Friday, April 8, 2011


Here we have a bowl of grapefruit. That's two grapefruit to be exact. I was craving something special, something not too sweet, something juicy and refreshing.  I had one of those colds last week, that felt like a rope was being cinched tighter and tighter around my head. It didn't take away my hunger, but for some reason when I was hungry citrus was what I craved. It must have helped. My cold was gone in two days. Hats off to citrus.

On to the main event - Lasagna

When I looked for a vegan lasagna recipe I kept bumping into tofu disguised as cheese. Tofu is not in my diet, so I had to keep looking. I found this recipe for a pretend ricotta cheese. It comes from Matthew Kenney of Pure Food and Wine.

Lemon-Pignoli "Ricotta"
2 cups raw pignoli nuts soaked in water for at least 1 hour
   (pine nuts - I soaked mine overnight and 2 cups became 4 cups)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt

Put everything into a food processor and pulse a few times, until thoroughly combined. Gradually add 6 tablespoons water and pulse until the mixture becomes fluffy, like ricotta.

I found brown rice lasagna noodles made by EnerG, the same company that makes the egg replacement I use. The noodles are gluten free, thick and easy to work with.

serves 8

12 brown rice lasagna noodles - cooked
12 oz spaghetti sauce with basil
4 carrots grated
8 mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
1/2 onion
2 thinly sliced zucchini
12 oz bag fresh spinach, blanched to decrease the volume
one tomato thinly sliced
salt, pepper
Layer as follows in a 9x12 pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

the layers:
4 brown rice lasagna noodles
1/2 the pretend ricotta
all of the zucchini slices
all of the grated carrot
all of the onion
4 brown rice lasagna noodles
1/2 the pretend ricotta
all of the sliced tomato
all of the spinach
all of the mushrooms
4 brown rice lasagna noodles

The verdict.
In the end, for all the goodness packed into that square up there, the flavor was bland. I'm going to keep working on it. It needs a good punch of something and I would welcome your suggestions. You can substitute raw sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for the pine nuts and reduce the price a great deal. Don't call it cheese. It's not cheese. It's nuts. Hat's off to nuts - packed with protein and vitamins.
Lasagna doesn't mean pasta and meat and cheese. It means pasta and layers of goodness. This definitely qualifies.

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