Lasagna has to be one of my favourite things in the entire world. If it wasn't so labour intensive we'd be eating it all the time! My lasagna recipe tends to change slightly every time I make it, usually depending on the ingredients I have on hand. I guess you could say the basic idea stays the same, with a few minor variations. In this case I was curious to see if I could come up with a nut based ricotta, to replace the tofu based recipe I usually use. We do eat organic soy a couple of times a week, but I find our digestive systems tend to handle nuts better overall. Especially when combined with noodles. I guess there is something to that food combining thing after all!
This particular batch of lasagna was the result of a birthday request made by my daughter. She shares my love of lasagna and would have it every week if she could. I really enjoy making this particular dish with my kids, it is fun to get them involved with making each of the different elements. I paired the pasta with her all time favourite caesar salad, from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet. I have tried a bunch of different caesar salad recipes since we adopted a plant based diet, and hers is by far the best.
For the Basil and Nut Ricotta I used a blend of organic raw cashew, macadamia and pine nuts. They are not inexpensive, but for a special occasion it is definitely worth it! I am sure cashews alone would work well also. I have been known to add a layer of daiya mozzarella on top, but decided to forgo that element this time around in favour of a simple topping of Vegan Parmesan once the lasagna had come out of the oven.
Decadently Delicious Lasagna
1 package Tinkyada Gluten Free Lasagna Noodles (or gluten free lasagna noodles of choice)
1 batch Shrek Spaghetti Sauce
1 batch Basil & Nut Ricotta (see below)
1 batch Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale (see below)
1 batch Vegan Parmesan
Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare fillings and set aside. Prepare noodles according to package directions. Spoon a thin layer of Shrek Spaghetti Sauce on the bottom of a 13" Lasagna pan. Add a layer of lasagna noodles, topped with half of the Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale, followed by half of the Basil and Nut Ricotta. Top with a layer of Shrek Spaghetti Sauce. Repeat with another layer of noodles, Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale, Basil and Nut Ricotta and Shrek Spaghetti Sauce. Bake lasagna for 30 minutes. Remove and let sit for 10 minutes. Top with a generous layer of Vegan Parmesan and serve immediately.
Basil & Nut Ricotta
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil (+ more as needed)
1 head roasted garlic
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup fresh basil
1 Tbsp hemp seeds
1\2 lemon, juiced
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
Soak nuts for 2 hours. Roast garlic, covered, in a 375 F oven for 25 minutes. Strain nuts and add to a food processor with the roasted garlic. Add nutritional yeast, basil, hemp seeds, lemon, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Process until mostly smooth, with some texture remaining.
Garlicky Mushrooms & Kale
2 Tbsp avocado oil
3 cups thinly sliced mixed mushrooms (I used shiitake, oyster and king oyster)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 head organic kale, thinly sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced
Sprinkle sea salt
Drizzle of truffle oil (optional)
Warm avocado oil over medium heat. Add mixed mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are browned and moisture has evaporated. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about a minute or so. Add kale and sauté until it is bright green and slightly wilted. Remove from heat, add lemon juice and sea salt and stir to incorporate. Finish with a drizzle of truffle oil, if you are feeling particularly decadent!
What is your favourite way to make lasagna? Are there any must have ingredients you simply can't live without?