Summer Squash Lasagna

No noodles here, so this is perfect if you are seeking a fresh twist on vegan lasagna. This casserole is a delight to serve at summer’s end when nights are cooler and yellow summer squash is widely available from the farm market.

Bonus: Beets, sunflower seeds, walnuts mixed with a few more pantry staples stand in beautifully for the meat in this satisfying main dish.

 

Summer Squash Lasagna

Makes 4 to 6 Servings

 

SQUASH “NOODLES”

2 very large yellow summer squash

 

BEET “MEAT” LAYER

3 slices whole grain bread (gluten-free variety is fine)

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend

¼ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup walnuts

1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

¾ cup grated beets

 

CASHEW-BEAN CHEESE LAYER

1 can (15 ounces) white beans, drained and rinsed

¼ cup chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/3 cup spring or filtered water

 

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS

1 2/3 cups of vegan marinara sauce, plus more as needed

2 tablespoons chopped basil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

To make the zucchini “noodles,” slice each zucchini lengthwise into 1⁄8- to 1⁄4-inch thick strips.

To make the beet layer, put the bread, Italian seasoning and ¼ teaspoon sea salt into a blender and process into coarse crumbs. Put the walnuts and sunflower seeds iton a blender and pulse to process into coarse crumbs. Add the walnuts to the bread crumbs and stir to incorporate.

Add the grated beets and stir gently to combine.

To make the cashew cheese, put the white beans, basil, garlic powder and sea salt in a medium bowl and mash with a potato masher until well combined. Put the cashews and 1/3 cup water in a blender and process until smooth. If needed, add more water, up to 2 tablespoons, to achieve a ricotta cheese-like consistency. Add the cashew mixture to the white beans and mash to the consistency of a thick ricotta cheese.

Spread 2/3 cup marinara sauce evenly in the bottom of a 9 x 12-inch casserole dish. Arrange one-third of the squash “noodles” over the sauce. Spread the beet mixture over the squash in an even layer. Spread 2/3 cup of the marinara sauce over the beet mixture. Arrange one-third of the squash “noodles” over the beet mixture. Spread the cashew cheese over the squash in an even layer.

Cut the remaining squash “noodles” into strips, by slicing them in half lengthwise. Arrange the squash strips in a “criss-cross” pattern over the cashew cheese layer. Spoon about 1 heaping tablespoon of marinara sauce in between the squash strips. Sprinkle the chopped basil over the top.

 

Tent with foil and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until bubbling and squash is soft. Uncover and bake 5 to 7 minutes more to brown the top slightly. Let cool for 15 minutes before cutting into squares. Serve warm.