Merry Christmas to you and your families! I am spending mine with my parents and brother and we are enjoying the quiet time together. I’m very fortunate we are all together and all have time off to enjoy this special day together.
About a week ago, my parents asked what I wanted to eat for Christmas Eve dinner as they know I am vegan (and they are not). I thought to myself and then shared with them that I would make a raw lasagna (Raw-Sagna as it’s named!), as it’s something a past co-worker of mine made and I had really enjoyed it. I’ve always wanted to make it so I thought, what better time than now?
Now I will say that I am not a raw foodist by any means…being vegan is about as far as I will go but I truly respect those who follow a raw food lifestyle…my personal thought is that it’s quite time-intensive and seems really fitting for a community to be “raw” and share all of the labor that goes into these delicious meals!
What I intend to share is my experience making this oh-so-delicious raw lasagna. And yes, it did turn out to be quite scrumptious! Being a newbie at this, it did take me a couple of hours to assemble it all myself. I was very apprehensive as I had no idea how this would turn out. My first time “cooking” (maybe assembling?) a raw dish and it was for my family so of course I wanted to do a nice job with it. I’ve included pictures below of the assembly process, but besides being time-intensive, it went wonderfully!
Later that night when I took my first bite at dinner I was floored…it tasted SO good! I was so pleased with all my hard work assembling the dish and it just had so many amazing flavors. Plus, my parents really enjoyed it too…it was like icing on the cake…or, raw tomatoes on a raw-sagna? Haha.
Anyways, it turned out wonderfully. I have to credit my friend Marc and his mom, Raw Food Betsy. Marc made this recipe a couple of years ago when we worked together and his parents live a raw, plant-based food lifestyle. This recipe was adapted from Alissa Cohen’s Living On Live Food book by Raw Food Betsy. Betsy made the note that this can be served room-temperature which is what I did. It can also be served after dehydrating it (many raw foods, to my understanding, are dehydrated) but I don’t own a dehydrator so I opted for room-temp and like I said, it was de-li-cious!! Also I used Agave instead of Honey (honey is not vegan) red onions (because the white onion I did have was *not* sweet) and the raw-sagna still turned out great!
Here is the step by step process of how this wonderful Raw-Sagna turned out:
Step 1: Peeling the zucchini in thin strips. I cut the zucchini’s in half and then just used a regular vegetable peeler. I did peel some of the skin as I didn’t want the layers to be tough.
Step 2: Marinating the zucchini. As soon as I had a small pile, I would add it to this marinade so the zucchini “noodles” could soak as long as possible. I just mixed the noodles around. This process makes the zucchini softer and more flavorful!
Step 3: Make the nut and juice mixture for “ricotta cheese.” Unfortunately I didn’t get a pic from the food processor, but this is from the container I temporarily housed the mixture in. I gave it a little taste test and was not sure about the flavor as it tasted very citrus-y…but after the raw-sagna was all assembled and sat to marinate a bit, it was perfect!
Step 4: Making the sauce. This was delicious and very easy. I wasn’t sure how/what to soak the dates and sun-dried tomatoes in, so I just opted for warm water for about 20-30 minutes and it was great! This sauce smells and tastes incredible!
Step 5a: Assembly! First layer – zucchini strips. For this you have to drain the marinade to get ride of the excess marinade. I will say this is one area I wasn’t sure what to do and something I will want to improve upon the next time around…suggestions welcome One tip – I only put about 3 layers of the zucchini for the bottom layer – you could do 4 or 5.
Step 5b: Assembly! Second layer – sauce. I did about 4 spoonfuls of sauce and spread it evenly. Easiest part of this recipes, for sure!
Step 5c: Assembly! Third layer – nut & juice mixture (a.k.a. the “cheese). This was not easy as I think I made my “cheese” a bit too thick and it wouldn’t come off in spoonfuls. Instead I used my (clean) hands to take small amounts and flatten them and place them as the next layer.
Step 5d: Assembly! Fourth Layer – another layer of sauce. Just the same thing as step 5b
Step 5e: Assembly – fresh tomatoes, onions and basils…Oh my! This was simple but brought so much flavor and aroma to the dish!
Step 6: The final product! YUM!
As I stated earlier, this recipe turned out better than expected and I would absolutely make it again! I was so proud of it and found it so delicious (and nutritious!) that I thought it would be a perfect post on this new blog of mine. I hope you enjoyed reading about my little adventure. If you have tried or plan to try raw-sagna please share with a comment below. I’d love to hear your your favorite thing about this dish, and I also welcome your tips, tricks and questions