The summer is winding down and this will be the last of my Raw Thursdays. Not because I won’t be cooking, or uncooking raw foods. Because I feel I like be concentrating a bit more on work and three posts a week seems better for now.
One reason why I started adding an extra raw recipe each week was because I wanted to highlight how easy and tasty they can be. Indeed, I have posted raw recipes even when it hasn’t been a Thursday post. Summer just brings out the best raw cuisine.
However, I know not everyone likes raw. I feel bad for my buddies in Vancouver. Whenever I visit, I drag them to yet another raw restaurant. My experiences seem to be better than theirs, despite being at the same restaurant. The first time, my friend was sick afterwards…. Me? I went back a second time and enjoyed my meal again! The next time I visited, we tried another raw restaurant. I liked my meal. My friends, not as much, even though they picked cooked options. My friend confided to me that she finds raw cooking pretty bland.
Honestly, I find raw cuisine to be the complete opposite. This is why I keep hoping to convince them otherwise. I love how inventive and flavourful raw cuisine can be. However, I know that is not always the case. I try not to order veggie burgers, pates, hummus or falafels because I am usually disappointed. Sometimes the flavours can be muddled. Instead, I gravitate to hearty salads, Mexican dishes like tacos, or Italian meals like vegetable lasagna. However, in restos, these can be quite heavy and filling meals from the use of nuts. At home, I can make it my way!
No stranger to zucchini used as pasta, I finally decided to make a raw lasagna when I found one nearly entirely made from veggies. No nuts. A bit of seeds. After preparing a couple of sauces, this was a simple dinner to put together. Instead of making a huge tray of lasagna (remember the Mexican zucchini lasagna?), I opted to make individual servings instead.
Layers of thinly sliced zucchini are alternated with a cauliflower-based creamy cheese sauce and a flavourful tomato marinara sauce. A basil pesto works well to tie this into an Italian masterpiece.
A common complaint is when raw lasagnas are served chilled, so feel free to throw it into a dehydrator for 30 minutes to warm it up. Delicious!
This is my submission to Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Ruth, to Raw Food Thursdays, to Healthy Vegan Fridays, to this week’s Weekend Wellness, this month’s Bookmarked Recipes and to My Kitchen, My World for Italy.
Nut-Free Raw Lasagna
Adapted from Cucina Libera
1-2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise (demo here)
1 cup (100g) mushrooms (I used cremini)
1 cup red pepper
2 tsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 tsp coconut aminos or raw soy sauce
2.5 cups (240g) cauliflower, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp avocado
3 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, not technically raw)
1/4 cup fresh basil
1 tbsp fresh oregano
salt, to taste
2 cups (200g) sun-dried tomatoes
10-12 green olives, pitted (I used Cerignola)
10-12 large basil leaves
1 clove garlic
1. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in 2 cups warm water for 30 minutes.
2. Finely chop the mushrooms and red pepper. Combine in a medium bowl and stir in 1 tsp of olive oil, rosemary and the coconut aminos (or soy sauce). Set aside and allow to marinate while you work on the rest of the lasagna.
3. Slice your zucchini as thin as possible. I used my mandoline so I only needed one zucchini for the whole lasagna. If you are doing this by hand, you may need an extra zucchini.
4. In a small cup, combine 2 tbsp of water with 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt and rub over the strips of zucchini. Place zucchini strips in a shallow pan and set aside to marinate.
5. Meanwhile, prepare your cauliflower cheese. Place your cauliflower florets in a food processor and pulse until it is chopped into small pieces. Add the avocado and some salt and continue to process until it becomes smooth. taste to determine its smoothness, because it may look chunky but it tastes smooth. Add the nutritional yeast, basil and oregano and process to incorporate. Remove from food processor and set aside in a small bowl.
6. Prepare your sauce by adding the drained tomatoes (keep the water!), olives, basil and garlic to the food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add some reserved water from the tomatoes to get the consistency you desire. Set aside in a small bowl.
7. To assemble, you can go with one big lasagna, or make individual portions (as I did). Place 3 half slices of zucchini, overlapping slightly, into a square shape. Spread an even layer of ricotta overtop. Place marinated veggies overtop. Spread an even layer of tomato sauce over the veggies. Repeat your layers (zucchini, ricotta, veggies, tomato sauce, zucchini), finishing with a top layer of tomato sauce. Garnish with some fresh basil.
8. Allow your lasagna to rest an hour to allow the flavours to meld. The veggies may leak some fluid, too, so wipe that away. I also popped this into my dehydrator for 30-60 minutes at 105F with fabulous results.