Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Lasagna with Cashew "Cheese"

  • Serves 6.
Being constantly-touring singers, my husband & I have completely omitted cheese & other dairy from our diets. Dairy likes to cake-on your vocal cords, and when you sing as often as we do, it can really affect your vocal health. If you told me 3 years ago that I would order pizza sans cheese, and not miss it, I would have thought you were crazy. BUT, it's true. I'm okay with not eating cheese, especially when I can indulge in yummy substitutes like cashew "cheese!" 

I found this awesome cashew "cheese" recipe on The Blender Girl's blog*, and decided it would be a fun experiment to make lasagna using the cashew blend instead of ricotta, and nutritional yeast instead of parmesan. IT WORKED! My husband & parents went nuts over it, and I have to say, nobody missed the cheese. ;)

If you are vegan, just omit the turkey. This recipe would be delicious without it, as well!

  • Lasagna Ingredients:
  • Oven-Ready lasagna noodles
  • 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 jar of your favorite tomato marinara sauce
  • 2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 bags baby spinach
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced or minced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Cashew "Cheese" (recipe below)

  1. Directions for Lasagna:

  2. Preheat oven to 375°.
Make cashew cheese (recipe below). Set aside. Cook turkey over medium high heat in a large skillet. Salt & pepper to taste. Set aside. In the same pan, add a 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, half of the garlic, and 1 bag of baby spinach. Cook until fully wilted, and then repeat with 1/2 tbsp. olive oil, the rest of the garlic, and the 2nd bag of baby spinach. Set aside. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and mushrooms. Salt & pepper to taste, and cook until tender. In a large bowl, mix together turkey, spinach mixture, mushrooms, fresh basil, and tomato sauce.

Spread a thin layer of cashew "cheese" on the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish. Spread a little cashew "cheese" on the lasagna noodles, one at a time, to cover completely; place in a single layer in the baking dish. Top with turkey, spinach, etc. sauce mixture. Evenly sprinkle on some nutritional yeast flakes. Keep layering in the same order until all of the sauce is used (this should make 3 layers). For the top (4th) layer, spread cashew "cheese" on the noodles, make the layer, spread the rest of the cashew cheese over top, and sprinkle on some nutritional yeast. 

Rest lasagna for 30 minutes to allow the noodles to absorb liquid. Place in the oven & bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Rest at least 20 minutes before cutting.

  • Cashew "Cheese" Ingredients:
  • 4 cups soaked raw cashews (soaked for at least 2-4 hours)
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup nutritional yeast + more for sprinkling
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, ground

  1. Directions for Cashew "Cheese":

  2. *This cashew "cheese" recipe is adapted from The Blender Girl

  • Place the cashews, nutritional yeast, 1/2 of the water, 1/2 of the lemon juice, garlic and sea salt in the food processor and pulse until roughly blended.
  • Gradually add in more lemon juice, garlic, nutmeg and salt to taste.
  • Transfer the "cheese" to a bowl, and stir through the parsley.

    You want the "cheese" to be the consistency of ricotta. The more water you add, the creamier and thinner the cheese will become.

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