Today I am home, visiting with one of my oldest and dearest friends on the east coast near Washington DC. It's so nice being here with our new baby, in the fall season. I took a jog today to really soak up autumn-the changing and falling leaves, the cool air against my skin, and the crisp colors.
We decided to make a big feast for dinner! We made one "regular" lasagna (gluten-free and free range meat) and one DELICIOUS vegan pumpkin lasagna. here's the recipe!
for the layers:
- *brown rice lasagna (you could use quinoa also, or any lasagna that's gluten-free)
- *1 1/2 C Pure canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) I like Trader Joes Organic canned pumpkin
- *for mock ricotta, see below
- *1 egg (or egg replacer like flax and water)
- *almond milk
- *4 C spinach
- *nutmeg, salt, pepper, sage to taste (i like a lot!)
- *nutritional yeast sprinkled on top for mock parmesan
- *cream sauce: 3 tbsp vegan butter (or regular if you don't care), 3 tbsp tapioca starch 1 1/4 almond milk
Time to play!
1. Prepare the brown rice lasagna according to the box instructions, until al dente (firm, not hard)
2. For the pumpkin sauce, mix pumpkin, egg replacer and 1/4 C almond milk. Then mix in nutmeg, salt, pepper and sage.
3. For the mock ricotta cheese:
- ½ cup macadamia nuts
- ½ cup almonds
- 1 can water, or enough to cover to the level of the nuts
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, you may want to add up to 2 more tsp
- 3 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup almonds, or up to 2 cups
Preparation for Mock Ricotta Cheese:
In your high powered blender, blend mac nuts, almonds, water, 1 tsp of salt, and apple cider vinegar. This will take about 7-8 minutes. Blend until very smooth.
Add the rest of the almonds, 1/4 c at a time, waiting until they are finely ground and fully incorporated. Taste and add more salt, if desired.
Blend until smooth, with a very slightly grainy texture (It should NOT be gritty). You may want to finish this in your food processor (unless you have a great blender).
4. Make the "cream" sauce by melting the butter on low heat. When it's melted, whisk in tapioca starch, then remove from heat. Slowly whisk in almond milk, then turn the heat back on and whisk constantly until the consistency is thickened enough to coat a spoon. (about 3-5 minutes)
5. Begin layering all the ingredients. Start with a small amount of the pumpkin sauce to layer on the casserole dish and to act as a non stick ingredient. Then add strips of lasagna. Then pumpkin sauce, then mock ricotta cheese. Add a layer of fresh spinach leaves. Then
drizzle the cream sauce on top.
Repeat the layers until you reach the top of the casserole dish. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast on top for a mock parmesan flavor.
6. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from oven, let sit for 10 minutes and serve warm.
7. Enjoy your delicious lasagna and store the leftovers or have a big meal and share with friends (with wine!!)!