Vegan Lasagna

I have been wanting to make a vegan lasagna for a very long time, but did not want to use  packaged vegan cheese. I know a lot of vegans eat Daiya cheese, but I just do not enjoy the after-taste. As an alternative, when soaked and blended, cashews make a delicious substitute for cheese. However, in the last year I have had a very difficult time finding peanut-free cashews. At long last, there is a brand of nuts now available at the Independent close to my house that is peanut-free and gluten-free! Check this out for more information. Here is the recipe for vegan lasagna, inspired by ohsheglows.com

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Ingredients for the ricotta cheese

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder

Ingredients for vegetable filling

2 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium zucchinis, sliced thin
1 small eggplant, diced
1 red pepper, diced
Optional: 1 cup mushrooms*
* I do not like mushrooms, but I can appreciate how delicious they could be in a lasagna

Other Ingredients

1 box lasagna noodles, oven-ready
1 jar pasta sauce, or do what I did and make your own with canned or fresh tomatoes

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I preheated the oven to 400*F. I started by putting all the cheese ingredients in a food processor and pureed until smooth. I put the cheese aside. Next, I heated  the oil in a large frying pan and cooked the onion and garlic until translucent. I added the zucchini, eggplant, and red pepper, and cooked for about five minutes. Then, I took a large casserole dish and sprayed with cooking spray. I layered the lasagna in this order: pasta sauce (1 cup), noodles, cashew cheese (half of it), vegetables, pasta sauce, noodles, cheese, vegetables, pasta sauce, noodles, pasta sauce. I covered the top in a layer of nutritional yeast, but for the Daiya lovers, a layer on the top would probably be delicious. I covered the lasagna in tinfoil and baked the whole dish for 40 minutes. After removing it from the oven I let it sit for a few minutes, then served it.

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Creamy Pasta Salad

Spring has sprung, and the hot weather is slowly becoming the norm. Big salads have become one of my go-to dishes for lunches, which can last me two or three days if I make enough. I have posted other salads before, such as Everything Salad, and Asian Millet Salad, but this one is perfect for the summer time. Great for picnics, work/school lunches, potlucks, and BBQs. In case you didn’t know, hummus is a delicious addition to any salad dressing, adding protein and creaminess to the veggies. I put hummus on everything. For some other cool ideas about how to use hummus, check out this.  One of the best things about using hummus instead of mayo is that you do not have to worry about the amount of time it has been left out of the fridge if bringing it on a picnic.

Ingredients for the Salad

3 cups uncooked pasta, cooked using the package directions (I used whole wheat bow pasta)
1/2 cup chopped kale or spinach
1/3 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup finely chopped broccoli
1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
3 diced green onions
Nuts and seeds of choice (I used pumkin seeds, hemp seeds, and cashews)

Ingredients for the Dressing

1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup hummus
1/4 cup vegan mayo, or  hummus
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper
Optional: 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

I washed and chopped all the veggies and tossed them with the nuts and seeds. I placed all the dressing ingredients in a jar, covered it with a lid and shook it until all the ingredients were combined. I poured the dressing over the veggies. Depending on how many veggies you have, you may need to adjust the dressing recipe. Also, it is very easy to substitute any veggies or leave any of them out entirely.

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