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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!
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 LayersCashew Ricotta (adapted from https://minimalistbaker.com/whipped-almond-ricotta-5-ingredients/ Almond Ricotta) Expect a final yield of about 3 (+ or -) cups cashew ricotta
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 diced1 medium onion small diced2 cloves garlic, pressed2 zucchini small diced6-8 whole mushrooms, and reserved stems small diced1/2 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 noodlesSpread 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.