, add a little bit of water at a time, like a tablespoon or two. Transfer to a 2 cup measuring cup for easy pouring and scrape the nutmeg into the cream. Stir.