Hot, Melting, Gooei, Comforting, Filling, Delightful. A true lasagna is one of the richest, most pleasant things to eat on a cold winter day. It start from the making, continues with the smell that spread all over the house and ends with this warm, calming sensation in your stomach. Sensation that only one thing can achieve.
Vegetable lasagna is possible, it could even be tasty, but it was never and will never be the real deal. The accumulation of joy one can have when ragout meets white creamy sauce is something no vegetable can imitate.
And yet, vegan lasagna. A ragout based on soy protein with mushrooms, roots and tomatoes, covered with a creamy cashew-tapioca cream flavored with nutritional yeast. Rice paper has replaced the pasta so my gluten-intolerant lover could enjoy the delight as well.
And I fool you not – no one believed it is vegan nor gluten free.
2 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 small soy protein flakes, soaked in boiling water, sieved and sqeezed
10 shitaake mushrooms
10 button mushrooms (or an equivalent amount of oyster mushrooms)
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 cup grated celery root
1 tablespoon date syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 glass dry red wine
1 can Italian tomato puree
oil, salt, pepper, thyme, smoked paprika, allspice
1 cup raw cashew nuts, soaked in warm water for 6 hours
2 cups water
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 knob garlic
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (to your taste)
Rice paper (the one used for summer rolls)
Start with making the ragout. Saute the onions and roots in olive oil, until golden. Add the spices (paprika, allspice, pepper) and mix. After squeezing all the liquids out of the soy, add it and the mushrooms and mix well. It will dry more. Once well mixed, add the rest of the ingredients, and mix. Keep cooking until the sauce is well thickened. Taste, balance sweetness or sourness if needed.
As for the white sauce: soak the cashews, sieve and blend to a fine mash. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend well. While whisking, hear over medium flame until it thickens. Remove from flame.
Start the assembly. First, cover the baking pan with oil and make a sense layer of rice paper, make the first layer wet so it will flex to the size of the pan. Cover the bottom with ragout and then with white sauce. Repeat until you have no more ragout left (around 4 layers). The upper layer should be only white sauce.
If you want to vary one of the layers, do one of spinach. Take the recipe from here and use it as one layer.
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