I haven’t been posting many main dishes lately, because by the time dinner is ready, the daylight is gone and I have no source of decent lighting in my house. We’re still eating plenty of delicious, healthy dinners, I’m just not taking pictures of them.
But every once in a while we make enough dinner to have leftovers for lunch the next day, and it looks decent enough to get a picture, and I can post it!
Last night’s vegan lasagna was a masterpiece that I spent most of the day working on. This was my first foray into a variety of plant-based cooking options, like making cheese out of nuts, and using aquafaba in place of eggs for noodles. This was far more work than I typically put into one meal, but it was a lot of fun.
My favorite component of this dish was the almond ricotta. Everything was delicious, but the ricotta tasted and felt amazingly accurate. It was like eating real ricotta. My carnivorous husband agrees – it was fantastic.
By the way, I can’t really call him my “carnivorous husband” anymore. The other day he told me that he’s ready to bite the bullet and become vegetarian. I was pretty surprised, but I guess that my lovingly patient example and all the delicious foods we have been eating were able to convince him that not eating meat isn’t the end of the world, and is something that we can totally handle. Super awesome!
He says he still wants eggs and dairy, and if someone serves meat at an event or party, he probably won’t turn it down. Baby steps.
On a different note, I was excited to discover, as I was putting the layers together for the lasagna, that with the green noodles, red sauce, and white cheeses, this made a delightfully festive-looking dish!
Festive Vegan Lasagna with Homemade Spinach Kale Noodles, Almond Ricotta, and Cashew Mozzarella
Makes 1 large pan of lasagna, about 18-24 servings
Spinach Kale Noodles
Simple Red Sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking dish (10×15-inch) with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Spread a large spoonful of sauce over bottom of pan. Layer ingredients: 1/3 of the noodles, 1/3 of the sauce, 1/2 of the vegetables, 1/2 of the ricotta, and 1/3 of the mozzarella. Repeat layers one time. Finish with remaining noodles, sauce, and mozzarella.
Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Let set at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.
Spinach Kale Noodles
Adapted from Our Best Bites
1/2 cup aquafaba (liquid drained from canned beans, usually chickpeas)
2 tbsp water
2 cups loosely packed spinach
2 cups loosely packed kale, torn in pieces, spine removed
1 1/2 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
Place aquafaba, water, spinach, and kale in a food processor. Pulse until smooth, scraping down sides if necessary. Add flour and salt, and pulse until dough comes together into a ball.
Turn dough out onto either a very lightly floured cutting board, or a silicone baking mat that has been sprayed lightly with nonstick spray. Form dough into a ball and spray rolling pin with nonstick spray. Roll dough out into a very thin layer. It may be helpful to roll out only half of dough at a time. Alternately, if you have a pasta machine, or attachment for a kitchenaid, you can use that. Roll as thin as possible and then cut into thick, lasagna noodle-sized strips. Let strips sit for about 20 minutes.
In the mean time, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, cooking in small batches to avoid crowding. Cook each batch for about 3-4 minutes. Drain and lay out on cooling racks until time to make lasagna.
Simple Red Sauce
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
2 tsp Italian seasoning
Salt to taste
Combine all ingredients and set aside until ready to use.
8 oz button mushrooms
1 can olives
1 can artichoke hearts
Salt, garlic powder, and onion powder to taste
Chop mushrooms. Saute in skillet sprayed with cooking spray until mushrooms release their juices. Remove from heat.
Slice olives and chop artichoke hearts. Add to mushrooms, along with seasonings to taste. Set aside.
Adapted From Beard & Bonnet
2 cups raw blanched almonds, soaked in water to cover overnight then rinsed and drained
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
Combine almonds and water in a good processor. Puree until the mixture is smooth with some texture left to it, but there are no large chunks of almonds remaining.
Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and line with cheesecloth. Then add the almond mixture to the strainer and allow it to drain for 8 hours at room temperature.
Add lemon juice and salt. Set aside until ready to build lasagna.
From It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken
3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover overnight then rinsed and drained
3 cup hot water
8 tbsp tapioca starch (also known as tapioca flour)
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp garlic powder
Add all ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth. It will be very watery.
Pour into a small sauce pan and heat over medium high heat, while stirring.
As you stir it will start forming clumps, and then quickly become thick and gooey and stretchy. This takes about 5 minutes. Continue to cook and stir for an additional 2 minutes to make sure it has firmed up completely.
Set aside until ready to build lasagna. When layering this cheese onto the lasagna, the gooey, stretchy texture makes it difficult to spread. Just do your best, it doesn’t have to look perfect.
All of these components come together to make a delicious, cheesy lasagna, that also happens to be completely plant-based and healthy!