The best part about changing my food choices is getting creative with cooking. I still crave the comfort foods or sweets, but have learned healthier ways to prepare them. The other day I had a major craving for lasagna, and while I can’t take credit for substituting zucchini for noodles, the rest of the recipe is my own. My husband and I had every intention of eating it raw, but I’ve found that during the winter a warm meal every now and then is very satisfying.
Raw (or baked) Lasagna
5-6 zucchini (depending on their size); thinly sliced lengthwise
Fresh baby spinach leaves
Red Bell Pepper, thinly sliced (or diced, if you prefer)
For the “cheese”:
- 2 cups of raw cashews (or half cashews, half walnuts)
- 1/2 – 1 cup of raw sunflower seeds
- 3-4 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
For the Marinara Sauce:
- 4 – Roma tomatoes, chopped and seeded
- 1-2 cups of sun-dried tomatoes (soaked in water for 2hrs)
- Fresh Basil
- Oregano (fresh or dried)
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- Water, if needed
Blend the cashews and sunflower seeds with enough water to get it mixed smoothly. Then add the seasonings and more water, if needed to get a ricotta cheese texture. Empty the contents into a bowl and set aside. Without rinsing the blender, throw in the Roma tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes and blend until smooth. Add seasonings to taste and olive oil. If you want a thinner sauce, add more water.
Pour a little marinara sauce on the bottom of a baking dish – enough to lightly cover the surface. Then arrange a layer of zucchini slices. Add a layer of “cheese,” followed with fresh spinach and red bell pepper. Continue the layers until you’ve filled your baking dish. I ended up with three layers of zucchini noodles. Top off your layers with marinara sauce and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast if you’d like.
Then enjoy as is or bake in the oven at 350 for an hour! We devoured it….so full of flavor and cheesy!