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Cafeteria / 12-Volt Vegetarian Lasagna

6/21/13:  12-Volt Vegetarian Lasagna

A pasta dish and a battery term.  Hmm.  Where’s the connection??  Well, I’m calling this “12-Volt” lasagna because:

  1. It tastes so good, you’ll be wired and ready for more
  2. With it being vegetarian and almost dairy-free and maybe gluten-free, it’s hitting many of the “good for you” boxes like a 12-volt jackhammer
  3. It’s so heavy, you will need a tool powered by a 12-volt battery to lift it when it’s done!

So, I first have to give credit to Sunny Sanguity1, the person I got the recipe from originally.  Unlike I usually do, I didn’t muck and experiment with the original too much because it was pretty much good as-is.

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So, let’s get to laying it down!

1.       Make some Cashew “Cheese”

Cashew “cheese”???  I know!  That’s what –I- said.  But this stuff takes the place of the dairy ricotta cheese, and it’s REALLY good.  (In fact, I think I’m gonna go make some now, just for the heck of it, and just to have something to dip some chips into.)

a.       Ingredients:

–   2 tbs of Earth Balance butter (this is non-dairy butter that takes like the real thing.  You should be able to find it at most grocery stores that have a natural foods section)

–   ¼ cup of brown rice flour

–   ½ cup of soy/almond/rice milk

–   ½ to 1 cup of water

–   ¼ cup of cashews (I use salted & roasted cashews)

–   2/3 cup of nutritional yeast (Yes, 2/3 cup, and no:  this is not the regular kind of yeast you find in an itty-bitty pouch.  It’s “nutritional yeast,” so it’s a little different.  I easily found this at the Farmer’s Market in the flour/sugar/etc section.)

–   ¼ tsp of salt

–   ½ red bell pepper, roasted

b.      Instructions:

–   Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.

–   Slowly add in and whisk the flour in with the melted butter, like you were making a roux.

–   Slowly add in and whisk the milk.

–   Slowly add in and whisk the water.  You want this concoction smooth and lump-free.  Add more water if it’s still too thick and/or chunky.

–   Into a food processor, add the roux mixture you just made, the cashews, and the salt.  Pulse/chop/blend.  Basically, push the “on” button and let it run til it’s all smooth.

–   Gradually add the nutritional yeast while the processor is whirring, making sure you stop and scrape the sides of the processor bowl occasionally.

–   Once that’s all done, add the red pepper and whir it all for about 10 more seconds.

 

2.       Prepare the Lasagna Sheets

So, this is where the “maybe gluten-free” part comes in.  DeBoles makes some gluten-free lasagna sheets.  However, my store didn’t carry these 🙁    So instead, I used “Delverde Lavorazione Artigianale, N. 108, Ondine.”   Sounds all fancy and cosmopolitan, doesn’t it?? 🙂   Translation:  Instant Lasagna with Spinach (made by a company named Delverde).

 

a.       Ingredients:

–       Lasagna sheets

b.      Instructions:

–       Prepare lasagna sheets according to package directions. (With the ones I used as mentioned above, you just let them soak for a few minutes in some warm water before using them in the lasagna pan.  Easy-breezy.)

 

3.       Get’cher Veggies Ready!

It will be helpful and easier to have all of your lasagna fillings all prepared and ready to go when it’s time to start layering, so let’s get to it.  Note:  Below are the veggies that I used, but you could probably use just about whatever veggies float your boat.

a.       Ingredients:

–       1 white onion, chopped

–       5 cloves of garlic, chopped (Eh.  4? 5? 6?  If you love garlic, use more.  If not, use less.)

–       2 zucchini, sliced

–       2 yellow squash, sliced

–       12 mushrooms, sliced (Crimini? Baby Bella?  Whichever, whatever.)

–       1 carrot, grated

–       2 handfuls of baby spinach

–       1 handful of fresh basil leaves

–       Other, Non-Veggie ingredients:

– Package of vegan mozzarella cheese

– One 15 oz. can of tomato sauce

– Salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes

b.      Instructions:

–       Cut and slice and dice and open and get ready all of the stuff above

–       Now would also be a good time to preheat your oven to 350o F.

 

4.       Get to Layering and Creating Your Masterpiece

Let the lasagna-ing begin!

a.       Ingredients:

–       The Cashew Cheese you made in step 1.

–       The lasagna sheets from step 2.

–       The veggies and other ingredients from step 3.

–       A lasagna pan

b.      Instructions:

–       Put one layer of the lasagna pasta sheets on the bottom of the pan (depending on the size of your pan and the sheets, it may take 2 to 4 sheets to cover the whole pan)

–       Spread half of the cashew cheese [over the pasta sheets]

–       Sprinkle half of the onions and garlic[ over the cashew cheese]

–       Place half of the zucchini, squash, and mushrooms [over the onions and garlic]

–       Sprinkle on half of the grated carrot (over.. eh, you get the idea.)

–       Drizzle on half of the tomato sauce

–       Toss on half of the spinach and the basil leaves

–       Toss on half of the mozzarella

–       Season as desired with salt and pepper

Layer #1 is done!  Now, time to rinse and repeat.  (No, not REALLY rinse it.  Geez!  Don’t take things so seriously/literally… 🙂  )

–       Add another layer of the lasagna pasta sheets on top of that, and repeat the steps from above (I.e., #1_pasta, #2_cashew cheese, #3_onions & garlic, etc.)

 Layer #2 is done!

–       Add another layer of the lasagna pasta sheets on top of layer 2.

–       Toss the rest of the mozzarella on top
(Note:  I –LOVE- fresh parmesan, so I also sprinkled some fresh-grated vegetarian parmesan on top along with the mozzarella.)

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By now, your pan should weigh about 512 lbs or so.

–       Get that 12-volt-powered hydraulic lift and place the pan in the oven, letting it bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.

Enjoy!  (And try not to feel silly that you’re actually enjoying something vegetarian this much…)

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Roll Credits:

1Sunny Sanguity. (2013). Delicious Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, (Optionally) Vegan Lasagna.  Retrieved June 13, 2013 from http://www.sunnysanguinity.com/2012/09/delicious-gluten-free-dairy-free-almost-vegan-lasagna/

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