You may not be aware of the "raw food lifestyle". There are a vast number of people who only eat raw. What is raw food? Basically, meals made with fresh, organic fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds that have not been heated above 104 degrees. With the raw food movement some amazing chefs have emerged, combining ingredients you might never think of to create delicious AND highly nutritious meals. For years I have wanted to experiment with raw recipes, but for some reason the idea of using a food processor really intimidated me...maybe it was just one more gadget I didn't want to fuss with. Now I love mine! Anyway, I was flipping through a magazine last week and came across some raw food recipes that didn't seem quite as complicated as I thought they ought to be. I mean, there was quite a bit of preparation, but no cooking involved. And with the lovely heat and humidity here on Oahu this last week, I thought it was just the right time to ditch the stove for a night.
Tuesday night my Bible study group had a potluck and the theme was Italian. I grabbed that magazine again...Raw Lasagna. Perfect. Just the right time for me to be adventurous and attempt something I have never made...and then test it out on a group of hungry ladies. Sure, why not?...No pressure.
I must admit I had second thoughts half-way into the preparation. I could just pick something up along the way if it didn't turn out the way I had hoped, right? And then I tasted the tomato sauce...yum. I was going to be just fine. To my pleasant surprise, after sitting down at the potluck to enjoy all of the wonderful selections, ladies began telling me how great the lasagna tasted, and asking for details of how it all came together. I promised that I would post the recipe, so here it is.
Cherry Tomato Marinara 2 pints cherry tomatoes 2 teaspoons dried oregano 1 teaspoon dried roseary 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2/3 cup olive oil 1 teaspoon salt
Place all ingredients is a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. (Makes 3 cups) *I used a blender but would opt for a food processor next time for a thicker consistency.
Cilantro-Cashew Cheeze 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic (about 2 cloves) 1/2 teaspoon sea salt 1 cup raw cashews 2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves 1/4 cup filtered water
Place garlic and salt in a food processor; process into small pieces. Add cashews and process into a paste. Add lemon juice, cilantro, and water; process to mix well.
Raw Lasagna-Serves 6 1 medium zucchini, sliced into thin coins 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced 2 handfuls baby spinach leaves 3/4 cup Cashew-Cilantro Cheese 1 cup Cherry Tomato Marinara
In a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish, layer half of the zucchini slices. Cover with half of the tomato slices and top with spinach. Spread cheeze over spinach. Top with marinara. Finish by layering remaining zucchini and tomato slices.
Okay, sorry about the length of this recipe, but I promise it is well worth the effort. And unlike traditional lasagna, there is no baking involved. I changed up the recipe just a bit by adding a handful of sun dried tomatoes to the marinara sauce recipe and I also peeled the zucchini, cut it in half, and sliced it into long, thin "noodles". I chopped the spinach and added some freshly chopped basil. In addition, I took the liberty to layer it differently, with two layers of each ingredient-ending up with the "cheeze" on top!
My husband tried to remind me to take a picture before I ran out the door but I forgot and well, here is what the dish looked like at the end of the night. Do you think they liked it?