Raw Lasagna – with Zucchini as the Noodles This recipe is adapted from @MatthewKenney and @Sarma is their cookbook from the amazing NYC Restaurant Pure Food and Wine. I love how they encourage us to play with the recipes and make them our own. In the spirit of full disclosure, if you want to read the original recipe, please get the book “Raw Food – Real World” – it’s fabulous and beautiful to look at. As you can see in the images, the ingredients are simple and easy to get anywhere. My adaptation begins with the fact that I only had 30 minutes to prepare the meal and it’s just beginning to be Spring and I don’t have access to everything one would want, so I improvised. The Sauces The main success of this dish is the multi-layered nuanced flavors – which all come from the sauces, which are meant to mimic the marinara, cheese and pesto in a cooked lasagna. Pesto I don’t care for raw garlic and my wife doesn’t like nuts in pesto – so this is really a Basil Spread made by blending the Basil with enough Extra Virgin Olive Oil to make it spreadable. I add in a pinch of Sea Salt to punch it up. Marinara I use Sun Dried Tomatoes that are organic and not soaked in oil. Yes, I can make my own, and do, but these are fast, good and I didn’t have to wait two days. Take them and put into the Cuisinart, add a handful of heirloom cherry tomatoes, some olive oil and 10 sprigs of oregano from the garden. Pulse til smooth. Alfredo Sauce or Ricotta-like sauce. Raw Cashews are amazing. Once soaked you can do so many things with them (see my Cashew Milk recipe for instance). Put one cup of Cashews into the Cuisinart, add in 2 heaping teaspoons of nutritional yeast (this has the uncanny ability to give a cheese like overtone to the sauce) – the juice of one Meyers Lemon, a squirt of Olive Oil and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh grated nutmeg. Pulse til extra smooth – taste and adjust seasonings to taste. Might want to salt it if the lemon didn’t add enough acid. Prepping the Vegetables This is time for the mandoline, as you really need to get everything sliced as paper thin as you can. I have great knife skills, but I can’t get them as thin as they require. They have to be pasta-thin. I use this cool glove to make sure I don’t cut myself. Look at the image to see that I have mushrooms, zucchini and tomatoes to work with. In the original recipe there are no mushrooms, and the tomatoes are Green Zebras – which we won’t see here in Santa Barbara for a few months. Assembling the Dish I have done this several times now and am most happy with the small square dishes you see in the image above. I have tried round, small, large, casserole (not good), and like these the best. However, I think maybe something in a clear glass would be interesting too. Best thing: no rules, make it fun. I start with a layer of zucchini, then a spoon of marinara, then mushrooms, then alfredo sauce, then tomatoes and pesto, repeat until the dish is full. See the final image to see how I wrapped the top – as this becomes the bottom when you unmold it – and unlike lasagna we all grew up with, you don’t have to cover the top later with sauce and cheese to protect the noodles from burning. Plating The most fun is actually presenting the dish for your diners. I drizzled a little bit of Balsamic Glaze (NOT RAW) on the bottom, if you are super-pure, omit it and put something else, like a drizzle of the pesto thinned out for instance. Then I carefully turn the chilled dish over and pop it onto the plate, I sprinkled a little bit of Herbs de Provence that we get from Shepards Farms in Carpinteria at the Farmers Market on the top. Voila – time to eat. I served this with a side salad of hydro farmed butter lettuce, julienned daikon radish and french cut Persian cucumbers and dressed it with a Meyers Lemon and Olive Oil vinaigrette. A perfect, light accompaniment. As usual, if you actually make this dish, and I highly recommend, as it’s really easy, then write me or send a picture. Til we eat again.