recipe: raw zucchini lasagna

When I was studying abroad in Florence, Italy my junior year of college, there was this amazing restaurant that my friends and I frequented called Il Gato e la Volpe. It was known for two things: its out-of-this-world balsamic vinaigrette that had this creamy, thick texture that you won’t find in a bottle from your neighborhood grocery store, and one of my favorite dishes of all time: lasagna. However, this was no ordinary lasagna. It was served on a sizzling hot, boat-like ramekin that I was always warned not to touch, and the cheese and marinara had oozed out so much that you couldn’t even see the pasta layers. It was also big enough to feed a small family, but of course I was always able to clear my plate. (More after the jump.)

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THE lasagna

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one of many dinners at Il Gato

Did I mention that it was amazing? Well,¬†vegan lasagna is also amazing. At first I was doubtful that a plant-based lasagna could even BEGIN to live up to my Florentine delicacy, but I was pleasantly surprised by how good this recipe from Deliciously Ella turned out to be. And it was super easy to make! Perfect for those days that you really just want to eat some cheese… and resist.

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Raw Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients

2 zucchini

6 plum tomatoes

For the avocado-basil pesto:

1 ripe avocado

2 cups fresh basil

1 cup spinach

1/3 cup pine nuts

juice from 1 lemon

salt

water (as needed)

For the brazil nut “cheese”:

1/2 cup brazil nuts

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (I couldn’t find any at the grocery store, so I went without and it was still delicious)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 stick fresh rosemary

1 lemon

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Start by making the brazil nut cheese (above). Place the brazil nuts and the lemon juice in a food processor (I used my Vitamix) and blend. Once the nuts are crushed, add the remaining ingredients. Slowly add a little water to help the blending, but keep it on the thick side. Once this is done, remove it from the blender and keep to one side.

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Then make the pesto by simply adding all the needed ingredients into the processor and blending with a little water until smooth and creamy. Place to one side.

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Next, cut the zucchini in half and then slice it lengthwise (aka hot dog style) into thin slices, about 1/4 of an inch or so. Then cut the tomatoes, also into 1/4 inch slices.

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Once everything is ready assemble, place a layer of zucchini on the bottom, then add a layer of brazil nut cheese followed by tomato slices and then pesto. Repeat each layer one more time, sprinkling a few pine nuts on the top for decoration if you would like. Enjoy!

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