Hot Pesto, ‘Ricotta’ & Spicy Red Cherry Tomato Lasagne with Stretchy ‘Cheese’ !

My new melting vegan cheese lasagne, with my almond homemade ricotta on a bed of green chilli pesto with my Puttanesca & cherry tomato sauce, all drowning in a sea of mouthwatering goodness.

I can’t say too much about this incredible lasagne, other than make, bake and taste this mouthwatering deliciousness.  With all the kick you can hope for, this makes for an Italian feast – rich and decadent.  Layers of savoury decadence, colour, aroma and Heavenly delight !

INGREDIENTS FOR THE PESTO

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1 green chilli, chopped

4 cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup (125 ml) olive oil

¼ cup walnuts or pecan nuts

1 tsp salt (or to taste)

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

METHOD FOR THE PESTO

  1. Place the nuts in your food processor, and process until crumbs form.
  2. Then add your chilli and garlic, and process again.
  3. Then add your chopped basil, and pulse several times.
  4. Now add your olive oil a little at a time whilst you process, together with the remaining ingredients.  Add more olive oil if you need it.  You should be left with a good cup of fresh pesto.
  5. Cover and set aside.

RICH CHERRY TOMATO PICANTE SAUCE INGREDIENTS

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp agave or maple syrup

1 cup cherry tomatoes (use small ones)

olive oil for frying

½ tsp or more sea salt

3 Tbsp tomato puree

3 cups tomato polpa

METHOD FOR THE RED PICANTE SAUCE

  1. Heat your oil up in a large saucepan, and fry up your cherry tomatoes whole, being careful that the oil does not splash on you.
  2. Scorch the tomatoes for a few minutes, then add your garlic (but don’t let it burn).
  3. Next, add your tomato puree, and stir for a minute or so.
  4. Now add the rest of the ingredients a little at a time, and then simmer for 25 minutes, until you have a nice rich thick sauce – taste for the salt.  Set aside whilst you make your stretchy cheese sauce.

INGREDIENTS FOR THE STRETCHY ‘CHEESE’ SAUCE

2 cups (500ml) dairy free milk (I used my cashew milk from my Mouthwatering Vegan Book)

1 cup vegan cheese of your choice, chopped or grated

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

2Tbsp tapioca starch (add a bit more if you want a thicker sauce)

1 tsp agave or other sweetener of your choice

1 Tbsp lemon juice

¾ -1 tsp sea salt to taste (don’t omit)

1 large clove garlic, cut into 4 pieces

METHOD FOR THE ‘CHEESE’ SAUCE

  1. Place your ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth – add a little bit of water if the result is too thick.
  2. Then pour this mixture into a saucepan and heat it up, mixing almost constantly, until it forms a rich thickish stretchy ‘cheese’ sauce mix – taste for salt.

EXTRAS PLUS ‘RICOTTA’

12 or so sheets lasagne (the ones you don’t need to pre-cook)

1½ cups of vegan ricotta (the best is on my YouTube channel, if I say so myself)

2 courgettes, sliced and fried until golden, then set aside in readiness for layering

parsley, finely chopped, for garnishing.

ASSEMBLING THE MASTERPIECE PRIOR TO BAKING

  1. Preheat sure your oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
  2. Grease a suitable rectangular oven dish (mine was around 12 inches long, 8 inches wide, & 3 inches deep).
  3. First spoon in around three quarters of the pesto, and even out with a spoon.
  4. Then place 3 sheets of lasagne on top of your pesto, and spoon on the rest of the pesto on top of this first layer, so you now have pesto beneath and as pesto layer on top of the lasagne sheets.
  5. Next, having gently mashed your ‘ricotta’ in a bowl, distribute it evenly on this layer.  Then cover with another 3 sheets of lasagne.
  6. Place your pre-cooked courgettes as a layer on top of this, and then pour around 80% of your ‘cheese’ sauce evenly on top of your courgettes. 
  7. Follow on with the last 3 lasagne sheets, then gently pour over your red tomato sauce, and finally what’s left of your ‘cheese’ sauce.
  8. Place in your pre-heated oven until golden on top !  Allow 20 minutes before cutting into portions.  Garnish with your freshly chopped parsley !
  9. Enjoy with a crispy herb salad and balsamic vinaigrette dressing !

NOTE :  You may wish to use lasagne sheets that you boil yourself, – if so, be sure to leave them a little al dente, then rinse them with cold water and allow them to slightly dry so that you can handle them one at a time.

All recipes and content © Miriam Sorrell www.mouthwateringvegan.com 2010

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