Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Lasagna of Love...Valentine's Dinner

Lasagna is one of my favorite foods of all time, especially since childhood. I'm sure I have mentioned that before on this blog, and anyone who knows me will know this! Lasagna really is a labor of love as sauces and fillings must be made individually, noodles cooked, toppings prepared, and everything must be  seasoned just right to make the entire dish come together in harmony (wow, I even get poetic when writing about lasagna). This is the first time I have made this lasagna with cashew creme, and ingredient that I use often in my cooking, both savory and sweet. Cashew creme is an incredibly versatile and healthy replacement for dairy based creams/cheeses. If you want to know how to make cashew creme (very easy) read here. Once you have the basic creme made then you can season it with sea salt, lemon and nutritional yeast if you are using it as a savory cheesy replacement. If you want to use it like sour cream, then leave out the nutritional yeast.
Moving on! I also used my beloved Field Roast sausage as the protein in this lasagna. I simply took two links (I like the Fennel Apple flavor) and pulsed it in a food processor to make crumbles and then mixed that with about 1 cup of marinara.
The other layers of this lasagna are spinach and leeks that have been sauteed down with a hint of garlic and then mixed with the cashew creme. Atop that layer is a layer of roasted squash (yellow and zucchini both- make sure and season the veggies well) but you could use any veggies you like. Just be sure to cook the veggies prior to adding them to the lasagna, other wise they will release all of the water into the lasagna and nobody likes a watery, tasteless lasagna!
So again, this is layered as: Marinara, then noodles, spinach/creme mixture, veggies, noodles, crumbled sausage, noodles, red sauce, then cashew creme, topped with some homemade bread crumbs and sprinkled with oregano.
This was really a delicious lasagna. My hubby loved it and gobbled down two pieces! It was the perfect accompaniment to our Valentines evening. Followed by rich yet healthy brownies from the Millennium cookbook made with Ghiradelli cocoa in honor of our San Francisco roots- the city in which our love began.