For some reason, whenever I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of Italian food! It may be because of my heritage, or more likely because it’s my favorite type of food, but it always determines where we eat or what I cook on Valentine’s Day.
So, here I give you Lover’s Lasagna! The perfect addition to a romantic night in with your loved one. This meal is so easy to make and just requires a few simple steps made up of all whole food, plant based ingredients!
My favorite thing about this lasagna would have to be the creamy and delicious cashew ricotta cheese! It is so easy to make and tastes just as good, if not better than the real thing (and that's a big statement coming from me, considering I used to eat ricotta straight from the container.) The first time I ever made cheese using cashews I literally squealed with excitement. Whoever thought that up is a stinking genius and I would like to hug them.
Another thing I love adding to this meal (which is totally optional, but worth it in my opinion) is vegan parmesan! Vegan parm is so versatile I always have a jar of it in my fridge. It is great to throw on pizzas, pastas, salads and really anything else you want for an extra pop of flavor! And because of nutritional yeast being one of the main ingredients in both vegan parm and cashew ricotta cheese, each recipe is high in protein, fiber, B vitamins and folic acid which are essential for red blood cell production and very important for those of us vegans/vegetarians who may be lacking in the B vitamin department!
(Makes 6 Servings)
Lasagna: 1 box brown rice lasagna, no boil 4-6 handfuls of fresh spinach 2 large (24oz.) jars of tomato sauce, without sugar fresh basil to top, optional
Cashew Ricotta Cheese: 1 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast 1-2 garlic cloves 1/4 tsp onion powder sea salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup water 1/4 tsp dried basil, optional 1/4 tsp dried oregano, optional
Vegan Parmesan: 1 cup raw almonds 3 Tbs nutritional yeast 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/4 tsp salt
- Soak cashews in water overnight or for at least 2-3 hours to help aid in digestion. While cashews are soaking prepare your vegan parmesan by placing almonds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and sea salt in a blender or food processor and blending until fine like parmesan cheese! Store in an airtight container in the fridge, or set aside until ready to use.
- Once cashews have finished soaking, strain and rinse them well before placing them in a blender. Next, add the remaining ricotta cheese ingredients and blend for a couple of minutes or until smooth and creamy!
- Now that your cheeses are done, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your lasagna in a rectangle baking tray, pouring in about 1 cup of tomato sauce as your bottom layer. Next add a layer of lasagna noodles. (If you were unable to find "no boil" lasagna, simply cook your lasagna noodles first and then add them.) Then add a layer of ricotta cheese, about half, and spread evenly across the noodles. Next add 2-3 handfuls of fresh spinach.
- Repeat this order one more time: 1 cup sauce, noodles, the remaining ricotta cheese, 2-3 handfuls of spinach, then finish off with one more layer of noodles, and another cup of sauce.
- Now sprinkle a good amount of vegan parmesan on top and some fresh basil if you like!
- Cover the lasagna with foil and cook for 40 minutes. Once those 40 minutes are up, take the foil away and cook for another 10 minutes, uncovered.
- Let stand for a few minutes to cool, then enjoy! Store in the fridge covered for up to a week.
Cashew Ricotta Cheese!
Vegan Parmesan Ingredients!
I hope you all have a very Happy Valentine's Day!