Make this Pumpkin Spinach Lasagna with Cashew Ricotta Cream for Halloween
Racing season is winding down. If you are a Minnesotan, chances are you have competed in your last fall race. There are six months (legitimately, almost seven, but let’s not get hyper-realistic before the snow falls) until you will compete again. Six months to build your strength, increase your stamina, catch frozen snow boogers on your tongue. Truly, you could eat take-out pizza and Chinese food for the next three months and none would be the wiser. But why? I mean, yeah. It’s delicious. But so is this lasagna, which will actually feed your cells and help you prepare for the spring.
The original recipe is here: I don’t do dairy, and as often as I can, I cook from my pantry, so I adapted it to be plant-based and also accommodate my big bag of spinach. If you are gluten free, substitute gluten free lasagna noodles, and you are good to go.
As is true of all lasagnas, this one requires a bit of prep. You have to boil noodles. And I highly recommend the homemade cashew ricotta cream. There’s some chopping and assembling and baking and resting. Real food takes real time. While you are waiting, do some high intensity training. Or talk to your kid or your love or your best friend. All are good.
Serves at least 8. (My daughter and I ate it for dinner, and both of us have been eating it for lunch since).
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces crimini mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
- 1 pound of organic baby spinach (about 6 cups)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree
- 1 recipe cashew ricotta cream (I used this with the lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon onion powder, and at least 1/2 teaspoon sea salt)
- 2 cups vegan mozzarella cheese (Trader Joe’s has a good/cheap vegan mozz)
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups favorite tomato sauce (I used Kirkland Signature marinara sauce)
- 15 Lasagna noodles (I used Ronzoni Healthy Harvest because it was in my cupboard)
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- In a large pot, bring several quarts of water to boil. Cook lasagna noodles to al dente stage, according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Saute onions until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms. Saute until mushrooms wilt, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add baby spinach. Cook until spinach wilts, about 5 minutes.
- Add wine. Simmer until wine is reduced, about 5 minutes.
- Add basil. Stir until fragrant.
- Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon of each). Remove from heat and set aside.
- Stir together: pumpkin, cashew ricotta, 1 to 1 1/2 cups vegan mozzarella. Season with salt and pepper.
- Spray 9X13 pan with canola oil spray. (You can grease the pan in any way that is convenient: butter, coconut oil, olive oil, etc. It’s just that the spray is so handy.)
- Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in the bottom of the pan.
- Layer: lasagna noodles (4-5), one half of the pumpkin ricotta mixture (spread across the noodles), one half of the spinach mushroom mixture, and a cup or so of marinara sauce.
- Top with more noodles. Layer again.
- Top with another layer of noodles. Top with remaining marinara sauce and about 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella.
- Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve and enjoy! Might not be a great trick or treat option, but you’ll love it all the same.