I’ve finally created a luxurious layered casserole that takes the place of lasagna for my cool-weather feasts and special comfort-food meals. It freezes well, so don’t hesitate to make it just for yourself and then freeze most of it to enjoy later. It’s creamy, rich, and yet still remarkably low in calories and fat. Even the omnivores in my family love it.
This is a great recipe for entertaining because you can make all the parts in advance or even assemble the whole thing, refrigerate it, and just bake it longer before adding the topping. (I haven’t timed this yet, but would start with 15 minutes.)
Active time: about 90 minutes. Total time: about 2 hours and 40 minutes. Serves 8 to 12.
Cost: $1.91 a serving assuming 10 servings or $19.10 for the whole recipe, using organic ingredients. As always, choose organic ingredients whenever you can.
2 cups raw cashews (250 grams)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice (juice from one lemon)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
two 28-ounce cans fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon olive oil
6 ounces mushrooms, sliced (I’ve used button and portabella mushrooms with success)
8 ounces kale, stemmed and chopped with the stems kept apart
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 no-bake whole wheat lasagna noodles
- To make topping, fit your food processor with the stainless-steel blade and turn it on high speed. Drop in 4 peeled garlic cloves and process until they stop bouncing. Save half the minced garlic for tomato sauce and leave the other half in the food processor. Add bread and pulse several times until you have large bread crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs with oil and nutritional yeast. Pulse once or twice to mix. Put topping in a bowl, using a spatula so the food processor is essentially empty again. (I make the topping first so the food processor is clean and dry for mincing garlic.)
- To make cashew filling, put all ingredients in the food processor and process until cashews are in small pieces, about 30 seconds. Let cashews aborb water while you continue preparing the strata, giving them a pulse every few minutes. (Many recipes call for soaking raw cashews overnight, but my quick pulse-and-soak method works just as well.)
- Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center of the oven. Get out a 10 x 14 x 2-inch baking dish. (The one pictured here is a little larger and works fine.)
- To make tomato sauce, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add chopped onion and cook until soft and beginning to brown, about 15 minutes, stirring ocassionally. Stir in garlic and chipotle pepper, then stir in tomatoes and oregano. Cover and cook until sauce begins to boil. Reduce heat to low.
- To make kale filling, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add sliced mushrooms and chopped kale stems. Cook until soft, about 5 minutes, stirring ocassionally. Add chopped kale leaves and salt, stir, and cook covered until kale is tender and wilted, about 10 minutes.
- To assemble strata, process the cashew filling until it is smooth, about 30 seconds. Spread 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce in the baking dish.
- Top sauce with 4 lasagna noodles, edges just touching. Spread with half the kale filling, dot with half the cashew filling, and drizzle with 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce. Repeat. Top with remaining 4 noodles and remaining tomato sauce (but not the bread-crumb topping). Spoon sauce over any dry noodle edges.
- Cover strata with foil and bake for 50 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with bread-crumb topping, and bake 10 minutes until topping is browned and strata bubbles along the edges. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Serve hot. Keeps 5 days refrigerated and one year wrapped and frozen.
Nutrition Information (for 1 piece or 1/10th recipe)
Calories: 382. Percent of calories from fat: 34%, carbohydrates: 54%, protein: 12%.
Protein 11 grams (23% daily value), total fat: 14 grams (22%), cholesterol 0 grams, total carbohydrates 51 grams (17%), dietary fiber 6 grams (23%)
Calcium 123 mg (12%), iron 6 mg (31%), potassium 925 mg (26%), zinc 3 mg (21%), Vitamin C 45 mg (75%), Vitamin A 3280 IU (66%), Vitamin B6 0.5 mg (24%), Thiamin B1 0.5 mg (32%), Riboflavin B2 0.3 (18%), Folacin 57 mcg (14%)