When I first gave up milk I was so sad to think about all the cheese ravioli and lasagna I would never eat again. Pasta dishes and pizza tempted me in my dreams. Two nights ago I decided to make the cauliflower pizza (the recipe is on my blog) with dairy-free Daiya cheese. This cheese is sworn to be a miracle by vegans and dairy-free people everywhere because it actually "tastes and melts like real cheese". Liars. It was disgusting in its melted form. It had the worst slimy, gooey, stick consistency I've ever experienced. It ruined the whole pizza :( Even my very non-picky boyfriend said it was gross. I'm not swearing off Daiya forever, I will probably try it again in a smaller amount, but the whole experience made me so sad; the one sliver of hope in my cheeseless world had vanished in a gooey sticky mass that I could barely swallow.
However! Last night redeemed my faith! I am a dairy-free cheese believer again thanks to Kris Carr. If you've never heard of her or her "Crazy Sexy" books, documentary, tv appearances etc I highly suggest you get on it. Her books are hilarious and full of sexual innuendos but also full of awesome healthy tips, recipes and lifestyle advice. While flipping through her book Crazy Sexy Kitchen last night I found a recipe for Cashew Pine-Nut Ricotta Cheese that she uses in her raw lasagna. The recipe I have posted is very similar to hers and I highly suggest you buy her book Crazy Sexy Kitchen. Thinking I had nothing to lose I decided to make some of my own and make a lasagna with it (not her raw one because, no offense, but if I'm making lasagna it's going to be full of a delicious red meat sauce). We had some zucchini in the fridge so I used those for the noodles for a healthy grain-free version! Enjoy!
Cashew Pine-Nut Ricotta Cheese
- 1 cup raw cashews (buy in bulk at Whole Foods)
- 1/2 cup raw pine nuts
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp of parsley (minced or powder)
- 2 tbsp minced basil ( I used fresh but you could substitute)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1/3 cup of water
- Soak cashews for 1-2 hrs in hot water to soften
- Add all ingredients to a food processor (if using a blender add cashews in small amounts and blend as you go). Blend until smooth.
- 2-3 zucchinis
- 3 Roma tomatoes (sliced)
- 1/2 onion (diced)
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 24 oz jar pasta sauce (I used Prego Traditional)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Preheat oven to 350
- In a large sauce pan over medium high heat saute onions, garlic, and beef until beef is cooked through. Drain the grease from the pan.
- Add oregano, salt, diced tomatoes, pasta sauce and balsamic vinegar to sauce pan. Stir and let simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes while you do the next few steps
- Chop each zucchini in half then slice zucchini lengthwise about 1/4" thick (I have an awesome slicer thing that helps me do this, if you don't and lengthwise is too much of a pain, you can slice it in 1/4" thick circles instead)
- In large lasagna or casserole dish start layering: zucchini slices on bottom, then tomatoes, then meat/tomato sauce mixture, another layer of zucchini then meat/tomato sauce mixture. If you have any tomato slices left put them on the very top.
- Cover with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes
- (optional: Mine turned out a little soupy on top so I turned the broiler on high and let it cook for 3 minutes just to make the top look more "finished")
- Once out of the oven spread the Vegan Ricotta cheese over the top (it's not going to look perfect so don't try haha)
- Enjoy! (keep in mind this lasagna is going to look messy but taste delicious!)
*Another option for this recipe that I want to eventually try is a layer of the Vegan ricotta cheese in the middle, but I wasn't sure how this would work out with the heat because Kris Carr uses hers with her Raw Lasagna recipe*