A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

Vegan Lasagna

Is there anything better than a piece of hearty lasagna in the middle of winter?  San Diego’s December nights might not rival other parts of the country, but it still feels cold to me!  A good vegan lasagna recipe eluded me for years.  That was until I tried Angela Liddon’s recipe from her vegan blog, Oh She Glows.  According to Tom (that’s my boyfriend for those of you who are new readers!), the lasagna is “better than any dish in a restaurant.”  To see Ms. Liddon’s lasagna post click on:

http://ohsheglows.com/2011/11/07/vegan-lasagna-with-basil-cashew-cheeze/

 

Piece of Lasagna
Piece of Lasagna

 

The brilliance of this lasagna is the basil cashew cheese.  Most vegan lasagna recipes try to mimic vegan ricotta cheese and the results are tasteless.  The basil and lemon give this cheese and the lasagna as a whole a bold, zesty flavor.

Round up the ingredients.

 

Basil Cashew Cheese Ingredients
Basil Cashew Cheese Ingredients

 

You’ll notice that this recipe calls for 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water.  I like using vegetable broth, because it helps to enhance flavor.  In the past, I often found myself buying 32 ounce boxes of vegetable broth, using a small portion, and then having the remainder sit in my refrigerator forgotten long after its expiration date.   So, I was thrilled when I attended a cooking class and experimented with Better Than Bouillon, a paste that when mixed with water makes a savory vegetable broth.  Now I keep a jar of it on hand, so I can make vegetable broth whenever I want!

 

 

Throw all of the ingredients in the blender.

 

Basil Cashew Cheese Ingredients in Blender
Basil Cashew Cheese Ingredients in Blender

 

After the ingredients are blended, you will end up with a bright, green sauce.

 

Basil Cashew Cheese in Bowl
Basil Cashew Cheese in Bowl

 

It’s then time to begin on the other lasagna layers.  Chop up the onion and garlic…

 

Onion and Garlic
Onion and Garlic

 

And sautee them in a pan.

 

Onion and Garlic in Pan
Onion and Garlic in Pan

 

Then chop up the zucchini, mushrooms,

 

Chopped Veggies
Chopped Veggies

 

And bell peppers.  Then add all of the veggies to the pan with the onion and garlic.

 

Sauteed Veggies
Sauteed Veggies

 

And what would lasagna be without the noodles?  Add the noodles to boiling water.  Remember to cook them al dente.  They will continue to soften and absorb moisture while the lasagna cooks in the oven.

 

Noodles Boiling in Water
Noodles Boiling in Water

 

Drain the noodles, and rinse them with cold water.

 

Noodles in Strainer
Noodles in Strainer

 

The hard part is over.  It’s now time to assemble the lasagna!  First, begin with a layer of marinara sauce.  Use 1/3 of your marinara sauce for this layer (you will use the rest for additional layers later).

 

1st Layer: Tomato Sauce
1st Layer: Tomato Sauce

 

Next the spinach layer.  I like to add lots of spinach to give this vegan lasagna extra nutrition!

 

2nd Layer: Spinach
2nd Layer: Spinach

 

Then add a layer of noodles!

 

3rd Layer: Noodles
3rd Layer: Noodles

 

And a layer of basil cashew cheese.

 

4th Layer: Basil Cashew Cheese
4th Layer: Basil Cashew Cheese

 

And finally a layer of veggies.

 

5th Layer: Vegetables
5th Layer: Vegetables

 

It’s then time to do it all again!  Tomato sauce, spinach, noodles, basil cashew cheese, and vegetables.  Finally, add a 3rd layer of marinara sauce and a liberal sprinkling of shredded vegan cheese!

 

Final Layer: Vegan Cheese
Final Layer: Vegan Cheese

 

Cover the lasagna with tin foil and put it in the oven.  Soon your home will begin to fill with mouth-watering aromas.  Remember to then remove the tin foil off, and cook the lasagna for an additional 5 minutes!

 

Taking Tin Foil Off of Vegan Lasagna
Taking Tin Foil Off of Vegan Lasagna

 

The lasagna is almost too beautiful to cut!

 

Baked Vegan Lasagna
Baked Vegan Lasagna

 

But just almost.  If you’re like me, you’ll want to cut a piece, and try it while it’s still hot!

 

Piece of Vegan Lasagna
Piece of Vegan Lasagna

 

Unless you’re serving this lasagna at a big dinner party, you’re sure to have leftovers.  This lasagna tastes great cold or re-heated in the toaster oven.  I’ve been known to eat a piece for breakfast!

 

Vegan Lasagna
 

Ingredients
  • Basil Cashew Cheese
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1.5 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Lasagna
  • 10 ounce box of lasagna noodles
  • 1.5 bottles of marinara sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 1 bag vegan shredded cheese (I used Daiya)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Sautee onion and garlic on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  3. Add zucchini and bell pepper to pan and continue to sautee.
  4. Add salt to sautee for extra flavor.
  5. Bring large pot of water to a boil, and boil noodles for 8 minutes.
  6. Rinse immediately with cold water. Note that the noodles will not be fully cooked. They will continue to absorb moisture while cooking in the oven.
  7. Add ⅓ of your marinara sauce to the casserole dish. Add a layer of spinach, noodles, half of the basil cashew cheese, and half of the vegetables.
  8. Add the second portion of your marinara sauce, another layer of spinach and noodles, the other half of the basil cashew cheese, and the other half of the vegetables.
  9. Add the final portion of marinara sauce and liberally sprinkle the shredded vegan cheese on top of the casserole.
  10. Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes. Remove tin foil and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.
  11. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator.

 

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