Lasagne Marinara w/ Spinach & Cashew Ricotta

This bad boy is not only 100% vegan, but is arguably better than any lasagna dish I’ve ever eaten. Cook now, thank me later. Modified from: Veganomonicon

Time: 2 hours

Type: Entree

Ingredients:

  • Marinara Sauce
    • 4 teaspoons olive oil
    • 8 garlic cloves
    • 2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • Several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  • Cashew Ricotta
    • 1 cup raw cashew pieces
    • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
    • 4 tablespoons olive oil
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 2 lbs firm tofu, drained and crumbled
    • 3 teaspoons dried basil
    • 3 teaspoons salt
  • Almesean (optional)
    • ¼ slivered or sliced almonds (raw)
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
    • ⅛ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 lb lasagna noodles, cooked according to package instructions
  • 2 lbs spinach or spinach mix (e.g. kale, spinach, chard)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Have ready a 9×13 inch deep lasagne pan and a double layer of aluminum foil that can tightly cover the pan.
  2. Next, make the Marinara Sauce. Preheat a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the oil and garlic, and saute for about a minute, until fragrant, being careful not to let it burn.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and raise the heat a bit to bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If you haven’t already, start cooking the lasagna noodles and drain once they are cooked.
  4. Next, make the Cashew Ricotta. In a food processor, blend together the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic until a thick creamy paste forms.
  5. Add the crumbled tofu to the food processor, working in two or more batches if necessary, until the mixture is thick and well blended.
  6. Blend in the basil and salt. Refrigerate until you put together the lasagne.
  7. Make the Almesean by combining all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until everything turns to tiny crumbs. Put aside for later.
  8. Wash the spinach well, drain, and place in a steamer basket in a large pot (you can also saute in a pan if don’t have a steamer).
  9. Cover and steam for 8-10 minutes, until the spinach is wilted and a deep green. Uncover and remove from the heat.
  10. Squeeze handfuls of the spinach to remove excess water and chop coarsely. Toss with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  11. Assemble. Ladle about ½ of sauce onto bottom of the lasagna pan and layer with 5-6 noodles. Add about half of the cashew ricotta, a layer of spinach, and about one-third of the sauce.
  12. Add another layer of noodles (4-5), the rest of the ricotta, the remainder of the spinach, and another third of the sauce. Top with the remaining noodles, then top the noodles with the remaining sauce.
  13. Generously sprinkle the Almesean on top of the lasagna before baking.
  14. Tightly crimp two overlapping layers of foil over the top of the pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until edges of noodles are slightly browned and the sauce is bubbling.
  15. Allow to cool 10 min before slicing. Best if served with any additional marinara sauce.

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