Raw Vegan Monday: Lasagna Roll-Ups with Raw Marinara

This may be kind of a cheat for my Raw Vegan Monday week 3 installment, since I had the Cashew Ricotta Cheese already made, but this was so delicious that it needs proper attention.

I know I am full of hypothesis when it comes to raw vegan diet... but I feel that I need to make special attention to photograph raw vegan foods since it is so effortless to prepare that I almost feel guilty. (Almost, since I'm really only "cooking" it for myself...) What I do find in photographing raw vegan food, however, is that since it has so little processing, the elements usually taste far better than they look. That is good news for eaters, as this food tastes so real and delicious that no matter it's looks you can be sure of it's health giving properties.

I know when I made the Cashew Ricotta Cheese the use by date was a week, so I was just inside of the recommendation when I made these roll-ups yesterday. But really, if it is refrigerated and doesn't have a strange smell, I can't imagine cashew cheese really going bad too quickly. I also should say that I like it even more as it sits. In fact, I ate one of my vegan cupcakes with the ricotta cheese frosting last night and thought it was even better several days later. (I stored the frosting separate and frost them just before eating, since I do not like to refrigerate cake, but did refrigerate the frosting.)

This recipe, then, was a perfect application for the remaining cashew cheese: Raw Lasagna. There are many stock raw vegan recipes for marinara and lasagna, but I altered a few to suit my on hand needs. If you don't have cashew cheese, take a look at this Gone Raw recipe for a filling made from almonds, macadamias, pecans and tahini. I think it looks like a great filling on it's own, and doesn't require expensive probiotic powder or a lengthy time to produce.

You can use this basic method to make any amount of lasagna roll-ups, or even layer the zucchini, cashew cheese and sauce to make a more traditional looking lasagna. I made 4 roll-ups for a lunch size portion (I ate a couple while I was assembling...), so I'm listing the approximate ingredients for 1 person, with leftover marinara. If you aren't vegan and thinking that this marinara is too strange, you have to make it to eat on proper egg pasta, since you will not be disappointed!

Raw Vegan Lasagna Roll-Ups with Marinara

for the Roll-Ups:
  • 1/3 c. cashew cheese (seasoned like I did here)
  • 4 zucchini strips, sliced thinly (I used a mandoline)
for the marinara:
  • 2 oz. crimini mushrooms (a large handful)
  • 1 tomato, chopped and drained if very juicy
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 6 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated in water for at least an hour until they are soft, and then chopped
  • 1 cubanelle pepper (or green pepper), chopped
  • a glug of extra virgin olive oil, about a tablespoon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh basil to taste and for garnish
Assemble the zucchini roll-ups by spreading them carefully with the cashew cheese and then rolling them up.

In a food pro with the S-blade, chop the mushrooms until finely chopped. Add the rest of the marinara ingredients and process as much or as little as you like. I let mine go until it was fairly uniform in a chunky smoothness.

You could, of course, add more veg to the sauce - red peppers or red pepper flake for a spicier version. I'm not exactly sure on spices for the raw vegan. It seems that some may not fit the bill as a "raw food" due to their processing. If you aren't following a truly strict diet, you could of course embellish the sauce with dried herbs of many sorts: oregano, basil or thyme. I can never resist pinching off the tops of my new plants nearly the second I get them home and planted, which is what I did, since I got some herbs on Saturday...

This sauce in particular took me back to raw sauces I used to make, but somehow haven't in a long while. Each summer, when I lived alone, I used to make a cherry tomato based sauce with just quartered tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and made non-vegan with bocconcini (mozzarella) and plenty of fresh basil, salt and pepper. This sauce on homemade egg pasta is akin to true summer eating perfection. I used to let the sauce sit at room temperature for several hours, and everything would marinate so nicely. I'd even used it as a pizza topping.

The Sweet Millions I planted on Saturday are the earliest cherry tomatoes I could find, 56 days I think. If my Husband's math is correct (he's good at this sort of thing) by July 18 I should be able to enjoy the first of this year's tomatoes! Isn't that a nice thought! The first thing I'll do with a pail full of those beauties is make a raw sauce. Maybe, I'll even leave out the cheese.