Saturday, January 21, 2012

Vegan Meat-Lovers Lasagna with Roasted Garlic Cashew Ricotta Cheese

I certainly don't think this was the "prettiest" dinner I've ever made (nor the healthiest), but it sure passed the meat-lovers taste test when my husband sat down to eat. Most of our meals are pretty plant-based (grains, vegetables, salad, legumes, sometimes tofu/tempeh) so this was a treat for sure.

This lasagna does have two easy plan-ahead steps:
1. Put about a cup of raw, unsalted cashews in a bowl and cover it completely in water. Let it sit on your kitchen counter for at least 2-3 hours. You can do that in under 2 minutes.
2. Roast your garlic. If you have never roasted garlic before, click HERE for a great tutorial from on my fav bloggers, Oh She Glows. Yes I could do it too & not send you off somewhere else, but I'm feeling lazy... and you'll LOVE her site, so its a win-win!

Prepare the Roasted Garlic Cashew Ricotta Cheese
Drain your pre-soaked cashews, give them a quick rinse and add them to your food processor.

Ingredients for Cashew Cheese
1 cup raw unsalted cashews, pre soaked for at least 2-3 hours
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (almond, soy, hemp, rice etc).
1 TB olive oil
1 TB apple cider vinegar
2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 TB agave nectar
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 entire bulb roasted garlic cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Combine cashews, non-dairy milk, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and agave nectar in your food processor and blend until very smooth and creamy. If your "ricotta" still looks a bit nutty, add a little more milk and blend again. This may take a few minutes until you get the right consistency. Add the basil, garlic, salt and pepper and pulse until combined well. Set aside.

Ingredients for Lasagna
1 box oven-ready lasagna noodles
1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce
1 package Lightlife Smart Ground Veggie Crumbles
2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
1 small brown onion, chopped
1 -2 cups Roasted Garlic Cashew Ricotta Cheese (depending on how thick you want it)
2 tsp olive oil, cooking spray, or vegetable stock for sauteing

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat a medium sized saute pan over medium heat. Add your sauteing base of choice (oil, spray or stock) to heat a bit and then add your onions and mushrooms. Cook until onions are translucent and mushrooms have cooked down. Add your Smart Ground and break up into crumbles. Cook about 6 minutes. Remove from heat.
Build your lasagna (I'm assuming you are using some sort of pyrex glass dish):
Sauce-Noodles-Sauce-Smart Ground-Noodles-Cashew Cheese-Noodles-Sauce-Daiya Vegan Mozzarella Cheese (Optional).

Cook uncovered for 40 minutes. Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting into it.

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