Monday, 19 January 2015

Green Lasagna

My senior year of college, after my initial stint in London, my class schedule was too erratic to go back to my normal, well-paying bank teller job (I worked through college, I'm proud to say), so for a while I worked as a technician in the University Theatre's costume shop. The pay was low, but the hours were flexible and it was possibly the most fun I've ever had while earning money. Anyway, one of the actors once brought us hard-working seamstresses a green vegetarian lasagna, and it was so delicious I've always remembered it! I know it had broccoli and spinach, and probably heaps of dairy (I was vegetarian, but not vegan at the time). This is my vegan version of that memory.
Green Lasagna Sheets
Small Block of Tofu, crumbled to resemble ricotta cheese
Cup of cashews, soaked for a few hours, for an Isa Does It-style cashew cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch - for the cashew cream
3/4 cup of water - for the cashew cream
1 medium white onion
3 cloves garlic
A few tablespoons of oil
About 50g plain flour
4 cups of veggie stock (I used powdered)
Big bunch of fresh spinach or other tender greens
Head of broccoli
A few slices of mozarella-style Violife vegan cheese (optional)
Pumpkin seeds
Cook the onion and garlic in a few generous sploshes of oil, then add the flour and make into a paste. Slowly add the stock to make a thick, lazy-person sauce. Let it simmer and thicken for a bit. I suppose you could use unsweetened soy milk for a super creamy sauce (or indeed, make a proper non-dairy bechamel), but this was plenty creamy for me and its very easy. Meanwhile, you are steaming your broccoli, chopping your spinach, crumbling your tofu and blending your cashew cream. The cashew cream is from an enchilada recipe in Isa Does It. She uses creamed cashew all over that book, and at first I was like  'nah, that sounds hard', but it isn't! You just blend your soaked cashews with the cornstarch and water. She adds salt, but I didn't because of the babe. And just so you know, I have a rinky-dink blender - you don't need a Vitamix for this one.

Layer it up! As long as there is plenty of sauce under and on top of the lasagna sheets, you can't really go wrong. I added some Violife cheese underneath my top lasagna layer, but that is totally optional. If you want it to be purely whole-foods, it's plenty creamy without it. Also, I personally wouldn't put fake cheese on the very top - I just think it never looks very appetising. Top layer of sauce, cashew cream and some pumpkin seeds (another idea ripped off from Isa's enchiladas), then bake in the oven at 180C (350F) for about half an hour. 

Lush. We had it with a simple raw tomato salad on the side. My husband ruined his with truffle oil, which he insists is delicious but I think smells like motor oil. 

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