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Garlicky Zucchini Lasagna with Cashew Ricotta

When you're in the heart of zucchini season, it can be a challenge to come up with new uses every week! This recipe uses thinly sliced zukes as the noodles in a hearty vegan lasagna that will have your friends and family begging for more.
Of course, assembling a lasagna can be a little labor intensive. It's best to start 2 hours before you want to eat or to prep this in the morning and bake just before dinner. The leftovers keep great and you can freeze individual portions for quick and easy meals. There plenty of substitutions available so don't worry if you don't have all the ingredients. Toss in your favorite veggies and layer away!

 1 giant zucchini (or about 1.5 lbs of regular zucchini)
 4 Pasta sauce (we used 5 medium sized tomatoes and 1/4 cup tomato paste)
 1 cup rehydrated Textured vegetable protein "TVP" (step by step directions here) or black beans
 0.50 large onion, diced
 1 ½ mushrooms, sliced
 0.50 bunch basil leaves, torn into quarter sized pieces
 1 head garlic, minced
 0.50 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
2 cups Cashew Ricotta, recipe from Veganomicon
 0.50 cup raw cashew pieces (approximately 4 ounces)
 0.25 cup fresh lemon juice
 2 cloves fresh or roasted garlic
 1 lb firm tofu, drained and crumbled
 1.50 tsp dried basil
 1.50 tsp teaspoons salt

For the cashew ricotta: In a food processor, blend together the cashews, lemon juice, and garlic until a thick creamy paste forms. Add the crumbled tofu to the food processor, working in two or more batches if necessary, until the mixture is thick and well blended. Blend in the basil and salt. Set aside


Slice the zucchini length wise to about ¼ inch slices. (use a mandolin if you have one). Put on a pan to broil to dry them and cook for 5 minutes per side. Drain off water.


Sautee the onion on medium high heat for about 5 minutes in a medium-large sized pot, then add the mushrooms and cook until juices emerge. Add garlic cook for another minute. Then add the rehydrated TVP or black beans. and all but 2/3 cups of the pasta sauce. Simmer on low for 10 minutes.


Coat the bottom of the pan with 2/3 cup the remaining pasta sauce, then lay zucchini gently over the sauce, letting it overlap slightly. Then spread ½ of the tomato sauce filling evenly over the zucchini. Next, take 1/2 the ricotta, and crumble it around evenly over the filling. Top layer off with torn basil leaves. Repeat again… Zucchini, the other ½ of the filling, ricotta, and top with nutritional yeast.


Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing