Of course I am! This is my weekly staple at least as long as I am getting fabulous broccoli and while I am out of lasagne sheets. Hm … lasagne ….
Lasagne without cheese and meat you say doesn’t work?
Well … if you feel better you can call it Vasagne – I don’t mind. What makes lasagne great imho is the feeling you get from eating it!
So when trying to get vegan lasagne right, I asked myself what it is I love about it. Here is my list:
- melting flavours which touch all senses
- fabulous smell while making it
- awesome looks (from the top and the layers), especially important are the right colors
- it tastes better the next day
- there is never enough of it
This time I used lentils, spinach and peppers, just because they were still hanging around in my fridge.
Now … you won’t find the typical recipe style ingredients list etc here. There are enough blogs out there that do this. My intention is to communicate the basic essence of this dish and know what I did for the next time!
I started with soaking the cashews – 1 pack of it. Should have been a little less than 1 cup.
While they soak, I take care of the red sauce. This time I decided to want some more protein in this dish, if you don’t just leave out the lentils.
A great sauce always starts with at least 5 minutes on the onions so they are melting.
1 minute for the garlic to mingle with the onions and I like to also focus a little bit on the tomato paste so it develops a nice lovely taste.
Before I add the crushed tomatoes and a bay leaf (don’t forget to take it out later!), I add in some spices – think basil, oregano and pepper.
One of the big benefits of vegan cooking is that you can taste everything while you do it – so take advantage of it! I always like to add a little bit of balsamic vinegar de modena and something sweet. I had forgotten carrots, so I just use a tiny bit of sugar. Warning – sugar isn’t considered vegan by some due to the manufacturing process, use your own judgement.
One hour later the sauce is done. If you can’t stop yourself eating parts of it already, you found the right taste. If not – keep spicing it up!
While stirring the sauce from time to time, I like cutting up and preparing the rest of the veg I’ll use. This time washing the spinach, removing the stems and cutting the peppers was all that had to be done.
Now comes the fun part – the cashew cheese sauce! Yes I know how it looks “undone”, but this ain’t a beauty contest and I am not looking to win any award or sell cookbooks, so you get the real food shots!
So what do I put in there?
The previously soaked cashews and 3/4 cup of water, ~2 tsp tahin, squeezed a little bit lemon in there to give it some tang, half a garlic clove (the other one is in the sauce), don’t forget to remove the heart), ~half a tsp salt, 1 tsp arrowroot starch (you can also probably use agar agar or anything that makes things thick I’d presume) and last but not least 3 tsps of nutritional yeast.
Blend it and done!
Now all that is needed is putting it together:
Important here is to put sauce on the bottom first. I usually do: red sauce > lasagne sheets > red sauce > white sauce, veg and rinse and repeat.
Put it in the oven on 180 degree Celsius for ~1 hour or until the “cheese” looks nice.
Once you take it out, you have to wait! If you wait it will look much nicer than in my picture, but I was starving!