Christmas Lasagna

Lasagna
Christmas Lasagna

Christmas is my favorite holiday and I love helping my mom cook Christmas dinner. This year I made a veggie lasagna with almond milk based Kite Hill Ricotta, Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Style Slices, Trader Joe's Beefless Ground Beef, and Organic Green Lentil Lasagne by Explore Cuisine.

Green Lentil Lasagna by Thrive Market
Kite Hill Ricotta
Beefless Ground Beef by Trader Joe's
Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Slices

My sister did the grocery shopping for this dinner, and I'll admit I was skeptical when she came home with Green Lentil Lasagne instead of the brown rice lasagna noodles I asked her to buy. I've had a lot of experiences with lentil, corn, or quinoa pasta quickly turning mushy, but these Green Lentil Lasagne noodles turned out to be delicious, and held their consistency when I reheated the leftovers days after Christmas.

This recipe can easily be made gluten free by removing the Beefless Ground Beef. I usually make my own ricotta with tofu and cashews, so this was my first time using these ingredients and they were overall very good! Although, I would have replaced the Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Slices with my favorite Daiya Mozzarella Shreds.  

Ingredients

  • Organic Green Lentil Lasagne
  • Zucchinis - mandoline sliced lengthwise
  • Mushrooms - thinly sliced 
  • Fresh Spinach Leaves 
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Fresh Arugula (optional) 
  • Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion - thinly sliced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic - minced
  • Tomato Paste
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Trader Joe's Beefless Ground Beef
  • Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Style Slices
  • Kite Hill Ricotta

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven according to the instructions on the lasagna noodles. 
  2. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise with a mandoline. Lay the thin pieces of zucchini on sheets of paper towels to dry out while you assemble the rest of the ingredients. 
  3. Thinly slice the mushrooms and yellow onion.
  4. Mince the garlic.
  5. Sauté the onions, mushrooms, and garlic in a large pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper. 
  6. Cover the bottom of a deep baking dish in a mixture of the tomato paste and marinara sauce, followed by a layer of the lasagne noodles (the kind I used didn't need to be pre-boiled), then another layer of the tomato sauce, a layer of the ricotta, a layer of the beefless ground beef, a layer of the sauteed mushrooms and onions, and then a layer of the zucchini. 
  7. Continue layering until you run out of ingredients or fill the baking dish. I always top my lasagna with a layer of the noodles, marinara, and the veggies before placing it in the oven. 
  8. Bake according to the instructions specific to your lasagna noodles. I baked mine uncovered, and added the final layer of vegan mozzarella cheese 10 minutes before the dish was done. The mozzarella should look golden when it is ready.
  9. Enjoy!

Raw Cashew Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Raw Cashew Pesto Zucchini Noodles
Raw Cashew Pesto Zucchini Noodles

My favorite way to cook is to enter the kitchen with no plan, and see what I can come up with using only the ingredients I find! I rarely (literally never), go grocery shopping with a list and a specific 'recipe' in mind. I believe using my no-method, method has taught me to be the great chef (my opinion) that I am today. I always LOVE the dishes I create when I thought there was no food in the house. And if they don't turn out tasting delicious then at least I learn what not to try again in the future. 

Traditionally pesto is made from pine nuts, but walnuts, cashews, hemp seed, and macadamia nuts all make great substitutes. Cashews and macadamia nuts will give the pesto an extra creamy and rich flavor, whereas hemp seeds will give a less thick consistency, but are a great swap if you want to boost the protein and omega-3 content of this recipe. I love using hemp seeds and basil to make a creamy basil salad dressing that I will post soon. 

Raw Cashew Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Cashew Pesto Ingredients

  • 4 Heads of basil 
  • 1 Cup raw soaked cashews 
  • 1/2 Avocado 
  • 1 Cup spinach (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons of nutritional yeast 
  • 1 Teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon onion powder (swap for garlic if you like garlic) 
  • Sprinkle of black pepper

Zucchini noodles 

  • 3 Large zucchinis (or however many you want!)
  • Cherry tomatoes (as many as your heart desires)
  • Sprinkle of sundried tomatoes (optional) 

Directions

1. Use a spiralizer to turn your zucchinis into zoodles. I use the Paderno World Cuisine Tri-Blade Vegetable Spiral Slicer, and it can be bought it from Amazon or Bed Bath & Beyond. You can also use a mandolin to thinly slice the zucchinis if you don't have a spirilizer. 

2. Zucchinis have a naturally high water content, around 95%, so lay the zoodles on a clean towel and gently pat them to absorb some of their moisture. This step will help the zoodles absorb more of the pesto!

3. Combine all sauce ingredients in a high speed blender, I used a vitamix. I like more lemon than most people so for this recipe start with the juice of two lemons, taste it, and then add more if you'd like. The spinach is optional, and doesn't affect the taste of the pesto so I like to add it to increase the nutritional content of this sauce. I also really like to add frozen peas to pesto, and all green sauces for that matter, for the same reasons. 

4. Pour the pesto onto the zoodles, garnish with some sliced cherry tomatoes, and add extra nutritional yeast to the top! Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor, and is one of the only vegan foods that contains B12, so hurray for nutritional yeast! 

5. Enjoy! 

Creamy Pink Tomato Pasta

Creamy Pink Tomato Pasta
Creamy Pink Tomato Pasta

I love when I think there's no food in the house, and then randomly whip up something super delicious. I’m probably going to finish this whole bowl, I love it so much. 

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 Can tomato paste
  • Half a block of firm tofu
  • ½ Cup of nutritional yeast
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Your favorite pasta spices (I used parsley and 21 salute from Trader Joes)

Veggies

  • Artichoke hearts (I used canned, just remember to always rinse canned food before cooking)
  • Corn (frozen is fine) 
  • Sweet peppers
  • Kale

Directions

1. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the box. I used my favorite brown rice pasta from Trader Joes. I’ve tried loads of gluten free pastas and most get really mushy the second they are cooked too long, or after I reheat them the next day. I like my food burning hot so I use my microwave a lot with leftovers, and these Trader Joes noodles never get mushy. They are amazing. 

2. While you are waiting for the water to boil for the pasta, place all of the sauce ingredients into a high speed blender and blend! Then transfer the sauce from the blender into a stove pan to heat. 

3. Sauté all of the veggies in a pan with the same spices and lemon juice. 

4. Combine the cooked pasta, sauce, and veggies in a bowl and enjoy! 

PS I did finish the whole bowl :)