Last week a craving for lasagna hit. We’re talking Garfield style craving. I hit two issues though. The first issue was that a pan of lasagna, even eaten as leftovers, is simply way too much for the two of us. The second issue was that I really needed to find a way to make it dairy-free (reasons why I limit dairy found here).
While looking for dairy-free alternatives, I started seeing a lot of lasagna roll up recipes. Excuse me?! I had not only never heard of them, I had never thought of making them. I knew this was perfect because it meant I could make only as much as Andy and I wanted. As far as dairy-free, that turned out to be a bit more difficult. A lot of recipes used processed vegan parmesan and other “cheeses”. Then I came across multiple blogs mentioning cashew cream and I bonked myself on the forehead. Cashew cream is incredible for both sweet and savory purposes. It’s simply cashews (soaked if you have a regular blender) and water thrown in the vitamix into a smooth velvety mixture. Add chocolate and you have a chocolate like mousse / pudding. Add basil, a little garlic, Italian seasoning and you get an absolutely delicious spread for lasagna or just to put on top of pasta as is.
Speaking of fillings I did both a vegan filling and a meat lovers filling using local hot italian sausage from Farmers Gate Market here in Maine. The best part is that you can put whatever you want in these roll ups, just like any other lasagna you would make. I sweated down some onions, garlic, spinach and mushrooms. On the vegan ones I left as is, on the meat ones I simply crumbled already cooked sausage on top. Because these typically are just heating up in the oven for a short period I would definitely make sure any meat is thoroughly cooked.
When it came to rolling up I first put down a layer of cashew cream on the noodle, then topping, and then rolled it up. Note on rolling, as you roll press in to make sure it’s tight. Some of the filling might fall out but that’s okay. I found if I kept an inch or two of noodle at the end filling free it helped it all hold it together easier.
These are definitely going to become a staple in our house. I know the cashew cream might sound odd if you’ve never made it before but I definitely encourage you to try it—even if you’re a regular dairy eater! I’m going to be honest, I actually liked the flavor of these better than when I’ve had lasagna with cheese which I certainly didn’t expect.
- Few handfuls baby spinach
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 container small mushrooms
- Lasagna (as many noodles as rollups you want)
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 1 cup water
- Italian seasoning (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
- Dried or fresh basil (to taste)
- Spaghetti sauce
- Cook according to directions. Noodles should be al dente.
- Add onion to a hot skillet, cook until translucent
- Add garlic & mushrooms to the skillet
- Add spinach and cook until wilted
- Remove filling to bowl
- Add meat to skillet and cook thoroughly if using
- If using a Vitamix or other high powered blender, add raw cashews, spices and enough water to create a smooth paste. If using a regular blender, soak raw cashews overnight before using.
- Drain noodles and slightly cool.
- One noodle at a time smear with a heaping tablespoon of cashew cream. Spread leaving 1-2 inches of noodle bare at the end.
- Add vegetables in a thin row and meat if using.
- Slowly roll the noodle tightly around the filling
- Place each roll, seam side down, into a rimmed baking pan for cooking
- Top the rolls with spaghetti sauce
- Bake at 350* for 10 minutes or until heated through.
- Fillings should be whatever you love best in a regular lasagna. Our favorite is spinach, onion, garlic, mushroom and local sausage. Meat should be thoroughly cooked before using as stuffing. Vegetables should be reduced properly as they will not cook down in the oven.
Cashew cream – win.