It was Vegan Friday yesterday, cold and rainy in the KzN sunshine Province and it was a day for comfort food deluxe!
Wanting a change from the usual curries or roasted veggies and soups, and any tomato-based sauce, I opted for a butternut based lasagne, one that I tried with aubergine in the past, with equal success. Having run out of my creamy Cheese sauce, which is also apt for this recipe, I decided to use a cashew cheese sauce, with a courser texture this time around. The blend of the cashew cheese and butternut marry perfectly, and the addition of baby spinach pesto makes this a totally decadent vegetarian lasagne, that passed the Mom test too!
This recipe is a simple one to put together, and if you make the cashew cheese and the pesto well ahead of time, roasting the butternut is effortless – this lasagne can be put together and baked within an hour. Peppery kale leaves or de-stemmed spinach replaces the baby spinach well.
It’ s amazing comfort food during cold rainy days, also an alternative to protein on vegan days and for the Hindu community that has began a month long meat abstinence fast, this real foods veggie lasagne, makes a delicious meal for those following a Paleo or grains free lifestyle.
FOR THE CASHEW CHEESE
2 cups raw cashews (soaked in water for at least 2 hours & drained)
½ cup water
½ tsp garlic powder and / or onion powder
1 tsp Himalayan or Sea salt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
- Soak 2 cups of cashews in cold water for about 2-3 hours to allow the cashews to soften.
- Drain cashews and add the rest of the ingredients into a blender of food processor and process until a creamy, smooth “cheese” develops. Keep the cheese aside for assembling the butternut lasagne.
FOR THE BABY SPINACH PESTO
4 cups Baby spinach OR Spinach leaves only, OR Kale leaves
1 tsp crushed fresh garlic
2 tsp nutritional yeast
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Himalayan or Sea salt and freshly milled black or lemon pepper to taste
- Add all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. If required, add more olive oil as necessary, up to 2 teaspoons more. Keep the pesto aside for assembling the lasagne.
about 1kg butternut round slices (cut from the stem of the butternut, not the base)
2 tblsp extra-virgin olive oil
Himalayan or Sea salt to taste
Baby Spinach pesto (as detailed above)
Cashew cheese (as detailed above)
- Pre-heat the oven to 200° Celsius and line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Peel the butternut, and cut the bulb base off (you may use it for other butternut meals).
- Cut the butternut into about 2 cm round disc and then cut each disc in half, rendering a half moon shaped butternut disc. You should have enough for about 2 layers of the lasagne if you use a 25cm casserole or baking dish.
- Toss the butternut slices with 2 tsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper, arrange the slices in a single layer on the oven tray and bake for about 15 minutes until the butternut is tender.
- Remove the oven tray and allow the roasted butterut to cool until you can handle the slices. Now reduce the oven temperature to 180° celsius.
- Lightly grease an ovenproof dish with coconut oil and start by arranging the butternut slices slightly overlapping. Spoon on the pesto, the cashew cheese. Add another layer of butternut half rounds, and continue with the filling, until you end with a layer of butternut.
- Bake the lasagne for about 25-30 minutes and serve with a crisp, fresh green salad, or as preferred.