The Best Lasagna in the World!

My husband and I were pretty blown away while eating this lasagna but then again, we haven’t had “real lasagna in a few years, so it’s not fair to go by us. However the reason I’m really convinced this was a grand slam dish was because of my dad’s reaction. He said:  “This was the best lasagna I ever had!!!”

I’m not trying to brag here about my cooking – I simply followed the recipe. It comes from one of my favorite cookbooks: Vegan For Everybody. They did a phenomenal job at creating this masterpiece. My absolute favorite part was the ricotta-like “cheese” made from cauliflower and cashews. It was on point!

Now, this meal does require several steps. I would suggest making this dish on a weekend or when you have some time on your hands since there’s a lot of chopping, blending, and dish cleaning involved. On the flip side, the sauce, filling and vegetables can be made in advance. I think I will do that next time to lessen the workload for the cooking day.

I have made other vegan lasagnas in the past, but this one is a keeper. The roasted eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini make it so hearty and filling. The slightly grainy ricotta-like texture of the “cheese” makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong; when in reality it’s a simple blend of cauliflower, cashews, olive oil and basil. Talk about a healthy cheese substitute!

Like most people, my dad has a pretty weak stomach when it comes to consuming lots of meat and cheese. Normal lasagna wouldn’t sit well with him. After he devoured this one, he couldn’t believe he didn’t have a stomach ache. He continued to rave about how good he felt. I’m pretty certain he won’t be eating regular lasagna again anytime soon!

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Tomato Sauce (Can be refrigerated for up to 1 day)

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes

1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon organic sugar (I used brown sugar)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Filling (Mixture can be refrigerated for up to 3 days) 

8 ounces cauliflower florets, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (2 1/4 cups)

1 1/2 cups raw cashews, chopped

Salt & pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

Vegetables (Cooked veggies can be refrigerated for up to a day)

1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

Salt

1 pound zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Lasagna:

12 no-boil lasagna noodles

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

**I found these no-boil noodles and they worked GREAT!

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INSTRUCTIONS: 

For the tomato sauce:

Process tomatoes, basil, oil, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper flakes in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 30 seconds. Transfer sauce to bowl and set aside (or refrigerate for up to 1 day).

For the filling:

Bring 3 quarts water to boil in a large saucepan. Add cauliflower florets, cashews and 2 teaspoons salt and cook until cauliflower is very soft and falls apart easily when poked with a fork, about 20 minutes. Drain cauliflower/cashew mixture in colander and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

Process cauliflower/cashew mixture, 3 tablespoons oil, and 1/4 cup of water in a clean, dry food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 2 minutes (mixture will be slightly grainy). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer 1/4 cup mixture to a bowl and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon oil and basil; set aside for topping. (This mixture can be refrigerated for up to 3 days).

For the vegetables: 

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss eggplant and mushrooms with 2 tablespoons oil, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt in bowl, then spread on rimmed baking sheet. Toss zucchini with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in now-empty bowl. Roast the eggplant-mushroom mixture until beginning to wilt, about 15 minutes. Remove sheet from oven, stir zucchini into vegetables, and continue to roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are slightly browned, eggplant and zucchini are tender, and most of juices have evaporated, 15 – 20 minutes. Set aside. (Can be refrigerated for up to 1 day).

For the lasagna: 

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 375 degrees. Grease a 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Spread 1 1/3 cups tomato sauce over bottom of dish. Arrange 4 noodles on top. Spread half of the cauliflower filling over noodles, followed by half of vegetables. Spread 1 1/3 cups tomato sauce over vegetables. Repeat layering with 4 noodles, remaining cauliflower filling, and remaining vegetables. Arrange remaining 4 noodles on top and cover completely with remaining tomato sauce.

Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake until the edges are bubbling, 45-50 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Dollop lasagna evenly with 8-10 spoonfuls of reserved cauliflower topping and let cool for 25 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon of basil, and serve.

 

 

 

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