There aren’t many things I truly miss by eating a clean, skin friendly diet. I’ve mentioned before that pizza is the one thing I sometimes crave. Perhaps it’s because it contains the very worst combination of ingredients for my skin!! Gluten, Dairy AND Tomatoes ~ my skin hates them all. That also makes lasagne really bad for me and there’s something else I sometimes find myself craving! There’s definitely something in wanting what you can’t have 🙂
Anyway … now I can have it. Just a clean, healthy, skin friendly version! If you don’t struggle with an autoimmune illness or skin problems, you may want to include tomatoes in this recipe. I can’t, because my psoriasis would flare like crazy. But if you’re ok with tomatoes – go for it. It will only add to the awesomeness!
INGREDIENTS (4 servings)
6 sheets of spelt lasagne
2 cloves of garlic
Olive oil to grease the pan and dish
A few sprigs of thyme
For the Pesto
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove of garlic
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Large handful of fresh basil leaves
Pinch of salt
For the vegan cheese
3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
Sprinkling of flaxseeds
In most recipes lasagne sauce contains a fair bit of liquid, so it cooks really well straight in the oven. I prefer to pre-cook this lasagne in stages. Without tomato sauce the lasagne is not quite as ‘wet’. It therefore makes more sense to pre-cook it before baking it in the oven for a short while to crisp the top. I like to make this in a small, rectangular lasagne dish. This will make enough for four decent size main course portions.
To make the cashew cheese
Soak 200g of cashews in enough water to just cover the nuts. Soak for around 2 hours. If you’re short on time, add warm water instead and soak for as long as possible (2 hours max). Drain the water and place the cashews in your food processor. They don’t need to be completely dry, some water is a good thing. Add your nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt, blitz the lot, adding a touch more water if it needs it. You’re wanting the ‘cheese’ to be thick but smooth for this recipe. Depending on your processor it may take a little time to get it nice and smooth.
To make the pesto
Blitz all your pesto ingredients together to create a delicious, garlicy, pesto sauce. If it’s a touch too dry add a drop more olive oil or a little more lemon juice.
To make the lasagne
Boil a pan of water and drop your spinach leaves in for a minute or two. They cook super-fast and you don’t want them soggy! The aim is to soften them just enough to make it easier to layer them in the lasagne. Lift the leaves out and allow the water to drain. Pressing them into a sieve will help remove excess moisture.
Now add a drop of olive oil to the water and turn the heat up again (the oil will help stop the sheets sticking together). Place the sheets carefully in the pan and simmer for around 10 minutes. You want the sheets to cook but you don’t want them to turn too soft. Think al dente 🙂
While the pasta sheets are cooking, warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan, stir in the chopped mushrooms, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt. Saute the mushrooms for 5-10 mins while the pasta sheets cook. You want the mushrooms to soften slightly but they’ll cook more in the oven.
Add a few drops of olive oil to your lasagne dish to grease the base and sides. Carefully layer two of your pre-cooked lasagne sheets along the bottom of the dish.
Use a sharp knife to cut a small courgette lengthways and cover the base spelt sheets in a layer of thinly sliced pieces. On top of the courgette layer a little pesto and a thin coating of cashew cheese. Place another couple of pasta sheets on top and add a layer of spinach and some sauteed mushrooms on top of that. Again include a little cashew cheese and pesto.
Add the final 2 layers of spelt pasta and ensure that’s completely covered by a top layer of cashew cheese. Sprinkle flaxseeds liberally over the ‘cheese’. The seeds are a great alternative to breadcrumbs. They create a lovely crunchy texture and count as a brilliant superfood, full of benefits. I also like to add a few sprigs of thyme on top of the lasagne. They smell amazing while baking.
Place the lasagne in the oven at 160C. It should only need around 20-30minutes to cook. Switch off the oven and leave the lasagne inside to slowly cool.
This dish freezes brilliantly. You can also keep it in the fridge for a few days if you prefer. I love to serve it with a fresh green salad. Delicious.