Dreamy LasagnaCourse: DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Medium
You know what I love most about lasagna? The entire contraband list of “Nope, never gonna eat that” (e.g., zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, bell pepper, eggplant…) turns into “YUM, I want this every single day of my life!” As this study shows, the “hidden vegetables” strategy even works with picky adults, getting them to consume 4.5 times the amount of vegetables when in puréed form. Ha, and they had no idea. Of course, the pickier your customer, the smaller you should dice the vegetables; you could also blend them into the marinara for the sneakiest chef trick of them all.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by the length of this recipe. Simply think of it as three easy recipes that (literally) get layered together. One mixes in a minute with your hands, another only needs some whizzing around in the food processor, and the third is just a saucepan that you have to babysit a bit. Your satisfied and delighted customers begging for seconds of a meal overflowing with the hidden nutritional gems in this recipe are worth the effort!
For the Lasagna
whole grain lasagna noodles (you won’t cook them even if they aren’t “no cook” noodles, see below and thank me later!)
protein-pumped marinara, recipe follows
dreamy cashew creamy, recipe follows
tofu ricotta, recipe follows
For the Protein-Pumped Marinara
sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
red lentils, rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
zucchini, diced (optional, or use other veggies you have)
red pepper, diced (optional, or use other veggies you have)
pkg of sliced mushrooms (optional, or use other veggies you have)
dried oregano, optional
cans of crushed tomatoes
For the Tofu Ricotta
pkgs of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
shredded fresh spinach or 1 cup frozen spinach
(10 oz tub) roasted garlic hummus, or any hummus (optional)
fresh basil, finely chopped, or 2 tablespoon dried basil
fine sea salt
garlic powder or 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
light miso (white, yellow, or chickpea)
For the Dreamy Cashew Creamy
raw cashews soaked in water overnight – or if tight on time, pour boiling water over the cashews and soak for an hour. Drain and rinse (you can use sunflower seeds for a less expensive option)
light miso (white, yellow, or chickpea)
apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350F. Place the noodles in a 9×13 inch baking dish, cover with warm water and let soak while making the ingredients below. When ready, drain and rinse. If you need to soak cashews quickly, do so with the boiling water now (see above).
- Make the Protein-Pumped Marinara
1) Add the water, salt, sweet potato and lentils to a large saucepan, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the lentils are soft.
2) Meanwhile, heat ¼ cup vegetable broth over medium heat in a large skillet. Once hot, add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the oregano, if using. Add zucchini, red pepper, mushrooms, any veggies that tickle your lasagna fancy, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes or until softened. Turn off heat when done.
3) Back to your saucepan. Once the lentils are soft, add in the crushed tomatoes (juice and all), and add the vegetables from the skillet. Simmer for another 5 minutes to let the sauce come together.
- Make the Tofu Ricotta
Place drained tofu in a large bowl. Crumble with hands. Add spinach, hummus, nutritional yeast, basil, salt, and garlic (powdered or minced), and miso. Stir together with a big fork or your hands until it resembles ricotta.
- Make the Dreamy Cashew Creamy
In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine the cashews, water, nutritional yeast, miso, salt and apple cider vinegar. Blend on high until creamy (about 2 minutes). You might have to stop and scrape down the sides. Add water as needed to thin the mixture to a pourable, medium-thick consistency.
- Making it Happen!
1) Place 1 cup of marinara in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish.
2) Layer 5 noodles (4 lengthwise and 1 widthwise to cover the gap at the end).
3) Add half of the ricotta mixture.
4) Top with 1 1/2 cups of marinara.
5) Pour 3/4 cup of dreamy cashew creamy.
6) Repeat: 5 noodles, remaining tofu ricotta, 1 ½ cups marinara, 3/4 cup of cashew cream.
7) Top with one last layer of noodles and pour the rest of the marinara sauce.
8) Sprinkle the top with some nutritional yeast.
9) Set aside the remaining cashew cream.
10) Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
11) Remove foil and pour on the remaining cashew cream.
12) Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
13) Let lasagna cool and settle for 15 or more minutes before digging in.
- To Freeze: After assembly, freeze the whole pan (don’t cook it). When you’re ready to bake, defrost it in the refrigerator overnight and bake the next day. Add 15 minutes to the baking time. You can also freeze leftovers as individual portions in small covered glassware – just defrost and pop in the microwave to reheat when hungry.
- To Make In Advance: Assemble the lasagna per the recipe and then wrap tightly with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking to allow lasagna to get back to room temperature.
- All recipes from the Cancer-Kicking! Kitchen are always 100% plant-based and delicious. Check our Ingredient Spotlight feature to learn what makes each ingredient special, and use our Purity Scale to see just how healthy and plant-pure your recipe is.