Thursday, October 9, 2014

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Cashew Cheese

I found this recipe on a blog called Plaid & Paleo.  It is amazing!  We literally felt like we were eating something that we weren't supposed to, yes it really is that amazing.  I have to thank Plaid & Paleo for the recipe.

Butternut Squash Lasagna with Cashew Cheese

(This recipe is Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo)

For the Italian Seasoning:
3/4 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the Sauce:
1 - 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 - 6 ounce can tomato paste
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
1/2 tablespoon italian seasoning (from above)
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano, crushed
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

For the Meat Portion:
1 pound grass fed beef
1 tablespoon italian seasoning (from above)
1 teaspoon ghee or olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 butternut squash
Cashew Cheese (recipe below)

Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Blend all italian spice seasoning with a mortar and pestle.  For the sauce, mix all ingredients together in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Using a immersion blender, puree sauce until smooth.
Mix remaining seasoning with the ground beef.  Heat ghee in skillet over medium-high heat.  Toss in onions and garlic.  Cook until garlic is fragrant.  Add meat and brown, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks.
Cut the bottom of the squash off to sturdy it and peel. To peel use a knife down the sides.  Cut the squash where the round part and neck meet.  Now cut each of those pieces lengthwise.  Remove seeds and stringy bits.  Cut squash into 1/2 inch planks.

To assemble: Using a 9x9 inch baking dish, spread a small layer of sauce evenly on the bottom.  Lay an even layer of squash planks, doing your best not to overlap.  Scoop on a layer of meat.  Repeat process until you run out of ingredients, but make sure you save enough sauce to be the final layer.  Bake for 40 minutes, remove from oven and add some of the cheese, cook for another 5 minutes.

My Notes on this recipe:  Using the full amount of red pepper will make it a spicy sauce, if you don't like it spicy just reduce the amount used.  I think this recipe would be great with a ground italian sausage.   Also, I think the next time I make this I will add a layer of cashew cheese on each layer.

Cashew Cheese
I have made cashew cheese once before and the last time it was okay, but this recipe is great.  I also used a food processor the last time and my vitamix this time.  The blender makes a world of difference.   You don't need to let this cheese sit for using it for the recipe, it can be used immediately.

1-1/2 cups plain cashew nuts (not roasted or salted)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Place nuts into a bowl, cover with water and let sit overnight.  Drain the nuts and place them into a blender along with the other ingredients.  Mix thoroughly until pureed, stopping and scrapping down the sides.  Add a little more water as necessary.  I added just enough to make it the consistency of a thick sour cream.
Transfer to a bowl, cover and let stand somewhere cool for 24 hours before placing it in the refrigerator.  The cheese will keep for another 5 days.