Vegan, Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Sugar-free, Vegetarian
To me, lasagne of any kind has always been an ultimate comfort food so I was delighted that my creation of a very healthy version was actually very tasty, rich and more-ish indeed! Please don’t be put off the long list of ingredients or instructions…all of the components can be made in advance and it makes a very large serving, so you can feed a crowd, have plenty leftover or freeze some for later convenience. Even meat loving lasagne fans have deemed this a delicious and decadent (tasting) success!
Vegan Ricotta Ingredients:
2 cups raw blanched almonds, soaked in water overnight
1 cup water
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
½ TBSP Himalayan salt
800g of eggplant
225ml of vegetable oil
2.5cm cube of peeled fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
6 large garlic cloves
50 mls of water
1 teaspoon of whole fennel seeds
½ teaspoon of whole cumin seeds
400g of canned tomatoes
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon of rice syrup, coconut sugar or 1 drop of stevia
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds, freshly ground
¼ teaspoon of turmeric
1/3 teaspoon of cayenne
1 teaspoon of sea salt
50g of raisins
700g of kale & spinach (leaves, not ribs)
25-40g of coconut oil
400ml of coconut cream
¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
3 tablespoons of rice or corn flour, mixed with some of the coconut milk to form a roux
375g dried gluten-free lasagne sheets
- Drain & rinse the soaked almonds & place in a food processor or blender with the other ‘ricotta’ ingredients & process until smooth.
- Preheat oven to 180° C
- Cut eggplants into 2cm thick slices. Heat 175ml (in batches) of the oil in a deep frying pan. Add as many slices of eggplant that can fit into pan, & cook until golden & tender on both sides. Remove & drain on a wire rack over paper towels. Repeat with remaining eggplant, adding more oil if necessary.
- Put ginger, garlic & water into a blender and blend until fairly smooth
- Heat remaining oil in a frying pan. Add the fennel & cumin seeds & stir for a couple of seconds before pouring in the garlic/ginger water (be careful as seeds burn very quickly!) Add onions, tomatoes, rice syrup, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper & salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Return eggplant to pan, & add raisins. Mix gently with the sauce, cover pan & reduce heat to very low & cook for a further 5 minutes before putting aside.
- Wash kale & spinach & put into a deep pan over a low heat & cover. After a few minutes, stir & replace lid. Increase heat, add coconut oil & coconut cream, stir well & thicken with some of the corn flour mix. Season with salt, pepper & nutmeg.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil, add salt & a dash of oil. Cook 3 sheets of pasta at a time, stir to keep them separate and cook for 30 seconds after the water comes back to the boil. Remove, put into a bowl of cold water, then drain onto a clean tea towel.
- Spread some of the creamed coconut onto the base of the dish, cover with a layer of barley overlapping pasta sheets, half the eggplant mix & some of the ricotta mix. Repeat, making sure that the ricotta is on the top layer of the lasagne.
- Bake in the oven for 35 minutes, or until the lasagne is golden and bubbly on top (cover with tinfoil if it starts to brown to quickly) Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Bite: Nutritional Yeast (Savoury Yeast Flakes) – Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast, and can be found in the bulk aisle of most natural food stores. It’s a great source of protein and vitamins, especially the B-complex vitamins. Nutritional yeast has a strong flavor that is described as nutty, creamy or ‘cheesy’ flavour, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes.