Sunday, July 24, 2011

Garden Vegetable Lasagna w/ Ricotta Nut Cheese and Marinated Mushrooms and Zucchini

Recipe adapted from dish requires a bit of prep time but it is WELL worth it. You have to soak the cashews 2-4 hours or overnight. Again, so worth it. My kids happily had thirds. It is delicious with out the veg cheese too. The nut ricotta is amazing on salads if you can save a few spoonfuls. It is gluten free, vegan. Contains soy and nuts.

Garden Vegetable Lasagna w/ Ricotta Nut Cheese and Marinated mushrooms and Zucchini
vegan, makes one 9-11" lasagna

1 large ripe tomato, sliced into thin rounds
2 cups marinara sauce (or homemade recipe)
1 large zucchini, sliced into thin flat strips
1 cup mushrooms, sliced thin, any variety
1/4- 1/2 cup non-dairy cheese, I used Daiya
2 cups fresh leafy greens
*I used Kale, spinach, etc work too.
1 box gf no-boil lasagna noodles
*you can choose the boil method if you'd like
optional: 1/2 cup fresh chives, chopped - chopped basil

1 1/2 cups Chive Nut Cheese Ricotta
Vegan Chive Ricotta Cashew Nut "Cheese"
makes 2 1/2 cups

2 cups of soaked raw cashews/pinch of salt, drained
2 tsp garlic powder or 3 fresh garlic cloves
1 1/2 Tbsp EVOO
1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer (for richer flavor)
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar OR lemon juice
*you can also use red wine or balsamic vinegar's if you prefer those flavors
1 Tbsp dried Italian herb blend
1 Tbsp agave or maple syrup (or honey)
1/3 cup fresh chives
1 tsp black pepper
salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp minimum)
garnish: handful of fresh chopped chives

optional: 1 Tbsp Vegenaise

note on salt: If you are adding this ricotta to a recipe with salty ingredients (like a tomato-sauced lasagna) go easy on the salt. The ricotta should add a texture/taste component to the dish and not a salty one. However, if you are using the ricotta raw on salads, as a dip or dessert - you may want to increase the salt and even sweetener content a tad to suite your tastes.


1. Add raw cashews to a big bowl of water, add a pinch of salt. Soak in fridge overnight or at least for about 2-4 hours. More soaking, smoother texture.

2. Drain soaked cashews. Add them to a food processor.

3. Add in the vinegar or lemon juice, soy milk or creamer, agave and EVOO.

4. Blend on high until smooth. This may take a few minutes depending on the strength of your food processor. If your ricotta is looking too dry, add more soy milk and/or more EVOO. I used soy creamer which made my ricotta nice and creamy.

Zesty Garlic Marinade
1 Tbsp garlic powder OR 5 chopped garlic cloves
3-4 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup red wine, apple cider or balsamic vinegar (I used balsamic/red wine)
*see vinegar note below
2-3 Tbsp dried Italian herb seasoning blend
1 tsp black pepper
optional: 1/4 cup fresh basil - chiffonade

*vinegar note: if using apple cider or red wine vinegar you may want to add a splash of agave/maple syrup to sweeten your marinade up a bit. The balsamic vinegar should have enough sweetness on its own.


1. Gather your ingredients.

2. Make your marinade by combining all ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Prep your veggies. Slice you ingredients very thin so that the marinade absorbs quickly.

4. Place your sliced ingredients (zucchini, mushrooms, tomatoes, greens) into your marinade bowl. Toss gently. Add more EVOO/vinegar if needed to cover ingredients. Allow to marinate at least 20 minutes. Otherwise you can prep this part for overnight marination.

5. If you haven't made your Chive Ricotta Lasagna in advance - do it now. Set aside.

6. Begin building your lasagna. Basically, sauce, noodles, sauce, greens,  sauce, noodles, sauce, mushrooms, noodles, ricotta, noodles, sauce, cheese, fresh tomatoes, chives, black pepper. And done! You can really build a lasagna however you'd like though. There are very few rules.

Before Baking:

IMPORTANT TIP: Be sure to put a sauce layer on at least one side of each noodle layer - since you are using the no-boil noodles you want your lasagna to be extra extra moist before baking.

And I actually poured a bit of my extra marinade over top to use as an extra moisture adder for my lasagna. Worked beautifully.

7. Cover your lasagna and store in fridge until ready to bake that day. Or bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes. Note: if baking lasagna from a chilled fridge, your baking time will be longer since the temp will be colder.

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