by: Kathy Patalsky
If you’re looking for a new weeknight favorite, look no further than Kathy Patalsky’s new book Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen, where you’ll find a pesto lasagna that is perfect for early summer. This verde lasagna is a family-style entrée worth gathering at the table for!
Kathy Patalsky is the founder of the popular vegan recipes website HealthyHappyLife.com. She also founded FindingVegan.com. Kathy has written two books: Healthy Happy Vegan Kitchen and 365 Vegan Smoothies. Kathy lives in Los Angeles.
Text excerpted from HEALTHY HAPPY VEGAN KITCHEN, © 2015 by Kathy Patalsky. Photos © Kathy Patalsky.
- Cashew Ricotta:
- 1 1/2 raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups water or non-dairy milk
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 12 to 14 lasagna noodles
- Spicy Jalapeno Pesto:
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 jalapeño, seeded
- 1 to 3 cloves garlic
- 14 ounces firm or silken tofu, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Few pinches of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 1/2 cups Cashew Ricotta
- 1/2 to 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese shreds
- 1/2 cup chopped basil, for garnish
Drain the soaked cashews and rinse under warm water.
Place the cashews in a food processor or high-speed blender.
Add the lemon juice and ½ cup of the liquid and process on high until smooth, which may take a few minutes depending on the strength of your food processor. The water will create a standard creamy texture, but using non-dairy milk as the liquid will create an extra creamy texture. When blending, if the ricotta is looking too dry, add more non-dairy milk or water as needed. You want the end result to be a bit thicker than hummus. Fold in salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a lasagna baking dish with the oil.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. As soon as the water comes to a boil, drop in four of the lasagna noodles and cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the cooked noodles and line them up to cover the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Repeat until all the noodles are cooked, transferring the cooked noodles to a side plate once you have covered the bottom of the baking dish. (If you are able to cook more than four noodles at a time without having them stick together, you can do that too.) Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Spicy Jalapeno Pesto:
In a high-speed blender, combine all the pesto ingredients with 1⁄3 cup of the pasta cooking water and blend, increasing the speed from low to high, until smooth. The pesto should be thick, yet easy to pour and drizzle, a tad thicker than the consistency of tomato sauce for pizza. Add more of the pasta cooking water, a spoonful at a time, if desired to thin out the texture of the pesto a bit. Pour the pesto into a bowl and set aside.
In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the tofu slices and season with salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast (if using). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tofu edges brown 3 to 4 minutes. Set aside.
Add the tofu over the bottom layer of noodles in the baking dish. Top with a generous layer of the cashew ricotta, followed by a layer of pesto, a sprinkle of vegan cheese, and a layer of noodles. Add the remaining cashew ricotta and pesto and any remaining tofu. Top with another layer of noodles. You can layer the lasagna however you’d like, really, just be sure to finish off with a top generous layer of pesto sauce and a sprinkle of vegan cheese.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 40 minutes. The top of the lasagna will be rippled and drier in texture, and the layers will be moist and tender. The edges should be lightly browned but not overcooked or crispy. Remove the foil, turn the oven to broil, and broil for 1to 2 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 to 30 minutes in the baking dish before slicing and serving. This cooling time before serving is important. Do not serve too hot or the layers will fall apart too easily. Top with fresh basil to serve. Serve warm.