Lasagne, the ultimate comfort food right? It just makes you feel all warm and happy inside. The problem with lasagne is its usually sooo.. to say it honestly.. unhealthy!
Traditionally it’s loaded with budget minced beef (and everything else they sneak in mince), a salty tomato sauce, layers of pasta sheets, and not to mention the mass of cheese, butter, and cream to make that creamy white sauce. Hmm while that may sound appetising to some, it screams heart attack!!
So I’ve created a not so traditional, Elsa kind of lasagne, packed with veggies, cashews (healthy fats), and herbs. A Gluten Free, Dairy Free (Vegan), Sugar Free plant based meal. YUUUUM!
Now I’ve made a cashew cheese sauce, which to some people may sound weird and you may be thinking what the hell is that!? And does it taste disgusting?? But basically with a lot of vegan meals, the cheese can be substituted for cashews (think cheese cakes = raw cashew cakes). Cashews create a similar texture, and if you ask me, tastes 1000 times better 😉 Plus its better for you, cashews contain Unsaturated Fat, which is the good kind, while dairy cheese contains Saturated Fat, the bad guy!!
(If this still freaks you out, you can stick to your traditional creamy white Béchamel sauce, I’m only here to share some delicious healthy meal ideas, not to judge 😉 )
Okay enough of my health rants; I’ll just cut straight to the delectable details.
- 500g pumpkin (any variety, mine was approx. ¼ of a Kent pumpkin)
- 1 medium size eggplant
- 3 zucchinis
- 3 tomatoes
- 2 cups of packed chopped spinach/kale
- 1 cup of packed chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup of cashews
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- ½ lemon (juice)
- ¼ cup organic soy milk (optional)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can organic (salt reduced) crushed tomatoes
- 3 tsp dried oregano
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed and diced)
- ½ red chilli diced
- 5 sun/semi dried tomatoes chopped (optional)
I grow my own basil and oregano, and let me tell you, if your going to start a garden, start with herbs, sooo handy!! I also like to cut away bunches of my oregano and dry it by tying a small bunch of it to some string and hanging it up for 1-2 days, that way I can store it in a jar and have it handy when making pizzas, pastas, or any tomato-y based dishes 😉
How to make:
- Slice pumpkin and eggplant into thin 5mm slices (I didn’t bother removing the skin from the pumpkin) and place on a baking paper lined tray/s and place in oven on ~180 degrees. (I didn’t use oil as it will become juicy when baking the lasagne, but your welcome to lightly brush olive oil on them).
- While they’re in the oven for ~20 – 30 minutes (check on them) make the tomato sauce by placing the can of tomatoes in a pot on low-med heat. Add the garlic, chilli, S&P (to taste), oregano, and sundried tomatoes to the pot and simmer until some of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside
- Take the veggies out of the oven, you want them to be 50-80% cooked (as they will continue to cook when you put the whole lasagne in the oven)
- Slice the zucchini into thin slices, I use a peeler and peel into long strips. Slice the tomatoes into small (3mm) slices also.
- To make the cashew cheese sauce, add the cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, ¼ cup of water and a touch of salt and pepper to a blender. Blend until smooth, add the soy and keep blending until you make a thick smooth sauce (you want it to be spreadable so adjust water and soy according to the consistency).
- Begin to assemble your lasagne in a baking dish, beginning with a bottom layer of zucchini strips. Make it 2 layers thick. Next add a layer of eggplant, then pumpkin, then a layer of the tomato sauce and sprinkle over approximately ½ of the basil, and finally lay another 2 layers thick of zucchini slices.
- Mix half of the cashew cheese in with all of the chopped spinach and spread this over the zucchini layer.
- Add a layer of tomato slices, and repeat the process (eggplant, pumpkin, tomato sauce, basil, zucchini) Using all of the remaining veggies (set aside some slices of tomato for the top layer- see picture)
- Finally top the lasagne with the remaining cashew cheese sauce, and the remaining slices of tomato.
- Roast in the oven on 180 degrees for approximately 30-40 minutes (check on it every 20 min). Once it looks ready and a butter knife can glide straight to the bottom you can remove from the oven and serve.
Any order of layering the veggies is fine, and you can make 1 thick layer of each vegetable to simplify it too.
Serve with a side salad, or some fresh spinach leaves. I made a big yummy basil pine-nut pesto earlier and placed a big dollop on top of mine, it was awesome!