We've done it again friends. Another fresh summer recipe is waiting to make its way from our kitchen to yours. This dish is so right in the midst of summer. When it's this hot out we doubt you have plans to make standard lasagna anytime soon. This recipe is relatively quick, requires no cooking, and is a great way to use the abundant zucchini available at farmers markets and in home gardens. Just don't expect this to be anything like standard lasagna. Instead imagine a summer version of lasagna wearing a bikini. Still can't picture it? Well then this is a recipe you'll just have to try! Though first let's learn more about the star ingredient in this raw lasagna filling.
With the summer Olympics kicking off in Brazil this past weekend we were inspired to highlight the unique Brazil nut in this recipe. Though maybe less well known than some other nuts, Brazil nuts are an interesting nut variety with an important nutrient profile. Brazil nuts have protein, fiber, heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and the highest selenium content of any other food (wow!). Selenium is an essential trace mineral necessary for inhibiting the oxidation of fat within the body, is important for immune protection, and helps to maintain healthy heart function. Selenium is also an antioxidant that when paired with vitamin E or vitamin A can help protect against inflammation. Given this fun fact, Brazil nuts paired with vitamin A rich tomatoes (as featured in this recipe!) may help improve inflammation from acne. Amazingly, Brazil nuts are the only naturally occurring concentrated source of selenium - you can get your daily dose with just two Brazil nuts a day! So now that you're completely pumped about Brazil nuts, let's hit the recipe.
PREP TIME: 20 minutes + 12 hour soaking time
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
1 1/2 cup raw unsalted Brazil nuts
1 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
1/4 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2-4 Tbsp water
3 small cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
3 medium or 5 small zucchinis
1 bunch raw kale (any variety will work)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
4 large tomatoes (we prefer a firmer tomato such as the roma variety which will hold their shape once cut)
2 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/8 tsp cracked black pepper
In a large bowl, combine Brazil nuts, cashews, and room temperature water to cover. Cover with a lid and allow nuts to soak for 8-12 hours. Drain water from nuts and place soaked nuts in a food processor. Add hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic, salt, and pepper to the food processor. Turn machine on low and slowly add in 1 Tbsp water at a time until the texture resembles that of ricotta cheese. Place cheese in a bowl and set to the side.
Using a mandolin, carefully cut zucchini into long strips 1/8" thick. Keep in mind you do not want the zucchini to be too thin as a thicker noodle will add texture to this dish. Place sliced zucchini to the side. Chop kale into bite size pieces and massage with olive oil and salt until kale has a wilted appearance.
To make the tomato sauce, dice tomatoes and add to a bowl. Add minced garlic, chopped basil, and black pepper to the bowl of tomatoes and stir to combine. If you have very juicy tomatoes leading to a watery sauce, pour or strain off some of the additional liquid.
To assemble the lasagna, place zucchini strips on the bottom of a 8"x 8" pan making sure to slightly overlap the strips. Spread 1/3 of the nut cheese over the zucchini, add 1/3 of the messaged kale, and a sprinkling of the hemp seeds. Repeat until you have 3 layers. Add an additional layer of zucchini on top. Using a piece of wax paper gently press down on the top of the finished lasagna. This will help to seal the layers. Using a very sharp knife, carefully cut lasagna into 9-12 pieces. Spoon tomato sauce onto a plate, place a piece of lasagna on top of the sauce, and finish with additional tomato sauce and a sprinkle of salt. Keep lasagna in an air tight container in the fridge. Lasagna is best consumed within 1-2 days.
This raw lasagna is every bit as different from standard lasagna as you can imagine, but in a really good way! So fresh and light from the thin strips of zucchini and massaged kale but satisfying and rich from the nut based filling. This all topped with a bright tomato sauce in the midst of tomato season is almost too good to be true. But it is true and can easily be making an appearance at your dinner table sometime soon.
Enjoy (in a bikini),
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.