Cashew Butternut Squash Lasagna
This past weekend, my husband and I had the first full weekend free together in over 6 weeks. We chose to spend our time between, grocery shopping, hiking in local forests, and cooking in the kitchen. I LOVE cooking elaborate meals when I find the time, so we decided to combine a few different recipes we’ve made in the past to create the most delicious and nutritious hearty comfort food lasagna.
If you’ve checked out my previous post on “Food for Fall”, then you know I love cashew sauce dishes. It’s a perfect way to get the creamy consistency that I miss being (cow) dairy free. I used the same recipe I did in my earlier post, but this time I just added a baked butternut squash to get an EVEN creamier and thicker sauce. We used a combination of zucchini and brown rice lasagna pasta because we wanted more vegetables than pasta in this dish, but with the fulfilling aspect of regular old comfort food.
I have to say, this recipe is very easy, but it takes a lot of prep.
Things to do first:
Soak your cashews overnight or pour boiling water over them and let sit for 2 hours.
Roast butternut squash with drizzle of high quality oil and salt and pepper (400 degrees for 30-60 minutes depending on the size of your squash. Keep poking it until it’s tender and easy to scoop out of the skin.)
Roast 1-2 heads garlic with oil and salt and pepper.
Reduce the moisture in the zucchini. Slice zucchini lengthwise to get thin strips and lay out evenly on your cutting board, counter or tray. Salt each and every piece of the zucchini and let sit for 20-30 minutes. You’ll start to see moisture droplets being pulled out of the vegetable. After the 20-30 minutes is up, I used a clean tea-towel to dab all the moisture out and you’re left with slightly dryer zucchini. Do not skip this step - if you don’t pull the moisture out, the zucchini will be even more moist when you are cooking the lasagna, and it will be a squishy mess.
Like I said, it’s a lot of prep, but SO worth it. We made enough of everything so we could fill two huge lasagna dishes to eat one for dinner and freeze the other for a later meal. Making two really makes all the prep time worth it!
Cashew Butternut Squash Lasagna
Prep all the above items as recommended
Scoop out the roasted butternut squash and add it into your food processor with the cashew sauce.
Add salt, pepper, nutritional yeast or any other spices to get the flavor you like!
Brown rice or any gluten free lasagna noodle. I used Tinkyada Pasta Joy brown rice noodle
1-2 large zucchinis. Prepped as recommended above
About 2 cups shredded organic carrot
About 3 cups organic spinach
Option: Organic tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Add your pasta noodles in boiling water for roughly 5 minutes. Because brown rice pasta usually takes longer to cook than whole wheat or other grains, I like to parboil them a little before adding them into the dish. If you are using a different type of grain pasta, read the directions on the box and use your best judgement to whether you should precook them or not. They should be softer than previous but not soft enough to eat at this point, as they will continue cooking in the dish.
Scoop a small amount of sauce into your casserole or lasagna dish to line the bottom so nothing sticks to it.
Start by adding the bottom of the tray with your pasta noodles, then start laying your other ingredients over top. I used: Pasta noodles, carrot, spinach, sauce, zucchini noodles, carrot, spinach, sauce and so on, until my dish was filled to the top, alternating zucchini and pasta.
You have an option of alternating the cashew sauce with a tomato sauce if you want even more flavor, and you could also add a protein in here like shredded chicken or turkey. On the very top, I like to finish it with the cashew sauce and add a bit of goat cheese. YUM!
Cover the dish with tinfoil and pop in the oven for about 40 minutes. You can check back to see that the pasta is cooked through, and that the dish is bubbling. Then you’re good to go!
Like I mentioned earlier, the juice is so worth the squeeze, especially if you make two and freeze one for later in the week!
I would love to hear any adaptations that you make with it! Happy cooking!