Eggplant Lasagna With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

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Once upon a time, BP (that’s before Paleo), a friend of mine gave me a recipe for spinach lasagna roll-ups with roasted red pepper sauce. I loved that recipe because it was simple, delicious and didn’t involve such a time-consuming lasagna process. The original recipe, was also perfect for meatless Mondays or any other day of the week for that matter. My friend Rebecca also just happens to be one of the fittest people I know plus a certified nutritionist and awesome cook. If it’s her recipe, you already know its gonna be good.

AP (after Paleo), lasagna in the traditional sense, doesn’t work so well. I’m still a newbie, but what I’ve figured out so far is that pasta isn’t worth substituting. Most gluten-free pasta is made with grain and the ones that aren’t are hard to find. Buckwheat pasta is a good alternative because it’s not a grain, but I’ve only found it once in a specialty store. The carb count is the same, regardless if it’s gluten-free, grain-free anyway. I’ll pass, thank you. It’s much easier to make noodles out of veggies and add yet another nutrient to your meal, killing two birds with one stone. Hence, the eggplant.

I’ve also learned what my body will and will not tolerate in terms of dairy. I used to substitute all dairy, including cheese, but what I’ve noticed is a lot of non-dairy cheese also contains either grains, soy, or weird fillers, or a combination of the three. Again, I’ll pass. I can tolerate a small amount of cheese occasionally if everything else is dairy-free.  That’s exactly what I’ve done with the cashew cream here. The texture substitutes nicely for Ricotta, allowing for a small amount of Parmesan or even Mozzarella if it can be tolerated. Simply omit the Parmesan for a healthy vegan meal or if you can’t tolerate any dairy.

Normally, I make my “lasagna” with zucchini as my lawfully wedded, vegetable-hating spouse decried eggplant a long time ago. This time, I wanted a heartier noodle and a different texture. I also knew it would have to be delicious for the haters to eat it. I’ve been known not to reveal certain ingredients to the XY’s until after they’ve already eaten it. Say what you will about coercion, but it works. In this case, even successful. An eggplant-hating XY actually gave this meal a fist pump! And this, boys and girls, is how you get your family to eat their veggies. The end.

For the cashew cream:

Soak 6 oz. raw cashews in a small bowl with enough filtered water to cover. Ideally, they should soak about 2 hours. Drain and rinse. In a high speed blender, blend the cashews with 1/2 cup almond milk until smooth. Using the same small bowl, add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, 1 cup chopped baby spinach, and 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning to the cashew cream.

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Note: The Italian Seasoning I refer to in the recipe comes from my local Sprouts. You could certainly use a different seasoning or make your own!

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For the eggplant:

Slice 2 eggplants lengthwise. In a skillet, heat 3/4 cup garlic-infused EVOO (or regular EVOO). Fry the eggplant slices just until soft. Drain on paper towels.

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Red Pepper Sauce:

1 red pepper, charred on the BBQ or roasted

3 Roma tomatoes, charred or roasted

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon Parmesan (can be omitted)

You can either roast the pepper and tomatoes in the oven drizzled with the garlic Evoo or you can put them in foil and throw them on the grill like I did.

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Either way, drizzle both with a little oil, turning about half way through roasting (about 20 minutes in a 425 oven or 15 minutes on the BBQ). Let cool and then remove seeds and stem from pepper.

In a high-speed blender, blend the pepper, tomatoes, and the rest of the ingredients until smooth.

In a 9×13 casserole, arrange eggplant slices to cover bottom of dish.

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Spread half the sauce over eggplant.

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Spread the cashew cream mixture over the sauce.

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Place another layer of eggplant slices over cashew mixture.

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Top with remaining sauce and if tolerated, Parmesan cheese or Mozzarella.

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Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

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Categories: Meals

Author:onceinabluemoon17

Diligent seeker of health and nutrition, Paleo follower, and creative culinary practicer...

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