February – the month of romance! And if the way to a lover’s heart is through their tummy, then we’ve got you covered here. The very first time I made a raw lasagna was years ago, with the love of my life, a true carnivore who on that cool Autumn day, went above and beyond, and bought a raw-vegan cookbook and learned the tricks of the trade in order to impress little ‘ol me.  Dinner was a great success, and I have since re-created my own version, adjusting and tweaking the flavours and seasoning just as my preferences, loves, and desires have ebbed and flowed.

To borrow from Jamie Slavin’s article about aphrodisiac foods, I might suggest adding in a layer of avocado slices to the recipe, or upping the basil in this dish for best results!  Oh, and be sure that your dessert includes a little chocolate. Everybody adores chocolate.

Raw-sagna “Noodles”

•    1 large yellow pepper, sliced into very thin cross-sections (a mandolin works well)
•    1 large zucchini, sliced into thin cross-sectioned strips, sliced in half lengthwise

Raw-cotta Cheese

•    1 cup cashews (or macadamia nuts), soaked and drained*
•    2 fresh cloves garlic, minced or grated
•    3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
•    1 tbsp dried chives
•    1 tbsp nutritional yeast
•    Salt and pepper to taste
•    ¼ cup + extra water as needed

*Soak for at least 3 to 4 hours

Add all ingredients to blender, and process, scraping down sides of blender as needed. Add additional water until desired ricotta cheese-like texture is reached. Pour into bowl, rinse blender, and move onto marinara.

Raw Marinara

•    1 cup grape tomatoes or 1 cup sweet tomato of choice
•    ½ cup firmly packed sundried tomatoes
•    1 small clove garlic
•    1 tsp dried basil
•    1 tsp dried oregano
•    ¼ tsp salt
•    2 tbsp olive oil
•    dash pepper

Add all ingredients to high-powered blender and pulverize. Pour sauce into a bowl and set aside, rinse your blender, and move onto the pesto.

Raw Basil Pesto

•    1/3 cup firmly packed fresh organic basil
•    5 to 6 organic kale leaves, washed, trimmed, and torn into pieces
•    2 to 4 garlic cloves, depending on your tolerance!
•    1/3 C raw walnuts
•    ¼ cup nutritional yeast
•    2-3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
•    ½ tsp sea salt
•    ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil to start, adding more as needed

Again, add all ingredients to blender and process, scraping down sides of blender as needed, until smooth. Drizzle in extra oil if needed to reach sauce consistency. Pour pesto into a bowl and set aside. Proceed with assembly.

These sauces can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for a day or two. They also freeze well.

Raw-sagna Assembly (Individual portions)

1.    Using a small spoon, drop a bit of pesto onto the centre of a serving plate.
2.    Lay two pieces of zucchini noodles onto the pesto, side by side. This forms the base of your lasagna slice.
3.    Scoop a spoonful of marinara and spread on top of zucchini. Top with a slice or two of pepper.
4.    Add a layer of raw-cotta, and top with more zucchini.
5.    Continue layering sauces and noodles until desired height and serving size is reached.  You can drizzle on a bit of good quality olive oil between a few layers and on top for extra richness. You can also sprinkle in additional salt and pepper, or herbs of your choosing. Herbs De Provence is divine here!

Serves 2 to 3

Meg Pearson is a passionate cook, Culinary Nutrition Expert, certified Raw Food Chef and Instructor, and the owner of “MAP Wellness”.  She is also a Reiki Practitioner and Live Well Educator, with a strong focus on the benefits of a plant-heavy, whole foods diet, and the importance of seeking total life balance.  Through her company MAP Wellness, Meg’s aim is to simply “spread the health”, assisting her clients in discovering their personal path on their wellness journey, in realistic, fun and truly accessible ways. meghanpearson.ca

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