I have a really special recipe to share today from my dear friend Beverly.
She's a physician's assistant who prefers fresh, organic produce from the farm (rather than drugs from the pharmacy). Imagine a gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, raw lasagna that tastes as good as it looks.
It's a living foods recipe that will have your family and friends licking their plates and begging for more!
A Nutrient-Rich Recipe for Raw Lasagna: by Chef Beverly
The main ingredient in this raw lasagna, or “Rawsagna” as I call it, is my super-thin mandolin-cut summer squash.
Squash is incredibly rich in manganese, a mineral that helps our bodies process nutrients like biotin for beautiful hair, skin, and nails. Manganese also helps support glucose regulation, helps process fats and carbs, and even helps with the functioning of the thyroid gland.
And while its rich in nutrition, squash is light and enlivening — one cup of summer squash has only 36 calories, 7 grams of carbs, 1 gram of protein and less than 1 gram of fat.
Squash: This Versatile Vegetable Boasts a Long List of Nutrients!
- Squash contains vitamin C to help us fight cancer. Vitamin C also helps us form nice firm skin with its ability to help collagen production and thereby lay down the network for production of bone mass.
- Squash contains about 516 IU per serving of vitamin A (in the precursor form of beta-carotene) that helps boost immune function and help stop cancer cells from dividing.
- Squash also delivers a nice helping of magnesium, serving up relaxing benefits that are wonderful for our nervous system and for blood pressure regulation.
- Other helpful nutrients are potassium, phosphorous, and Vitamin K, that, again, are helpful for bone formation by assisting calcium absorption and regulating blood pressure.
- The folate squash contains has been shown to prevent anemia, birth defects, and even help to prevent atherosclerosis and process homocysteine.
- And oh, to boot, the dietary fiber in yellow squash is at 2.52 grams per cup serving.
And there are many more benefits from the herbs in the recipe below, too.
Enjoy with gusto!
P.S. Don't let the long recipe fool you. It's not that difficult or time-consuming to make and is so worth it for the leftovers!
(Makes a full 9-inch square baking pan)
- 4-6 medium summer squash (enough to make about 6 cups of mandolin thin-slices)
- 1/2 cup of packed sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in just enough water to cover them
- 3-4 Roma tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons healthy salt, divided (or to taste) between the tomato sauce and “ricotta” and to sprinkle onto squash slices for softening
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 handful of any fresh herbs you like such as plenty of fresh basil, a sprig of thyme, oregano, rosemary, or parsley
- A drop or two of stevia extract (clear liquid) for “ricotta” sweetness and for the tomato sauce's sweetness; not enough to detect, just enough to balance the flavor
- 1/2 cup soaked pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup soaked sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup soaked almonds
- 1/8 cup soaked macadamia nuts
- 4 Brazil nuts
- 1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley
- pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
- any desired garnish you like such as fresh basil, pesto sauce, Parma (a raw, healthy commercially available Parmesan cheese substitute made from walnuts, nutritional yeast, salt and garlic), or just a few additional grated Brazil nuts with garlic and salt
- Rehydrate dried tomatoes in just enough water to cover.
- Slice squash as thin as you can with a knife or mandolin, if you have one, and sprinkle lightly with a bit of salt in a colander set and set aside to soften.
- In a blender or food processor, blend seeds and nuts until creamy and white and season to taste with a teaspoon of salt, pinch of sweetener, if desired, to make more like authentic sweet Ricotta.
- Add a grating of nutmeg, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or to taste) and blend again. After you like the flavor of the “ricotta”, stir in fresh chopped parsley or you can blend again if you don't mind it a slight bit on the green side instead of a bright white color.
- Blend soaked dried tomatoes with their soaking water, fresh tomatoes, vinegar, salt, 1-2 cloves garlic and pepper and a pinch of desired healthy sweetener.
- When you are happy with the sauce's flavor, gently pulse in the fresh herbs. Reserve a few fresh basil leaves for garnish.
- Begin building your dish by putting just a tiny bit of tomato sauce on bottom of 9-inch square pan. Begin to layer your squash noodles that you have drained of any liquid from the softening process. Just overlap pieces and don't get too fussy — they will look more like wavy lasagna noodle edges. Use just enough to cover the sauce on bottom of pan completely.
- Next, add enough seed/nut “ricotta” to just cover squash “noodles”.
- Add another layer of squash noodles.
- Now add a layer of the tomato sauce, enough to cover the squash.
- Add another layer of squash noodles.
- Cover the noodle layer with remaining “ricotta”.
- Finally, end with any remaining sauce and garnish as it delights you.
If you plan on dehydrating your raw lasagne, you can make it a day ahead. But I prefer to just put it into an oven I have turned on to “warm” during prep time and turned off before setting the Rawsagna in it. If you let it “just” warm, as well as the plates for serving, it provides that “comfort food” feeling many people enjoy.
In the time it took to make an accompanying salad, the plates and Rawsagna were sufficiently warm. I cut the dish into 6 square servings, lifting out with a spatula and fork to hold the pieces together. It was quite firm and held together beautifully and looked and even smelled very much like the “real” thing.
Hope you enjoy as much as we did! Salud!
About Chef Beverly:
Beverly O’Brien is a conventionally trained physician’s assistant who decided to turn in her prescription pad for her culinary arts. She believes in the power of your body to heal and the role of delicious and nutritious fresh plant foods in creating vibrant health. Beverly is available for private food classes in your home in the Napa, California area. To reach Beverly, e-mail Beverly@drritamarie.com
thank you for such a helpful blog, i will make it