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If you're new to the world of raw foods, this is a wonderful way to get fully involved.  It takes a bit of prep but not a lot of knowledge.  Just one or two ingredients that may be unfamiliar, the rest will be just what you'd normally expect to find in a delicious Italian-style lasagna.  And despite any preconceived notions you may have about raw food, you will love this lasagna.  And if you're feeling under the weather, like my family has for far too long this season, it's a tasty & nutritious way to give your body some flu-fighting power.

It's 100% gluten-free, raw and vegan.

It's brightly colored, which not only means it's nutritous but also fun to eat.

It's full of vitamins and minerals.

This lasagna makes a wonderful light lunch or dinner, while still being substantial enough to fill you up.  J still has doubts every time I produce a meal lacking in the typical proteins he loves but always leaves the table satisfied.  The nuts and nutritional yeast (a nutty flavored deactivated yeast, full of protein and B-vitamins) provide a substantial amount of protein, while the veggies and citrus both vitamins and flavor.  Lots of flavor.  This dish is also a great way to get your kids involved with the stacking process and educate them about the benefits of eating fresh veggies.

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If you don't have a dehydrator and you're interested in eating more raw foods, I'd definitely recommend investing in one.  You can find them at a pretty affordable price and a cheap one will get the job done while you try out some raw basics.  I started with a Nesco and have been really happy with everything about it besides the shape.  If you're looking to make square items (crackers, fruit leather, or any kind of wrap), you'll want to splurge for the famous Excalibur.  

My Nesco works really well but it's circular and has a large hole running through the middle, as shown in the picture above.  BUT it has great temperature control, runs really quiet, and uses little energy (in comparison to the oven).

I have made raw tomato sauces more than once and have frequently been disappointed.  The extremely high water content in the tomatoes created too watery of a sauce and just not enough flavor for me to feel like it resembled a cooked tomato sauce.  So I had the idea to dehydrate the tomatoes overnight before making the sauce so see if I'd get both more flavor and a thicker consistency.  It worked like a charm!  

Just 12 hours at 105F (anything 115F and below is considered "raw" for nutritional preservation' sake) and I had shriveled little beauties that weren't TOO sticky-dry like the sun-dried options you common at the store.  When blended up with the rest of the ingredients in my fresh tomato sauce, they yielded a super flavoral and creamy sauce that very closely resembles a cooked sauce you'd find in your everyday lasagna.

Other than the extra step of dehydration, this lasagna comes together in about 45 minutes.  The recipe looks techinical (as many raw recipes do) with all the components to assemble.  But aside from having to repeatedly rinse out your food processor bowl, it's more or less dump in the ingredients and pulse.  This is my favorite Italian-style raw lasagna but you could most definitely add variations to the ingredients based on preference.  Add layers of fresh sliced portabellos, eggplant, sprinkle chopped broccoli.  Whatever your family loves.

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(Follow my Raw board on Pinterest for more raw recipe ideas!)

Raw & Vegan Lasagna Stack

Serves:  4

For the stacks:

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

1/2 c. fresh spinach

1/4 c. fresh basil leaves

EVOO, for garnish

s & p, for garnish

Directions:  Cut zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise, about 1/4" thickness.  Tear spinach and basil into managable pieces, matching the lengths of zucchini and squash.  Set aside.

Fresh Tomato Sauce:

2 lbs cherry tomatoes, dehydrated*

1 shallot, cubed

1 small clove garlic

1/2 c. basil leaves

2 T. EVOO

juice of 1 small lemon

splash of red wine vinegar

1 t. agave

1/4 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

sprinkle hot pepper flakes (optional) 

Directions:  Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth (scraping down the sides occasionally), about 1-2 minutes. 

*To Dehydrate:  Half cherry tomatoes and mix with 1 t. EVOO and 1 t. dried Italian herbs (or 1 T. fresh).   Dehydrate 12 hours at 105F.*

Lemon Pignoli "Ricotta:"

1/2 c. pine nuts, soaked 15 minutes and drained

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 T. nutritional yeast

1/4 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

Directions:  Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth (scraping down the sides occasionally), about 1-2 minutes.

Walnut-Sage Pesto "Sausage:"

1 c. walnuts, soaked 30 minutes and drained

1/4 c. fresh sage leaves

a few fresh oregano leaves

2 T. EVOO

splash red wine vinegar

1/4 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

Directions:  Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth (scraping down the sides occasionally), about 1-2 minutes.

To arrange lasagna stacks:

Lay zucchini and yellow squash slices down, alternating with the fresh tomato sauce, lemon pignoli ricotta, walnut-sage pesto sausage, fresh spinach, and fresh basil.  The quantity per layer can depend on your own personal taste.  Following the pictures as a guideline, this recipe will yield 4 stacks.

Garnish with EVOO, salt, and pepper to taste.

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