Tuesday, April 8, 2014

7lb Lasagna

  Before my husband and I became accidental vegetarians, there were foods I just thought wouldn’t work as vegetarian.  Lasanga wasn’t one of them.  Lasagna is better vegetarian!  Loads of pasta and cheese doesn’t need meat - it’s already heart-attack-a-licious.  

Vegan lasagna?  Meh. 

What’s left after you take the cheese out?  Tomatoes?  You want to replace the noodles with veggies too?  Kill me now!  Seriously, what’s left?

AMAZINGNESS.  That’s what’s left.  Trust me on this.  

Isn't she a beaut?  Bright and colourful, totally delicious and mega good for you.
You're thinking... did you actually weigh this lasagna, and I will let you know - yes, yes I did.  And the pan wasn't heavy glass or cast iron either

Not only is this lasagna vegan, it’s gluten free and jam-packed with vitamins, nutrients, and true blue goodness.  But really -  forget the labels: vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, and think of your tastebuds dancing like old-timey cartoons in your mouth.  That’s what’s going to happen when you take a bite of…..


7 lb Lasagna      
This is everything you need! 

2 butternut squash
4 large eggplant
6 small (or 4 large) zucchini 

1 jar of your choice pasta sauce, or homemade (see link)

1 pckg 275-300g raw cashews, soaked in water (soak for at least an hour, or overnight in the fridge)
fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350

Wash your produce (yes I wash the outside before cutting) and peel your eggplant.  

Zuchini and Eggplant factory. 
The first time I made this lasagna I left the skins on - but the kids weren’t too keen on having to chew them so vigorously.  If you’re only feeding adults, they may not mind - but considering my kids LOVE this lasagna and I’d like to keep it that way and I just cut the derned skins off.  

Slice the eggplant, and zucchini into thin “coins” and place on a baking tray.  No oil necessary.  Just bake for 20 minutes, flip over and bake for another 20.  I know some people are totally awesome and cut their zucchini and eggplant into strips like lasagna noodles, but they don’t bake nicely and are harder to handle.  While the eggplant and zucchini are baking, cut the squash down the centre (this can take some serious muscle, or just a decent kitchen knife - of which I have neither).  Scoop out the seeds and place face down in a casserole dish or cookie sheet.  There will be a lot of liquid that bakes out of the squash so if you use a cookie sheet you will just have to scrub it afterwards (I hate scrubbing cookie sheets because they don’t fit in the sink).  Bake squash for 50-60 minutes, until tender.  

Baked oatmeal leftovers.
1/4 is cranberry free for 1 picky eater.
I let everything cool on the counter while I’m making other yummy things.  This particular weekend I started the day with baked carrot oatmeal, made a batch of muffins, cookies and pizza (all vegan) and baked some homemade samosas that the kids loved!  I’m in mega love with Angela Liddon’s blog Oh She Glows and used her baked oatmeal, muffin and cookie recipes.  Her recipes often include maple syrup instead of sugar - but I’ve been replacing the syrup with figs and it’s awesome!  If something calls for 1/4 cup sugar or syrup I squish as many figs as I can into a 1/4 cup, and soak them in water for an hour or so before pulsing them in the food processor to make a sweet paste.  I add it 1 for 1 to the recipe and haven’t had any complaints.   


Empty the squash into a large bowl - they should just drop right out of their skins into the bowl.  If not, peel it out.   Mash it vigorously with a spoon so it’s creamy.  If you have roasted garlic hanging around throw some in - I didn’t, because I can’t keep roasted garlic out of my mouth for some reason.

Squash, cashew cheese and beautiful layers.
To make your cashew cheese, just take your soaked cashews and put them in a food processor.  Use freshly squeezed lemon juice to get things moving.  You could also add some oil or tahini to do that as well, but I just used fresh lemon juice -about two lemons worth.  The longer you soak your cashews, the better result you will have.  

When you’re ready to assemble and bake your lasagna prepare a large 11x11 pan.  Someone left a large metal pan at my house (does it belong to YOU?) so I used that with parchment paper - but normally I would use my glass pan, naked (no parchment or oil). 
Start with a thin layer of tomato sauce.  I use this organic sauce because it has nothing but tomatoes, spices and other veggies (sometimes I get the one with carrots, etc.).  No sugar, nothing I can’t pronounce and no tin can.  Go ahead and use your favourite, but if you don’t have a fav - give this a try.  After you have a layer of sauce, add a layer of eggplant, layer of squash, zucchini and tomato sauce again.  Next, add your cashew “cheese”.  I wet my hands and pat small portions into flat discs I then place on the lasagna and continue to try to pat down.  Repeat this until the “cheese” is gone and you have a nice even layer.  Now add another layer of eggplant, this time adding the zucchini at the same time and another thin layer of sauce.  Top it all off with your last layer of butternut squash and bake for roughly 1 hour until it’s hot all the way through and you can see the sauce bubbling.  Let cool for what seems like a lifetime, but probably more like 20 minutes.  Cut into generous portions and eat the heck out of this tasty tasty lasagna.

This freezes like a boss - so if you want to pop it in the freezer in portions or before you bake it, go for it.  Not worrying about meat temperatures and reheating, etc. excludes guesswork and you can just do it.  Or just freeze it in this instance.  


If you're feeling up to it, a variation I do with this lasagne is to take 6 cups of spinach and cook it down with garlic and onion.  I add it just above the cheese layer and it adds so much flavour and all around wonderfulness.  Give it a try if you have the ingredients hanging around.  

Honestly, eating a dinner like this makes you feel like you can conquer the world!  There’s no undoing the button on your pants, laying on the couch and hating yourself for eating so much.  You can eat until you’re full and still feel great!  I LOVE that my kids love this recipe (it’s even funnier that they don’t like regular lasagna) and they helped me make it the last few times and know they’re eating eggplant and zucchini.  

My 1 yr old crying for a portion.  I should have let him eat some before trying to take a pic of the final product.

Bon Appe-7lb-tit!
Eww,  7 lb tit sounds so wrong.  Well, it's been typed and can't be erased.
Such is the finality of computers.  No backspace or delete buttons.
ahiodpjmkfldsa
Dern baby hit the keys again.  



Check out my post on homemade pizza to get my homemade sauce recipe

8 comments:

  1. Even though I think vegans are losers, I think this looks real-yumm-o! :) The suggestion of adding spinach sounds good too, and I may add a few jalapenos to my some of it too, I loves me some heat! I do believe I will give this a whirl! And I also love Oh She Glows!

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    1. Jalepenos would be awesome-town, but then the kids wouldn't eat it! Well, one would but she'll eat anything!

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  2. Is it possible to replace the cashews with some variation of cheese? I totally blanked on picking some up!

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    1. I had a reader replace the cashew cheese with ricotta and it turned out nicely. I have tried it with no cheese at all but it wasn't as nice. Let me know how yours turns out :)

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  3. greetings! I was considering making this for a crowd and I was wondering how big was your pan because I will be using one of those jumbo catering aluminum pans and I want to estimate how much to multiply ingredients

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  4. Hi! The pan was 13 inches X 9 inches. It was a glass pan, and because there is no meat or greasy cheese it does not stick to the sides. If you are baking in aluminum I might suggest lining it with parchment paper so it comes out easily. Let me know how it turns out in such a large batch!

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  5. I am so making this recipe. Can you adopt me as a grandparent? You have an adorable family.

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    1. This lasagna is so so so good, you won't regret making it! My family does seem to adopt family members that aren't blood related so you have a good chance of being taken in as a grandparent :)

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