Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Garden Vegetable White Lasagna

Remember that day I became a chef?  Today is the next phase in that journey.  Today I created my own technique for making a vegan cream sauce.  Maybe it's not actually new, but I've never read it anywhere, so to me, it's my own.  :)  The other day I made this sweet potato "mac and cheese" that was unbelievably good (and I highly recommend trying it!), but it didn't really resemble mac and cheese, other than by color.  But it got me thinking ... what if I started with the same concept ... but put the potato, nooch (vegan shorthand for "nutritional yeast"), etc into my Vitamix and made a sauce?  How could I get that to really be creamy?  A few days worth of mulling it over, and I came up with something that I think could easily be mistaken by an omnivore for a rich creamy white lasagna type sauce.  Wait no - it IS rich and creamy.  But they would never know that there is not a hint of dairy in it.  :)

Mix with some veggies hanging out in my fridge from my CSA, some leftover over penne noodles from the previous dish, and voila! Perfect garden vegetable white "lasagna". (Could easily work with lasagna noodles, just aren't what I used. :) )  Didn't know that's what I was making, but that's what it became, and it's perfect. And best of all?  It's still creamy the next day for leftovers, unlike any other cream (or "cream") sauce I know.  :)

Wow I want to eat this again right now.  Conveniently, I have leftovers for lunch.  :)

Garden Vegetable White Lasagna
1 onion
1 large zucchini
2 turnips
1 radish
2 banana peppers
salt and pepper to taste
3 C kale
(These are just my choice of veggies - experiment with what works for you! Or what you have in the fridge. :) )

2 red potatoes
1 C cashews
(water to fully cover)
2 T olive oil
15 sage leaves (or your preferred herb - sage makes this a bit wintery, so you may want to experiment with other options)
1/2 C nutritional yeast
salt to taste

3-4 C cooked penne noodles

2 T breadcrumbs (herbed, preferably), 2 T nutritional yeast, mixed

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Cook potatoes - either for about 6 minutes on high in the microwave, or in the oven.  If doing the latter this step will obviously take more time.

3.  While potatoes are cooking, preheat a saute pan with 2 T olive oil.  Chop all veggies, and saute on medium heat, starting with the onion, until soft.  Remove from heat.

4. Place cashews and water to fully cover into a high speed blender.  When potatoes have slightly cooled, chop into large chunks and add to the blender (skins and all - there are great nutrients in there!), along with olive oil, fresh sage (or other herb), nutritional yeast, and salt.  Blend on high until smooth.  Should be slightly thick, but still able to easily pour out of the blender.  If too thick, add small amounts of water until reaching desired consistency.

5.  Mix noodles and veggies and add to 9x13 glass baking pan.  Pour cream sauce over top, using a spatula to make sure you capture all the goodness!  Also use the spatula to help it down into the nooks and crannies so that everything gets coated.

6.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle breadcrumb / nutritional yeast mixture over top.  Bake for an additional 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and enjoy!

 Gooey creaminess before being baked.  Worst picture, but I wanted you to see how creamy it really is.  :)


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