Popping in on a Friday for a quick hello. A friend of mine who sometimes reads the blog told me over drinks once that it’s difficult to tell which recipes I truly love and which ones I just like. This recipe should leave you with no doubt. It’s one of the best things I’ve made in about a year. I wish I could take credit for the recipe, but it’s all Jessica’s straight out of her new cookbook, One Part Plant. It’s one of the easiest lasagnas I’ve ever made and certainly one of the tastiest. I’ve made this twice already, once on a weeknight.
What I love about it most is the cashew cream that serves as a sort of bechamel to complement the meaty mushrooms and the fresh herbs and greens. It’s hearty and filling in the way comfort food should be, yet the cashew cream and herbs lend it a light and elegant subtlety that elevates it above it’s “add the kitchen sink” counterpart. The recipe uses brown rice lasagna sheets which helps check all the boxes for nutrients greater than the sum of its parts–whole grains, fresh herbs, tomatoes, garlic, mushrooms and cashews. I took the liberty of adding a little crushed pepper for heat.
One of my biggest challenges with plant-based recipes has been trying to build satisfying mains without feeling like you’re really just eating a bunch of side dishes. This lasagna stands up to the test and truly assumes a place, layer by layer, next to or– dare I say– above the classic.
This is exactly the kind of dish I use to fuel a big run. On Sunday I completed the NYC half marathon! I ran it in just about 2 hours even, which is a pretty decent pace, considering my training was spotty. It was cold and long, but running through Times Square was so unique and there was so much energy on the streets that I ran my quickest mile there (which I paid for in the last mile). The course started in Central Park, taking us through Times Square and down the West Side Highway into the financial district and ending on Wall Street. What a feeling to cross that finish line.
While I could have trained more, having this race on the calendar was more to help get me through the winter doldrums. It gave me a goal and forced me to go outside and challenge myself in below-freezing temperatures sometimes because I made this commitment. And I was surprised at just how fast I could go, how much cold I could take and how quick recovery time was. On days where I’d be tempted to watch the Law & Order SVU television marathon on my couch, I forced myself outside to rise to the challenge.
Now that it’s officially spring, I’m looking forward to where my visits to the park will be a little warmer and to the days when I can make this recipe using yellow summer squash in place of the lasagna noodles!
Happy Friday and happy spring! xo
CREAMY MUSHROOM LASAGNA (V+GF)
From Jessica Murnane’s cookbook, One Part Plant
- Olive, grape seed, or coconut oil, or veggie broth for sautéing
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 16 ounces mushrooms, chopped (you can use a mix of different mushrooms)
- 1 tablespoon tamari or coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for a few hours (overnight is best), drained**
- 1 cup veggie broth
- 2 big handfuls spinach
- 10 ounces gluten-free lasagna noodles (I love Tinkyada’s brown rice pasta)
- 4 cups marinara sauce, store-bought (a 32 oz jar) or homemade (Jessica’s homemade sauce is JUST…!)
- Nutritional yeast (optional)
- hot pepper flakes to taste (optional)
In a large skillet, heat a glug of oil or veggie broth over medium. When the pan is hot, add the garlic and sauté until it becomes fragrant. This will take about a minute. Add the mushrooms, tamari, and thyme. Cook, stirring every minute or so, for 6 to 8 minutes or until the mushrooms release their water and a little broth starts to form.
Combine the cashews and veggie broth in a high-speed blender and blend until the mixture is completely smooth. This might take up to 5 minutes, depending on the speed and power of your blender. Pour the cashew sauce into the pan with the mushrooms. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for a couple minutes to let the sauce thicken, stirring frequently. Throw in the spinach and stir for another minute.
Prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions. Make sure to do this after your mushroom sauce is ready to go, so the noodles don’t sit for too long and start sticking together. Spread a third of the marinara sauce on the bottom of an 8-by-11-inch baking dish. Add a layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with half of the mushroom cream. Add a layer of noodles. Use another third of the marinara to cover these noodles. Add the remaining mushroom cream. Add the last layer of noodles and cover it with the remaining marinara sauce.
Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast over the top, if you like, and bake for another 15 minutes. Let the lasagna rest for 5 minutes before serving.
**If you’re a terrible planner, like myself, you can make this, with no noticeable difference by covering the cashews in a heat proof bowl with boiling water for 20 minutes (10 if you have a high speed blender). I do it every time.