Squash Lasagna with Homemade Cashew Ricotta
There is no way you can resist making just one lasagna after the first time you try this. Double my recipe for yummy leftovers.
Oh luscious lasagna, you are so delicious just the mention of your name makes my mouth water. What really sets me over the top is the mere mention of butternut squash, for I am a tried and true pumpkin addict. Combining the two is pure culinary bliss .What if you could have a healthy cholesterol free version that happens to be lower calorie and wheat free ? Well recently I discovered squash planks at my local Giant supermarket. With the craze for wheat free and low calorie version of noodles ripping up the internet, the supermarkets have jumped on board to meet consumer needs .
In the Philadelphia area where I reside, most markets have spiralized carrots, sweet potatoes, green and yellow zucchini to make healthier spaghetti. Now they have veggies sliced into thin sheets on a deli slicer to mimic lasagna noodles. They came out during the holidays but due to its popularity, they are available year round just like the spiralized versions. an added bonus is these lasagna noodles are naturally gluten free.
Cashew ricotta is what really makes this recipe mouthwatering . Adding a hint of cinnamon to both ricotta and the spaghetti sauce is part of my Italian family heritage and makes all the flavors zing in a symphony of pure pleasure. If you cannot find the pre-sliced squash you can always substitute your favorite pre-cooked lasagna noodle. The combination of spices and vegan cheese will still make this the best lasagna you ever devoured.
8 oz of raw cashews
salt and pepper to taste
1 package of pre-cut butternut squash planks -about 10-12 planks
2 cups vegan shredded mozzarella
2 1/2 T. chopped fresh basil or 1 T dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 T. olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 jar (about 4 cups) of marina sauce or your favorite tomato sauce
1 cup of mini heirloom tomatoes
Make the vegan Ricotta
Soak the raw cashews in a jar of water for 4 hours .Drain out the water by spreading your fingers over the top of the jar and flip over. Add the softened cashews to a high speed blender such as a Vitamix or a Bullet. Add the juice of 1 lemon and a hint of salt and a dash of cinnamon. Pulse to see how much moister is required then add a little water and process until the mixture resembles the consistency of ricotta. If you overdo the blending or added too much water do not fret. Making cashew cheese can be a finicky process but this lasagna is very forgiving.
Preheat oven to 400 F
1.Spread the squash planks out and sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt.
2.Saute the garlic in 1 T of the oil until golden brown. Add the tomato sauce, basil and oregano and the rest of the cinnamon. Heat until simmering.
3.Drizzle the remaining oil in a medium baking pan or casserole dish. spread 1/4 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom.
4.Layer 4 squash planks on the bottom .You may have to cut to fit .
5. Layer the vegan ricotta, then sauce, then another layer of squash
6. Layer the vegan mozzarella, then sauce then squash if there are any left .
7. Top with mini tomatoes and any fresh basil you have left .
8. Set the baking dish on a baking sheet to catch drippings. Bake 50-55 minutes yntil bubbly and center is is tender when pierced with a fork.
9.Let cool 10 -15 minutes before cutting and serving.