Sunday, December 8, 2013

Butternut Squash Lasagna

I made this lasagna for our Thanksgiving main dish, and it went beautifully with the usual holiday suspects (in this case mashed potatoes, roasted root veggies, stuffing, gravy, etc.) while adding a little extra pizzazz to the mix. It was a bit time-consuming - because I was basically making it up as I went along - but future batches will come together more quickly, thanks to this recipe! As it was, I made and assembled the casserole the day before, refrigerated it overnight, and put it in the oven about an hour before dinner with excellent results, so bear that in mind next time you need something for a holiday meal or potluck, or are just pressed for time while prepping a big, multi-course meal.

Butternut Squash Lasagna
~ 1 lb. no boil lasagna noodles
~ 2 lbs. butternut squash, cut into cubes
~ 1-3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
~ 1 small onion, diced
~ 4 cloves garlic, minced
~ 1/2 lb. frozen spinach, thawed
~ 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water at least 30 minutes
~ 1 lb. extra firm tofu
~ Juice of 1 lemon
~ 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tsp. each salt, basil, oregano
~ A few grinds fresh black pepper
~ 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

~ Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
~ Arrange the cubed squash on the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and coat with 1-2 tbsp. olive oil. (I just do this with my hands: moisturizing!)
~ Roast at 400 degrees, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes, until browned and tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
~ In a skillet, heat a tbsp. of olive oil and sauté the onion over low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. 
~ Add the garlic and spinach; stir to combine and continue cooking for about 5 minutes longer, then remove from heat.
~ In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine the remaining ingredients (cashews through nutritional yeast) and blend until smooth.
~ Place the cooked squash in a large mixing bowl and mash until almost-but-not-quite smooth. Add the onion/spinach and cashew/tofu mixtures and mix well to combine.

~ 1-2 tbsp. Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
~ 2 tbsp. flour
~ 4 cups plain, unsweetened soymilk
~ 2 cups shredded vegan cheese (I used 50/50 Daiya cheddar and mozzarella)
~ 1/2 cup vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast
~ 1/2 tsp. each: salt, marjoram, sage, white pepper
~ Dash nutmeg
~ 1 tbsp. hot sauce (I like Frank's)

~ Wipe out the skillet you used for the onions and melt the margarine over medium-high heat. 
~ Add the flour and a little of the soy milk to make a roux. Raise the heat to medium and gradually add the remaining milk, shredded cheese, parmesan, and remaining ingredients, stirring with each addition until the cheese melts and you have a smooth sauce.

~ Preheat the oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit and coat a large, deep casserole with cooking spray.
~ Ladle about a cup of sauce into the bottom of the casserole and spread evenly.
~ Arrange sufficient lasagna noodles to cover the bottom of the casserole (this will probably take 3-4 sheets), and spread half the filling over them, smoothing with a spatula.
~ Pour half the sauce over the filling and top with another layer of lasagna noodles. Add the remaining filling, another layer of noodles, and the remaining sauce, making sure to spread it evenly over the whole business. If you have time, set the assembled lasagna aside to let everything mingle and get to know each other a bit before baking. (NB at this point I covered the casserole with foil and refrigerated it until the next day, which worked fine so bear that in mind if you want to prepare something ahead.)
~ Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 30 minutes, until bubbling (I put a cookie sheet under my casserole to catch any drips).
~ Raise the oven temperature to 400, remove the foil, and bake uncovered for another 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
~ Remove from oven and allow to sit at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

1 comment:

  1. Like any proper lasagne, there are a zillion ingredients, but the payoff is worth it! Thanks for the recipe, Desdemona!