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Hi! 

So happy you passed by!  Vegetarian? Plantbased? Or just looking for healthier options for your diet? It doesn't really matter! I myself am what I like to call an "amateur vegan". Still experimenting and trying new things on daily basis and I truly love this process! Join me! 
I made this blog simple and visually incentive so that you could come back and browse for inspiration whenever you need it! 

Vegan Lentil & Mushroom Lasagna with Cashew Cream & Marinara Sauce

Vegan Lentil & Mushroom Lasagna with Cashew Cream & Marinara Sauce

How often do you make lasagna? Like really, no lies here! Me? I can easily count the times I made lasagna on my fingers. So, not often at all. From the very beginning I associated lasagna with loads of work and high costs. All those different kinds of cheeses aren’t an easy splurge here in the Nordics. Let’s also not forget how heavy original lasagna is for your body.

But what if I told you that lasagna might become one of your effortless weekday dinners and with no guilt feelings at all? It’s your lucky day!

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As of the original lasagna, this also requires different layers: filling, red sauce and white sauce.  Each of these layers can be prepared in advance to save time even more.  

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The base for the white sauce are soaked cashews. You can either plan ahead and soak it over the night or use boiling water and soak it for an hour or so.  No big difference. For the extra cheesy taste, it’s always recommended to use nutritional yeast in these occasions. But it’s not the end of the world if you cannot find it anywhere. The sauce will still taste great without it.  Start blending your soaked cashews while adding the plant-based milk until the sauce reaches a thick creamy consistence. Add more salt or pepper if you need it.

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For the red sauce I use the traditional marinara recipe. It’s delicious and very easy to make. All you have to do is to sweat some shallots (or onions) and garlic until translucent, add basil, canned tomatoes and littlie bit of sugar and simmer for 10 minutes.  Can’t get easier than that!

Let’s talk filling! As with every vegan dish, you have an insane amount of options! I myself have tried different ingredient combinations and loved each of them! This particular recipe asks for lentils. If I was a proper food blogger I should probably tell you to use boiled lentils because it tastes better. But let’s not pretend. We all love shortcuts, specially ones that doesn’t actually affect the taste that much. So, go ahead, use pre-boiled packaged lentils. These are sold now almost everywhere. Hint: these are perfect for a go-to snack too! I also used mushrooms and spinach for the filling. It just seemed like a perfect fit with the lentils. And it really was!

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If you use fresh lasagna sheets, you can start putting layers together at once. I usually go for the dried ones, so I prepare a pot with slightly salted water and bring it to boil just before starting the assembling process. I put 1-3 sheets at a time, so that I have the whole pasta layer at once (the baking dish I use isn’t very big). It might seem like much work, but you just need to keep the sheets in the water for like 20 seconds until it gets a bit softer and in a meanwhile you just work on other layers. No time wasted.

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The main rule I have, or like most people have, is to put marinara sauce first, so that sheets doesn’t stick to the bottom and to finish the assemble by putting marinara & cashew cream on the very top of the lasagna.

For the first 20 minutes II keep the lasagna covered in the oven, so that the sheets have a chance to absorb all the liquid and cook through. Later I remove the foil and let the top layer to put on some crust by increasing the temperature to 200°C.  The rest of the recipe details you will find bellow.

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Hope you give it a chance! If you do, you will get addicted to it! The only disadvantage in making the lasagna is that you eat it all up way too quickly! Just because it’s so delicious and comforting! But then it’s a good thing you didn’t spend the whole day making it, right?

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Vegan Lentil & Mushroom Lasagna with Cashew Cream & Marinara Sauce


Ingredients:

Cashew sauce:

150g natural cashews, soaked

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

100ml plant-based milk of your choice

Sprinkle of nutemeg

Salt & Pepper

 

Marinara sauce:

2 boxes of canned tomatoes, whole (2x400g)

2-3 shallots, finely chopped

3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp of dried basil (use fresh if you have)

1 tbsp coconut sugar (or regular brown sugar)

Salt & pepper

 

The base:

Lasagna sheets

2 handfuls of button mushrooms, sliced

1 big carrot, grated

1 package of precooked lentils (

½ small red onion, finely chopped

2 big handfuls of spinach

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

Salt & pepper

 

Instructions:

For the cashew cream, wash soaked cashews through a strainer and add it to a blender. Add all the ingredients listed and blend until the sauce becomes smooth. If it's too thick, add little bit of additional water while blending. Pour it into a bowl and set aside.

Heat a deeper pan (or a little pot) with a bit of oil and add chopped shallots and garlic and cook for few minutes. Add two cans of whole tomatoes and basil into the pan. While cooking, gently crash your whole tomatoes so that it divides into smaller pieces. Add salt & pepper, sugar and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.

For the lentil base, start with heating a medium sized pan and sweating the red onion for couple of minutes. Add sliced mushrooms. Once mushrooms have reduced in size, add rinsed lentils from a package. Add all the spices and simmer while stirring for few minutes. At the end add your spinach and cook everything until spinach wilts. Remove from the heat.

I always use dry lasagna sheets and before I assemble every layer I like to place the sheets one to three at the time into a pot with boiling water (low heat) so it softens up a bit. In the baking dish first add a layer of marinara sauce. Then start with the sheets, the marinara again, the base filling, cashew cream and lasagna sheets. Repeat until your baking dish is full. I always leave some marinara sauce and cashew cream to put on the very top of the lasagna.  Once assembled, cover lasagna in aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes in 180 °C. Later remove the foil, rise the heat to 200°C and bake for about 10 minutes or until it gets a bit of a crust. (When I removed the foil I topped my lasagna with pretty little cherry tomato branches, it takes about the same time for tomatoes to reach this wrinkly look and the top lasagna sheet to get some light crust).

Serve with some delicious rucola salad!


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