I wanted to make some lasagna last week, but I just can’t eat ricotta, mozarella or any dairy to speak of. I decided to set out and try to adapt a recipe using cashew cream as my “ricotta” replacement. I used pasta that was fresh (no, I didn’t make it, I got it in the refrigerated section at my local organic store), made my own sauce, and added veggies to make it really healthy. Yes, this is not carb free, but for when you want something with pasta, this is pretty awesome! You can get really strict and leave out the parmesan, and then it would be totally dairy free.
My husband, Doubting Thomas that he is (he should trust me by now, we rarely throw anything I concoct out!) said (insert skeptical and unhappy tone of voice here) “Cashew cream in lasagna? ewwwww, uck”. Needless to say, he was not only amazed, but gobbled this up. And pronounced me a genius. So, I guess that is praise enough to post it on this blog!
Almost Dairy Free Lasagna
1 large onion (Maui, Vidalia are nicest, but any will do)
3 cloves garlic minced
3 carrots, chopped small
3 T olive oil
1 lb. grass fed ground beef (read about why to eat Grass Fed Beef only here…)
1 bag frozen chopped organic spinach
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce, or tomato sauce plain (do NOT use the ones with a lot of added sugar! beware the label)
1 small can diced organic tomatoes
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces or cut into slices
¼ cup fresh oregano leaves
salt and pepper to taste — I used very little
1 pkg. refrigerated lasagna noodles (do not use dry ones unless you cook first, also, if you need to be Gluten Free, use brown rice lasagna noodles and parboil them first)
1 cup cashew cream (click to see recipe — reminder: takes an 8-12 hrs. to make cashew cream due to soaking nuts)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese * optional
Put olive oil in skillet and cook onions and carrots until onions are soft and just beginning to turn golden. Add ground beef (if you use grass fed, there is almost no grease) and minced garlic and cook until ground beef is done, I use a pastry blender to “chop” up everything into fine pieces, you can also use a spatula. Drain the beef mixture. Add spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, basil and oregano, and spinach: mix and heat thoroughly. The mixture should be fairly thick, but not like a paste, add a bit of the water from the tomatoes or just some water if it gets too thick. Taste it to see if you need salt or pepper. This will depend on your base sauce. If you used just tomato sauce it may need some. Finally, add the cashew cream and stir it in really well. Now you’re ready to assemble it!
Next, spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with olive oil (or brush it on). Put a layer of meat sauce in the bottom. Place two noodles, going lengthwise next, top it with about 1/3 the remaining meat sauce, sprinkle a bit of parmesan, add another 2 layers, finishing with meat sauce on top. Sprinkle parmesan on top if you’re using. Cover the pan tightly with tinfoil and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes, cut and serve!
If you make this, let me know how you liked it!
Options: add olives, green pepper, red peppers, go meatless and add more spinach.