The majority of cookbooks do not capture the improvisational, casual cooking that most people do every day. In fact, most cooking done in homes doesn’t even involve recipes: we throw together dishes that we know and love while adding in our signature twists, and break out the cookbooks when we can get to the store.
Our friend Heather Crosby has a new recipe book out that celebrates the freestyle, stress-free type of cooking we pull off with regularity by proposing healthy “choose-your-own-adventure” templates for cooking. Her book is called YumUniverse Pantry To Plate: Improvise Meals You Love – from What You Have and it’s a one-of-a-kind plant-based, gluten-free recipe playbook that opens up a world of possibilities for home cooking.
One recipe that really stood out to us was the plant-based lasagna. Lasagna is one of those foods that just about everyone grew up eating and still loves today. Because of that, it fills a certain need when we’re craving something comforting that reminds us of mom’s home-cooking. Better still, Heather’s recipe is 100% plant-based and gluten free.
Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think!
Created by the talented Heather Crosby, our Mushroom & Sage Lasagna recipe is perfect for anyone who doesn’t feel like running out to the grocery store for a long list of ingredients or for those who enjoy a more spontaneous, freestyle approach to cooking.
Mushroom & Sage Lasagna
Makes: 8+ servings
People of all dietary preferences love this recipe! This would make a great dish for a potluck or for when catering for family and friends, even if they’re not plant-based. Per Heather’s style, substitutions with what you have available in the kitchen right now are welcome. Have fun experimenting and see what you can come up with!
Mushroom & Spinach Lasagna would be great served with a simply dressed side salad and a loaf of gluten-free bread. To add to the base recipe, feel free to include extra veggies in the lasagna, such as artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, red bell peppers or squash.
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil
1¼ teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
Fresh-cracked black pepper
Pinch of fresh-ground nutmeg
3 large leaves kale, chopped into small pieces
One 9-ounce (255 g) package gluten-free lasagna noodles
2½ cups (340 g) cashews, soaked 4 to 6 hours, drained, and rinsed
1½ cups (360 ml) water
½ cup (65 g) pine nuts, toasted
3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
5 to 6 sage leaves
1½ pounds (680 g) cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large shallots, sliced or diced (about 1 cup/80 g)
1 tablespoon Sucanat or coconut palm sugar
2 to 3 tablespoons dry white wine (optional)
1 batch Maudie’s Tomato Sauce, or two 24-ounce (680 g) jars pasta sauce
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a food processor, pulse together the almonds, pecans, 1 teaspoon of the oil, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the nutmeg until dusty. Add the kale and pulse 3 times.
Prepare the noodles according to the box instructions—layer them in rows on sheets of parchment to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.
Make a cashew cream sauce by blending the cashews, water, pine nuts, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the sage until smooth; set aside.
Place the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, the mushrooms, shallots, Sucanat, and a pinch of salt in a skillet heated to medium. Stir occasionally for 7 to 10 minutes, until they caramelize and brown. Add the wine (if using), stir for 2 more minutes or until it cooks off, and remove from the heat.
Add 3 spoonfuls of tomato sauce into a lasagna pan; spread it around and top with noodles side by side. Spread a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce and cashew cream sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with the mushrooms, season the layer with a pinch of salt and fresh pepper, then top with another layer of noodles. Repeat these steps, seasoning each layer with a pinch of salt and pepper, until all the noodles, sauces, and mushrooms are used. Sprinkle with the almond-pecan-kale topping, cover with parchment, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment and bake 20 more minutes until bubbling.
Matt Jager is a wellness activist, yogi and co-founder of True Wellth. His life mission is to transform the healthcare and food system in this country, so that every single person has access to the tools and support they need to look and feel their best, control their health, own their happiness and revolutionize their well-being.