Cheesy Plant-Based Lasagna with Squash and Kale

I was close to not sharing this recipe because I had such a hard time taking a decent photo. Well lets just say that sometimes food taste better than it looks, and in this case it’s very true. It would be a shame not to share this plant based lasagna because it’s pretty freaking delicious. Creamy butternut squash, a velvety cashew based béchamel sauce, and garlicky kale makes for the ultimate comfort food that’s nourishing and seasonal.

This dish can be personalized to your liking and dietary habits. I chose to use gluten-free brown rice noodles. I found the Jovial lasagna noodles to work and taste best. If you prefer wheat noodles that is fine too. The final layer calls for vegan mozzarella, which is largely responsible for the poor imagery.  I love Miyokos mozzarella because it melts and browns, and is made from simple ingredients such as cashews and coconut oil. However, if you want to add some dairy to the lasagna you can always use grass-fed mozzarella cheese in its place.

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Cheesy Plant-Based Lasagna with Squash and Kale
Servings: 6 - 9 people
Ingredients
Béchamel Layer
  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/3 cup water, plus more if needed
Creamy Butternut Squash Layer
  • 1 medium butternut squash about 2.5 lbs.
Garlicky Kale Layer
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • juice of half a lemon
  • pinch of red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
Assembly
  • 9-10 oz box lasagna noodles (I use brown rice lasagna noodles)
  • 1 cup or so sliced or shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (I use Miyokos)
Equipment
  • 9" x 13" baking pan or similar
Instructions
Béchamel Layer
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until silky smooth, adding a splash of water if necessary to help blend. Season with salt and pepper. This step can be done in advance and stored in the fridge.

Creamy Butternut Squash Layer
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Slice squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and stringy bits. Drizzle flesh with olive oil and place on baking sheet flesh side up. Bake until soft, about 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool. 

  2. When cool enough to handle, peel the skin off the squash. Place flesh in a high-speed blender and blend until very smooth. If necessary add a few splashes of water to help blend. Measure out 2 cups for recipe use.  Season with salt and pepper. This step can be done in advance and stored in the fridge.

Garlicky Kale Layer
  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the kale in batches, adding more to the pan as the kale wilts.  Add the chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice, red chili flakes, and season with salt and pepper

Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease baking pan with olive oil. 

  2. Cook the noodles according to package instructions. Drain and toss with a little bit of olive oil to prevent them from sticking to one another. 

  3. Line the bottom of the lasagna pan with noodles (about 3 sheets). Layer with half of the butternut squash puree, then top with 1/2 of the kale, and 1/3 of the béchamel. Add another layer of noodles, and top with remaining butternut squash, all but a 1/4 cup of the kale, and another 1/3 of béchamel. Add the last layer of of noodles and then the remaining kale, béchamel, and scatter vegan cheese on top.

  4. Bake in oven until heated through and bubbling, about 40-45 minutes 

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