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Pretty Wild Vegan Sun Dried Tomato Lasagna

Let’s be honest. This is the lasagna of your dreams. I mean, really. It is amazingly delicious food for body, soul, and spirit. It is worthy of main entree place-of-honor at any dinner party. Like any really wonderful lasagna, it also takes a little something to prepare. So Be Forwarned. This is not a quick recipe. AND the time and the effort it takes are definitely worth it.
I recommend that you prepare the fillings and sauce first, before boiling the noodles. The fillings could easily be prepared up to 4 days before assembling the lasagna. It could be longer if you prepare and freeze them in individual containers. If frozen, take the packages out to thaw before assembling the lasagna. You could save baking time if all the fillings are hot before you begin layering. Prepare the noodles just before assembly. OK? OK! Here we go!

Sun Dried Tomato Spaghetti Sauce
  • 1-24 oz jar no-sugar added spaghetti sauce or make your own. I use Silver Palate Brand Tomato-Basil 
  • 1-14oz can fire roasted tomatoes, pureed
  • .5 oz fresh garlic (2-3 good sized cloves) minced or put through a garlic press
  • 1 Tbsp and 1/8 tsp NO OIL sun dried tomatoes, blitzed to powder in a food processor or grinder
  • 1/4 Cup dry wine like chardonnay 
  • Add salt ONLY after thickening, 1/2 tsp salt (approximate)

Method Put all ingredients except salt in a sauce pan on medium heat. Bring to simmer. Simmer uncovered to reduce, stirring occasionally. Be patient. Allow sauce to thicken until you can dip a spoon into the sauce and it thickly coats and clings the back of the spoon. Add salt after thickening, adjusting to taste.

The Filling Layers
Cashew Ricotta (adapted from https://minimalistbaker.com/whipped-almond-ricotta-5-ingredients/ Almond Ricotta) Expect a final yield of about 3 (+ or -) cups cashew ricotta 

  • 2.5 Cups raw cashews, soaked in water overnight. Discard water after soaking cashews.
  • 2-3 tsp nutritional yeast (plus more to taste)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 – 3/4 tsp sea salt or pink himalayan salt
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/4 – 1 Cup water
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh basil chopped fine

Method

  1. Add all ricotta ingredients except the basil (starting with the lesser amount of water (1/4 cup) and salt (1/2 tsp) as original recipe is written) to a high-speed blender and blend until mostly smooth and creamy, scraping down sides as needed (~2 minutes). You are looking for a well-puréed mixture with only very small bits of cashews intact. Add a bit more water a little at a time if the blender is having a hard time working the mixture until smooth.
  2. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, gradually adding more salt for overall flavor, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, and lemon juice for acidity.
  3. Fold in chopped basil. Mix till well combined. Taste it to make sure you like it.

8 oz white button mushrooms sliced and sautéed or steamed. Stems removed and reserved. Squeeze out and collect extra liquid after cooking. Reserve liquid for another day when you need mushroom or vegetable stock.

2 cups mixed onions, garlic, green bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms including reserved mushroom stems from above, small diced, sautéed.
1 green bell pepper small diced
1 medium onion small diced
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 zucchini small diced
6-8 whole mushrooms, and reserved stems small diced
1/2 tsp dried oregano

8 oz fresh spinach, steamed. Press out and collect extra liquid after steaming. Reserve liquid for another day when you need vegetable stock.

1 1/2 Cups winter squash cubed, roasted or steamed to fork tender. Lightly dust the squash with maybe 1/4 tsp nutmeg (you can use a little more nutmeg, but it is a strong spice. So go easy!) After dusting with nutmeg, flatten each cube with a fork so that it will lay nicely as a layer in the lasagna. 

Noodles- Choose your favorite. If you are gluten-free, use Brown Rice Chickpea, or Green Lentil pasta. Prepare per directions on the box. AND no matter what the directions say, DO NOT OVERCOOK!
You could also use larger summer squash or zucchini rather thinly sliced lengthwise. Lay them in the pan just like lasagna noodles.
Use Whole Wheat pasta, if you are gluten tolerant. 

Lasagna Assembly (SEE PHOTOS) Preheat Oven to 350F. 

Start with 1-2 ladles full of sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan.
Place 1 layer of noodles or noodle substitutes on top of the sauce layer.
Spread 1/2 of cashew ricotta mixture on top of the noodles. Spread it out evenly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula dipped in water.
Put down a solid layer of the onion, garlic, peppers, zucchini mixture. Spread evenly.
Next put down a layer of spinach like broken clouds in the sky 🙂
Next layer mushrooms the same way as the spinach, evenly but not a solid layer.
Layer the flattened squash, the same as the spinach and mushrooms, like clouds with the sun peeking through.
Add a 2-3 ladles full of sauce and spread to cover veggies.
Place another layer of pasta noodles
Spread the last of the ricotta on top of the noodles. Spread it out evenly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula dipped in water. The ricotta should completely cover the noodles.
Add more sauce as final layer. Spread it out to cover top of cheese layer. Ricotta should still be visible through the red sauce.

Cover with foil and bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or till bubbling. The time will vary depending how hot or cold your ingredients are when assembling the lasagna.
Remove from oven when bubbling. Remove foil cover. No need to wait for the cheese to set, cause there isn’t any LOL! Serve.

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