I’ve made cashew “ricotta” once before and it was delicious, so I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to make it again. When I found sliced butternut squash designed to replace lasagna sheets, I knew I had to try it out.
Cashew ricotta is the perfect accompaniment to a veggie lasagne, adding an extra level of delicious, oozy “cheesiness”. It’s super-simple to make, especially if you’ve got a decent blender. I used a recipe from The Sexy Vegan, though it makes way more cheese than you need so you could either halve the recipe, or freeze the remainder to use later. I chose the latter option because it’s delicious.
This lasagne is amazingly creamy, though it does mean it’s a little messy when served straight from the oven so I apologise for the completely rubbish photos.
Spinach & Squash Lasagne with Cashew Ricotta
75g vegan margarine
50g plain flour
800ml almond milk
2 medium red peppers, quartered
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
100g baby spinach
200g cashew ricotta
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
400g butternut squash lasagne sheets
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1 tbsp vegan Parmesan-style cheese, grated
Salt and pepper to season
Pre-heat oven to 200 Celcius.
To make white sauce, melt 50g of the margarine in large pan, over medium-high heat, then sift in flour. Gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Add bay leaf, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, brush pepper quarters with oil and bake in oven for 15-20 minutes, until skin starts to blacken. Remove from oven.
Add remaining margarine to a large pan over medium-high heat, add spinach and cover until wilted. Drain and squeeze with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Roughly chop spinach, then stir into cashew ricotta. Add ladleful of white sauce, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to season and mix well.
Line base of baking dish with butternut squash, then add a third of the white sauce, all the spinach mixture and a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts. Add another layer of squash, another third of white sauce, the red peppers, the remaining pine nuts, and half the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper if desired. Add final layer of squash and top with remaining white sauce. Top the sauce with remaining Parmesan and add a light sprinkling of nutmeg.
Bake for 45 minutes or until top is golden and squash cooked through.