Zucchini and Vegetable Lasagna (Dairy Free and Grain Free)

I have used cashews to make many cream sauces. One of my favorite recipes was a savory cream sauce for the chicken and rice casserole found in Danielle Walker's second cookbook, Meals Made Simple.

At one time I really enjoyed eating lasagna and I still prepare it about once a month for my family. So I decided to whip up something quickly that I could also enjoy. My husband ate it as a vegetable side dish to his entrée.

I used sliced zucchini in place of the noodles and created my own version of cashew cream sauce in place of cheese. This is a meat free dish, but feel free to use a meat sauce if you prefer.

I prepared this in a small 5 x 7 casserole dish. Makes 2 servings.

Ingredients:
2 medium size zucchini, sliced thin lengthwise
2 - 3 carrots, shredded or sliced
1/4 of a colored bell pepper, chopped
5 - 6 dehydrated tomato slices (my preference) or sun-dried tomatoes
15 ounce pasta sauce from a jar or make your own (See "Really Quick Pasta Sauce" option below.)

1 cup of cashews, soaked at least 30 minutes and no longer than 30 would be ideal
1/2 tsp lemon juice

2 fresh sprigs of parsley or 1/2 TBS dried parsley
garlic and onion powders, 1/8 tsp or less of each
italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp
salt and pepper to taste

other optional ingredients:
yellow squash, mushrooms, grilled onions

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Create cashew sauce by pureeing drained cashews with lemon juice, herbs and spices. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper also. I would start with 1/4 tsp of salt. You can add a little water (or stock) if needed to thin. Set aside.
  3. Using a mandoline slicer, slice the zucchini lengthwise.
  4. Spread a small amount of pasta sauce on the bottom the casserole dish.
  5. Create layers with zucchini, cashew sauce, vegetables, pasta sauce then repeat again and end with zucchini and pasta sauce.
  6. Cover with parchment paper, oven-safe lid or covering of your choice and bake for about 30 minutes.
  7. Top with fresh herbs like parsley or basil and serve.
Really Quick Pasta Sauce: 

This is a pasta sauce that I would use to create pizza sauce, but it was very handy when I needed a sauce for this dish and I didn't have much time.

Using a high-speed blender (I use a Vitamix), blend the following ingredients:

  • 6 oz can of tomato paste, 
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs
  • 1/2 cup of water (or stock)
  • 1 clove of garlic, 
  • up to 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 TBS Honey (or other sweetener).


Recipe Books I'd like to suggest:

If you want more recipes than currently in my recipe section, try Danielle's cookbooks. She is truly talented with creative cooking. I have both of her books and they are very inspirational.