I started tweeting pictures of my food a long time ago. Cooking makes me feel happy and sharing what I’ve created is the best part so, in essence, Twitter became my extended dinner table. I originally thought my blog would be an extended dinner table, a place where I could write down and share all my recipes, and it has been, but I often stop myself. Sometimes my recipes seem too simple to post, like my chickpea and pea protein crepes. A lot of time I’ve just thrown together what I had in fridge and it doesn’t seem special enough to write about. My biggest barrier, however, is the very thing I love the most about creating meals: I cook by feel.
Most of the time I have no clue what the measurements are and, if I’m putting a recipe out in the world for someone to make, I want to ensure the instructions are correct so their efforts are rewarded. As a solution to this problem, #whatsforlunch was born. Anyone and everyone who wants a slice of what I’ve dished up can check out my twitter feed. No recipes, just food. But, in an effort to bridge the gap even further, I’ve recently started filming some #whatsforlunch recipes. The videos not only show how simple and relaxed (and yummy) plant-based cooking can be but it’s visual proof of my measurements! I’ve got visual documentation of my measurements and you guys can see first hand what I’m doing and what things should look like so, hopefully, you guys can cook on feel too.
#whatsforlunch Vegan Lasagne
A while ago I posted my mum’s knock-me-out-awesome vegetarian lasagne but, as I’ve gotten more plant-based, this lasagne recipe has taken it’s place. My take on lasagne isn’t ground-breaking. I’ve seen similar creations before but it is my own recipe. I pieced the steps together from years of learning how to cook plant-based. A quick creamy cashew puree forms the traditional cheese layer and marrow slices (or zucchini to my fellow Canuks) are used for noodles (yes, it’s gluten free too). There is also breathing room in this recipe. Try replacing the carrots and red pepper with whatever veggies you have on hand or kick them up a notch by roasting them with some herbs. If you’re in a time crunch, use a pre-made sauce, just make sure it’s thick.
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic (separated)
- 1 780g tin of peeled tomatoes
- 1 cube vegetable stock
- 1 tsp agave (or sugar, maple syrup, etc)
- 1 tsp rosemary
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 2.5 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp cayenne or chilli (or more to taste)
- 4 medium carrots
- 1 big red pepper
- 2 marrows
- 1 cup raw cashews
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 1/2 cup cooked spinach, packed (5-6 bricks frozen spinach)
- salt and pepper
- Pre-heat oven to 200C. Put a pan on medium heat. Put the kettle on to boil.
- Dice a medium sized onion and add to the pan with a bit of oil or water.
- Soak 1 cup of raw cashews in bowl of boiling water (from the kettle). In another container or bowl, pour boiling over 5-6 bricks of frozen spinach and leave to defrost.
- Dice 2 cloves of garlic and add to the pan and stir. Add more water if you need to.
- Dice the rep pepper. Set aside. Wash or peel carrots.
- Add a 780g tin of peeled tomatoes to the onion and garlic pan. Mash the tomatoes into smaller chunks.
- Dice carrots. Place chopped pepper and carrots on a baking tray lined with baking paper (tossing with 1 tsp olive oil if desired or necessary) and roast for 20 minutes or until al dente.
- When the tomato sauce has slightly reduced, puree the entire mixture in a blender or food processor, working in batches if necessary and ensuring there is a way for the steam to escape. Return tomato puree to pan still on medium heat.
- Add agave, salt, the stock cube, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, and cayenne to pan. Stir to combine. Leave to reduce to about half. With the high water content of the marrows, you need a thick sauce.
- Slice marrows lengthwise in 1/4 inch slices. No need to be exact, just aim for not too thick or too thin. Don’t worry if you get half slices or variable thicknesses, no worries!
- Take out the pepper and carrots from the oven and, using the paper, remove the vegetable from the tray to cool. Line tray with new baking paper and place marrows in a single (ish) layer. Put the marrows in the oven for about 10 minutes, just until they are soft.
- Check your sauce, season if necessary.
- Squish the water out of the spinach and place into a new bowl. You are looking for about 1/2 cup of squished spinach.
- Drain cashews. Dice one big clove of garlic and place in a food processor or blender with the cashews and juice of 1/2 a lemon. Puree until smooth, adding water as necessary up to 1/4 cup. Work in batches if necessary.
- Combine cashew puree with spinach. Stir until the spinach is evenly distributed. Add a few cracks of black pepper and a pinch of salt.
- Take the marrows out of the oven. Your sauce should be reduced to about half, nice and thick so that when you run a spoon across the bottom, the path stays. Turn off the stove.
- In a lasagne tin, or whatever deep baking dish you have, place 3-4 tbs of sauce on the bottom. Next, layer in marrow (careful, they’re probably still hot!). Then, add 1/2 of the cashew mixture and then cover with marrow slices. Top with 1/2 of the roasted vegetables and cover with sauce. Repeat layers for a second time.
- Place lasagne in the oven and back for 20-25 minutes.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Garnish with fresh herbs or a sprinkle of dried oregano. Serve with fresh undressed greens or a salad.