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February 14, 2011

Lasagna With Kelp Noodles and Marinara

This is great for a rainy, raw night. It's comforting, warming and satisfying and a meal you could easily serve to your SAD friends. While there are several parts that make up this dish, it can be prepared rather quickly with a little practice. The best part, there are plenty of leftovers for tomorrow night!! 

This is my version adapted from this  awesome  recipe by Russell James. I also cut his recipe in half as it's a large quantity.

serves 4 

Nut Cheese
1 1/2 cups macadamias 

1 cup pine nuts (I only use 2 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3/4 yellow bell pepper
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 tsp salt
Process all ingredients together only adding water if necessary, until a fluffy consistency is achieved.

Walnut Meat Layer
1 1/2 cups walnuts soaked 1 hour or more (I didn't soak mine)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for 1 hour or more
1 Tbsp brown miso
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried sage
2 Tbsp nama shoyu
Dash  cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp agave nectar
pinch of sea salt

Process all ingredients, leaving the mixture slightly chunky.

Marinara sauce  (this is my sauce or use your favorite)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes
2 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped 
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp dried oregano 
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning mix
1/4 tsp salt, to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil 
1 Tbsp lemon juice 
1/2 avocado

Process in a food processor until smooth.

Green pesto  (Double this if you like a lot of pesto. I don't)
1 cup tightly packed basil leaves
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts (or a mix of both)
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch sea salt
dash garlic powder
1 tsp lemon juice

Process all ingredients, leaving plenty of chunkiness!

Spinach Layer
3 cups torn spinach  (I used arugula)
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt

Place all ingredients in a bowl and massage into spinach leaves Let marinade and wilt for 1 hour or longer.
(putting the covered bowl in a dehydrator will help this process). 

Crumbled Sausage Topping
These are optional, and should ideally be made in advance. This is one of my favorite toppings for pizza and other Italian food. I always keep a batch in the freezer and it holds up well.

2 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1 cup walnuts
pinch of cayenne
Dash of crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp each, salt, pepper, oregano, basil

Process the walnuts until well chopped. Add dates, fennel, basil, oregano, salt and peppers, and process until it begins to come together, but still has texture.

Roll into small balls and dehydrate at 110 degrees 6-8 hours. (or crumble and use as is)

 For the assembly
2 medium zucchini cut lengthwise into thin strips using a peeler or mandolin. Marinate in 1tsp of salt and 1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil for 10 minutes. Add a pinch  of black pepper

Assembly method:
Line the base of your dish with a layer of the zucchini strips that slightly overlap.

Add a layer of walnut meat, then cheese, marinara sauce, and finally the pesto on top. Add another layer of overlapping zucchini strips. 
(I find using a small offset spatula REALLY helps. The walnut meat is thick and hard to spread, as is the cheese. The offset spatula really spread the food nicely.)

Add another layer of walnut meat, cheese,  marinara sauce, and pesto. Top with a layer of wilted spinach or arugula and one more layer of zucchini. Top with marinara sauce and sprinkle with sausage crumbs if you are using them.

I dehydrate the lasagna at 105 degrees for 1 hour or if you like it warm, place in a preheated LOW oven for bout 5 - 7 minutes. It won't get hot, but it does feel good when it's a little warm to the touch. 

Russel suggests placing the whole dish in the fridge for several hours to firm it up making it easier to cut into portions.

Garnish individual portions with black pepper and a sprig of basil and serve with kelp noodles and marinara sauce. 

Note: To soften kelp noodles, rinse and drain in a colander and then soak in warm water and lemon juice for at least 1 hour. Rinse and drain. I like to warm the marinara in the dehydrator or very quickly warm on the stove, stirring constantly, just to take the chill off. YUMMM!
Here is the lasagna after it came out of the dehydrator:


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