This is the first recipe I developed that used cashews to make a creamy sauce. Memories! Misty, cashew-colored memories. There are other ways to mimic the creaminess of dairy in a vegan recipe, but using cashews is my favorite method by far. It’s easy, the ingredients in cashew creams are unprocessed whole foods, and cashew creams are delicious. I make cashew cream so often that I bought a Magic Bullet pretty much dedicated to all things cashew.
The base of most cashew sauces is soaked raw cashews and water. I always add a little oil too. If you want a cheesy sauce, a little lemon juice will add tang and nutritional yeast adds pungency (I was going to say “cheesy funk,” but “funk” is not a word you want to associate with food, is it?). I nearly always add some garlic for flavor and in the case of this Mushroom and Kale Lasagna, I also added some fresh rosemary.
Cashew cream performs best when you combine it with already cooked food — tossed with pasta just before serving, for example. If you bake it in the oven, it has a tendency to dry out a bit. When baking this lasagna, it’s important to cover it with foil and keep it covered the whole way through. There’s no cheese to brown on top, so keeping it covered is fine! This will help the lasagna stay creamy in the middle.
This December, we’re republishing updated recipes from Oh My Veggies’ first year. This post was originally published on June 21, 2011.
3/4 pound kale, rinsed thoroughly, stems removed and leaves chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Prepare the lasagna noodles according to instructions on package, reserving 3 cups of cooking liquid.
To make the sauce, place the raw cashews and 1 cup of reserved water in a blender or food processor and process until the sauce is smooth. Add more water as needed until sauce has a creamy, alfredo-like texture, neither too thick nor too thin. Add the lemon juice, garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, nutritional yeast, and rosemary. Process again until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and cook until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the kale and continue cooking until wilted, about 2 minutes more; remove from heat.
Spread about 1/2 cup of the cashew sauce on the bottom of a 8 x 8 inch baking dish that’s been lightly coated with oil (I use an oil mister). Layer 4 lasagna noodles and top with half of the veggie mixture. Top with 1/3 of the remaining cashew sauce, 4 more noodles, remaining veggie mixture, another third of the cashew sauce, and then the rest of the noodles. Spread the last of the cashew sauce over the top of the lasagna. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Let the lasagna rest for 5 minutes, then cut into pieces and serve.