It was a lasagna free-for-all.
I was really excited about it, and I wanted to share it right away, but I'm sort of glad I didn't. It almost makes it seem as though I'm not fixated on making cooked and raw versions of the same recipe, at the same time.1
Although, I'm not sure enough time has elapsed between lasagna recipes to actually give that impression.2
It looks sorta fancy, but it's really not difficult at all; it simply requires a little bit of prep time. There's no need for a dehydrator. As long as you have a food processor (a mandoline is also really helpful), you're all set.
Again, I wanted to make it nut free. I know I've mentioned before how so many "gourmet" raw foods rely quite heavily3 on nuts. I also didn't want it to taste overwhelmingly of Nama Shoyu/Tamari and garlic. A LOT of gourmet raw food restaurants and recipes go nuts4 with the Nama Shoyu.
Nama Shoyu contains wheat, so it's off-limits for me - and many others. Tamari, instead, is traditionally wheat free. Contrary to once popular opinion that Tamari is not raw, unless it has been pasteurized, it is just as "raw" as Nama Shoyu. Some even say that health-wise, Tamari is superior, since it has been produced in the same tradition for thousands of years. Because Tamari is fermented, I don't go out of my way to avoid it; however, I prefer Coconut Aminos, if I want a tangy, salty addition to foods.
Little side note: Have you noticed how raw food restaurants all have the same smell? It's not just me, right? (It's Nama Shoyu/Tamari and garlic; I'm sure of it.)
So there are no nuts and no Nama. I used a splash of Coconut Aminos in the mushrooms, but it could be omitted, without sacrificing the flavor one bit.
Raw, Nut Free Lasagna
- 1/2 large Eggplant or 4 medium Zucchini
- 1 Cup ( 100g) White Button or Crimini Mushrooms
- 1/2 small Red Pepper
- 2 tsp Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Rosemary (finely chopped)
- 2 tsp Coconut Aminos (optional)
- Sea Salt
- 2 1/2 Cups (240g) Cauliflower Florets
- 1/2 large (40g) Avocado
- 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional - I know it's not technically raw)
- Pumpkin Seed Pesto (optional - see recipe below; if you choose to skip the pesto, you might want to add a small handful of parsley or basil)
- Sea Salt to taste
- 1 1/2 Cups (100g) Sundried Tomatoes
- 5-6 Green Olives
- 4-6 large Basil Leaves
- 1/2 small clove Garlic (optional)
Pre-Prep: Soak the tomatoes in 1/4 to 1/2 cup (depending on how dry they are) of filtered water for at least one hour. They can also be soaked overnight.
Thinly slice the mushrooms and red pepper. Then toss them together with the Coconut Aminos, one teaspoon of olive oil, rosemary, and a pinch of sea salt. If you're not using the Coconut Aminos, use 1/3 to 1/2 tsp of salt instead, and mix it with 2 tsp of filtered water to help the salt distribute over the veggies.
Set the vegetables aside to marinate.
Peel the eggplant (or zucchini, if you're using that instead), and slice it lengthwise, using a mandoline set to the thinnest setting.
Gently rub or toss the eggplant in a mixture of 2 Tbsp of filtered water, 1 tsp olive oil, and 1/2 tsp of sea salt.
Spread the eggplant in a shallow pan, leaving the olive oil/salt mixture with it.
Set it aside to marinate, while you prepare the pesto, the ricotta and the sauce.
In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it is chopped into small, crumbly pieces. Add the avocado and a couple pinches of sea salt. Continue to process until the mixture becomes smooth. It could take a few minutes to smooth out as the cauliflower releases its water, so be patient. Even after it begins to become smooth, there will still be a bit of texture - that's good though!
Pumpkin Seed Pesto
Combine pumpkin seeds, basil, and garlic in a food processor or mini blender. Pulse until the everything is evenly chopped. Add the olive oil and a pinch of salt, and continue to blend until the consistency is even, scraping down the sides of the food processor, if necessary.
- 1/2 Cup (56g) Pumpkin Seeds (soaked 2-4 hours)
- 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 small handful Fresh Basil Leaves
- 1/2 large Garlic Clove
- Sea Salt to taste
Add the nutritional yeast and process for a couple of seconds to fully incorporate the ingredients.
Your finished "ricotta" should look like the image to the right. It will be greenish. Green is good for you!
Spoon your ricotta into a bowl, and swirl in the Pumpkin Seed Pesto. If you're not using the pesto, feel free to add some fresh basil, rosemary, or parsley5 to the ricotta while blending.
Set the ricotta aside so you can prepare the sauce.
Toss the soaked tomatoes (including the soaking water), olives, basil, and garlic into the food processor, and process until the mixture reaches a smooth, even consistency.
Now it's time to assemble the lasagna. The wonderful thing about the raw lasagna is that you don't need a pan; you can assemble it right on the serving plate.
Before beginning, make sure your eggplant and veggies are tender. If not, allow them to marinate for a bit longer.
1. Arrange approximately three slices of eggplant (or 6-7 slices of zucchini), overlapping slightly, so they form a (more or less) square shape.
2. Spread an even layer of the ricotta mixture over the eggplant.
3. Layer the marinated veggies over the ricotta.
4. Spread an even layer of the tomato sauce over the veggies.
Repeat steps 1-4, until all of the eggplant is used - I ended up with about five layers. Cover the top layer with one more layer of eggplant, and spread a layer of tomato sauce over the eggplant.
The lasagna can be served immediately or set aside for an hour or so, to "rest". The flavors will have a chance to meld and develop, and the vegetables will continue to release some water. The liquid can be carefully poured off before serving.
I prefer to let the lasagna rest, especially if I'm serving it to guests; this way the lasagna doesn't end up sitting in a puddle, after an hour on the dinner table.
1. Humor me?
2. And I just completely tipped my hand anyway.
3. Resulting in heavier foods.
4. And with nuts! Heh! Oh boy...
5. More green! So lovely.