Sometimes, you just have to bring your own in order to make sure you’re fed. As Hillel the Elder said, “If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” (Pirkei Avot 1:14)
I learned this recipe for raw vegan lasagne at one of the free cooking classes taught by Chef Michael Kiss at the Old Town Whole Foods. It’s an adaptation of the raw lasagne from Raw Food, Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis. I recall checking out the book from my local library and being really turned off at how sex was used to market the raw diet (I’m ace, what would you expect?). The original recipe calls for sundried tomatoes, but in order to make it nightshade-free, I used red, yellow, and purple bell peppers. I also didn’t have any lemons, so I used raw apple cider vinegar. I assembled the sauce and cheeze one night, made the noodles and assembled it the next, and on the third day (it rose again—kidding) I served it. I’m sure real raw vegans wouldn’t wait so long, but like many people, only on Fridays do I have enough time to make dinner and eat it the same night.
To save you the redundancy, all ingredients are raw. Make the noodles first and while they’re draining, you can assemble the rest of the recipe, if you’re making it all in one go.
Adapted from Michael Kiss’s adaptation of Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis’s recipe in Raw Food, Real World
1 cup sliced almonds, soaked overnight and drained (reserve a little water)
1 cup walnuts, soaked overnight (chill ’em in the fridge when soaking overnight)
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
6 tablespoons soaking water
In a high-speed blender or food processor, blitz the nuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, and salt. Drizzle in the water and vinegar, processing until the mixture becomes uniform and smooth, like ricotta.
3 red bell peppers, seeded and de-ribbed
1/4 small onion
1 1/2 tablespoons raw cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 teaspoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch of dried hot pepper flakes (optional)
2 cups kale (optional)
In a food processor or blender, combine the peppers and onion, drizzling in the liquid ingredients to make the mixture smooth. Add the salt and hot pepper flakes, then pulse in the kale.
3 medium zucchini or summer squash, shaved into ribbons (stop peeling when you get to seeds; use the seeds for some kind of sauce)
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup raw vegan pesto
Mix the zucchini and squash ribbons with the salt in a colander over a large bowl. Let sit for twenty minutes. Once they have sat, rinse the salt off and pat dry with a paper towel, pressing gently to remove excess moisture. Toss the noodles with the pepper and olive oil. In an 8*8-inch glass dish, put down a layer of about 1/3 of the noodles (you can do this neatly or not; they’re a pain to slice, so you don’t have to make it look all pretty). Spread a layer of sauce (about 1/3 of the recipe).
Layer with cheeze. Repeat noodles, sauce, and cheeze, ending with noodles (or whatever order you desire). Spread the pesto across the top layer of noodles. If you own ramekins (isn’t that a fun word?), you could make individual servings.
I must say, though I eat quite a bit of raw fruits and vegetables and am sceptical about the whole “raw glow” phenomenon, I felt pretty good after eating this at 20:00 at the event to which I brought it. The subsequent times I had the dish over the next week, I also noticed I felt “light” after eating it—satisfied, but not weighed down. Hmm...not that what I eat on a regular basis is particularly “heavy,” as in overcooked or fried or loaded with animal protein and fat, but this is curious. It’s fun to “uncook,” as it were, so I may try more raw main dishes in the future.
In the meantime, you should check out my friend Ali’s raw desserts because they are the tops in raw sweets.