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Healthy eating: Creamy cashews star in vegan lasagna

Vegan lasagna. (Adriana Janovich / The Spokesman-Review)
Vegan lasagna. (Adriana Janovich / The Spokesman-Review)

Lasagna without mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan might sound like a tragedia to most Italians.

But for vegans or those with food allergies, it’s a take on a traditional dish that they can actually enjoy.

This gluten- and dairy-free lasagna offers so much flavor that non-vegans likely won’t miss the meat or cheese.

Andi Herrera brought the dish to a recent monthly Inland Northwest Vegans potluck in Spokane, where it was a hit. Potlucks are held from 5 to 7 p.m. the third Sunday of the month. For more information, visit inveg.org.

“The lasagna is always good,” Herrera said, noting, “This is the exact way I make it every time.”

Easy Cheezy Vegan Lasagna

From Andi Herrera of InVeg in Spokane

1 package of gluten-free lasagna noodles

2 cups raw cashews

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

A few generous squeezes of lemon juice

2-4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce, depending on how much sauce you like

1/2 cup chopped sweet onions, or more to taste

1 package of beef-free crumbles or other meat substitute

Chopped fresh tomatoes, for garnish (optional)

Fresh basil leaves, for garnish (optional)

Boil lasagna noodles until soft and pliable, but not so soft they fall apart. Drain.

Boil cashews in lightly salted water for at least 10 minutes. Drain.

In a high-speed blender or food processor, blend cashews, garlic powder, onion powder, lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Add a small amount of water to help it blend. Process. (Should be a thick, creamy consistency.)

In an oven-safe pan, layer cooked noodles, marinara sauce, cashew mixture, chopped onions and ground-beef substitute. (Ground beef substitute does not need to be fully thawed; it will cook just fine.)

Put a generous layer of sauce over top layer of noodles, plus more cashew mixture, too, if desired.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Uncover. Add chopped tomatoes around the edges of top layer, if desired. Bake uncovered for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven, and add fresh basil leaves, if desired.

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