A few months back, we got together with my husbands family for a lasagna dinner. We didn’t know we were having lasagna, but we were thrilled considering it is one of our favourite things to eat. One interesting thing about Justin’s family is that more than half of us are either vegetarian or vegan now- so finding food to eat is never a problem. However, this time the lasagna was only vegetarian- it still had cheese. If it was just me I would have gone ahead and eaten it, but baby girl cannot have milk, and so since I am nursing- I cannot have milk. Thankfully I did bring a dish with me knowing that there was a possibility that would be the case, so all was good. But it really made me miss lasagna and so I decided to make one that is officially dairy free.
My inspiration was a mixture of Angela Liddon from “Oh she Glows” and a Vegan lasagna my girlfriend had at her wedding rehearsal dinner, which I believe her sister made. I’m not crazy about the vegan cheeses out there so I wanted to try something that wouldn’t require any. I should clarify- the vegan cheeses taste amazing (Daiya!), but they are not the healthiest choice for regular use (mostly oil). We like to save up our vegan cheese use for when we grab nachos at our new favourite place: Democracy (on Locke Street). SUCH a treat.
Anyway, I went for it and made lasagna for dinner tonight. Let me tell you- it was GOOD! For starters, you would never know it was gluten free, and second of all- if you didn’t know, you probably wouldn’t even notice that it was vegan. My hubby ate 3 large pieces, and my 3 year old actually ate his whole plate (which rarely happens- especially with lasagna!), so it is safe to say that this is a keeper in our house. 🙂
I should add, I used my homemade tomato sauce recipe but if you were in a pinch or if you just had it around you could use any canned tomato sauce. Or if you have your own tomato sauce recipe, use that!
**I should also add that I had like 1/4 cup of cooked lentils leftover in my fridge from dinner the other night so I threw that into my sauce just for some extra protein**
- Gluten Free Lasagna Noodles (I used an oven ready brown rice noodle but if not using oven ready then you will want to cook the noodles prior- I have a small casserole dish and it used up 9 noodles, if yours is on the larger size maybe do a bit more)
- Nutritional Yeast
White Wine Tomato Sauce:
- Drizzle of grapeseed or olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 1c. water
- 1 bottle Passata (Strained Tomato Puree)
- 1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
- 2-3 TBSP Maple Syrup
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- Dash pepper
- 1 TBSP Italian Seasoning
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder (or 2 cloves fresh garlic if you have it)
- ¼ cup White wine (plus a little extra in a glass so you can drink some while you cook)
Cashew Cream Sauce
- 1 cup raw cashews (soaked in water for 2 hours)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¾ veggie broth
- Handful spinach
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Drizzle of grapeseed oil
- ½ cup water
- ½ crown broccoli, diced
- ¼ head of cauliflower, diced
- 1 red pepper, diced
- ¼ of an eggplant, diced
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
White Wine Tomato Sauce:
- Heat oil in pot over medium-high heat. Add in onions and heat until just tender.
- Add water and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate the onion bits into the water. It will steam and evaporate a lot of the water- that is okay and enhances the flavors even more.
- Add in passata and remaining ingredients and stir well. Bring to a boil for 1 minute and then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for atleast 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the spies to release their flavours and to fully integrate into the sauce.
Cashew Cream Sauce:
- After cashews have soaked at least 2 hours, drain water and place cashews in blender with the broth, garlic, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
- Add spinach into the blender mixture and continue to blend, again, until smooth.
- Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large frying pan on medium high heat. Once heated, add in broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, eggplant and garlic powder. Allow to sit for 30 seconds and then add in water to create more moisture to steam the vegetables in the pan.
- Cook until just tender. If the vegetables are starting to stick to the pan or are turning brown then add in a touch more water and cook until water is evaporated.
- Set aside.
Putting it all together:
- Remove sauce from heat and then preheat oven to 350F degrees.
- Take one scoop of tomato sauce and spread it along the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish.
- Layer lasagna noodles on top of the tomato sauce.
- Next, take half the vegetables and layer them on top of the noodles.
- Ladle 2-3 scoops of the tomato sauce over the vegetable layer so that they are fully covered. (You want to make sure that you have a generous amount of sauce leftover to place on the top- so if you are not good with eyeballing that kind of stuff then you may want to take that out first and set it aside in a separate bowl and then mentally divide the remaining sauce into two parts).
- Sprinkle a thin layer of nutritional yeast over sauce.
- Drizzle half of the cashew cream over the last layer. Spread evenly over the whole dish using a spatula or spoon and then lay lasagna noodles on top again.
- Repeat steps 4-7.
- After placing the last lasagna noodles atop the dish, ladle in the remaining tomato sauce. You want this layer to be fairly thick so that the edges of the noodles don’t get hard or crunchy.
- Sprinkle with nutritional yeast over the whole top of the casserole in whichever thickness you like.
- Cover in tinfoil and cook in oven, at 350F, for 1 hour, removing the tinfoil for the final 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before
garnishing with spinach and sprouts and taking a picturediving in. 🙂