My boyfriend was having some work friends over for dinner; 2 are vegetarians, and 1 a non-dairy vegan. I’ve made 1 vegan mexican enchiladas before, but to make a meal for 10 people which accommodates both omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans was a new challenge for me. I did extensive research through the recipe archives of my favourite food websites, and came across these great recipes from Pure Food and Wine, a vegan, raw, and all organic food restaurant in NYC. One was a vegan lasagna made from slices of zucchini, squash, and tomato “pasta”, lemon and pine nut “ricotta”, sun-dried tomato sauce, and a basil pistachio pesto. The dish is completely raw and uncooked, and you can make it ahead of time up to 4 hours. There is no processed ingredients at all in this recipe, even sugar is replaced with maple syrup. This was great for my dinner since I can do it ahead of time and worry about the other 6 dishes I’m making.

The dish is somewhat time-consuming since you have to make 3 sauces, and slice the vegetable thinly to get the desired effect of “pasta”, but the result is a great looking dish that taste pretty incredible for being composed of nothing but nuts and vegetables.

To make the Pignoli “Ricotta”, pine nuts that’s been soaked in water for 1 hour, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and sea salt are processed together until mixed, and, while the processor is on, water is added in, tablespoon by tablespoon, until the mixture resembles ricotta cheese.

To make the sun-dried tomato sauce, sun-dried tomatoes (not oil packed) are soaked in water for 2 hours, and processed with 1 fresh tomato, lemon juice, onions, maple syrup, sea salt, and hot pepper flakes.

This tomato sauce literally taste like cooked, but cold tomato sauce for pasta. It’s got a thicker consistency which helps the lasagna hold together.

To make the basil pistachio pesto, basil, raw pistachios, sea salt, and olive oil are processed together. Unfortunately I do not have a photo of what it looks like.

To assemble the dish, Zucchini, Squash, and Heirloom tomatoes are sliced into thin slices, you can use a mandolin, but my cheap $14 from OXO doesn’t really work that well, so I resorted to hand slicing my vegetables into approximately 1/16 inch slices. You want to slice the vegetables thin, to simulate the way pasta sheets would work in a real lasagna.

I lined a 9×12 inch baking pan (with 2 inch sides) with plastic wrap, leaving about 4 or 5 inches on each side of overhang. 2 Layers of Zucchini is layered on the bottom of the baking pan, and brushed with olive oil.

Then some tomato sauce is spread on top of the zucchini.

On top of the tomato sauce, dollops of “ricotta cheese” is spooned.

Then basil pistachio pesto is spread on top of the ricotta.

A layer of tomatoes are placed on top of the pesto.

The whole layering process is repeated with the zucchini slices, the sauces, and tomatoes.

I also sprinkled some fresh oregano and thyme on top of the tomatoes, and finished it off with a drizzle of olive oil. The dish can be wrapped and stored at room temperature for a few hours. This will help the flavours to meld.

When it was ready to serve, I unwrapped the lasagna and cut it into sections with a shape knife. I then used the plastic wrap and a spatula to help pick up the sections and place them into a nice plate.

It was time-consuming, but well worth the effort. Many of my guest couldn’t believe that it was completely raw and that it had nothing but unprocessed foods in it.

Vegan Zucchini and Tomato lasagna Recipe: http://nymag.com/restaurants/articles/recipes/zucchini_lemonpignoli.htm

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