• Leslie

Cauliflower Bechamel Lasagna

(gluten free, dairy-free, vegetarian/vegan option)


Need an alternative main dish for the holiday? Or an idea for holiday leftovers? This recipe has it ALL! Savory, veggie-packed, flexitarian, and super delish!


Traditional bechamel sauce is made with highly processed white flour, butter, and cream. It's a bit tricky too, as you need to "cook" the flour in melted butter to create a "roux," then add cream or milk slowly and hope it doesn't turn on you.


By contrast, our version is free of processed gluten, which is not only hard to digest but also lacks any nutritional value. We've also left out the dairy, an ingredient that 70% of the population has trouble digesting and causes histamine response, something you probably don't want, especially during cold and flu season.


Instead, we've subbed in nutritional rich veggies and plant protein to create a luscious, creamy sauce that is as versatile as just about anything. Use it on pasta, as a dip, or as a sauce on your favorite power bowl. You can't go wrong with this one folks. One of our all-time favorites!


Cauliflower is rich in antioxidants (primarily carotenoids) that can be converted into vitamin A, which is essential for human health and must be obtained though diet. Like most plants, cauliflower also boasts plant fiber (3 grams per cup), protein (2 grams per cup), while being low in carbohydrate and fat. Cauliflower is also a good source of micronutrients, particularly vitamin C, vitamin K, B-vitamins, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese, and Choline, to name a few. Recent studies have given much credit to the sulforaphane content of cauliflower, which may be be why it's believe to help reduce inflammation, balance weight, and potentially help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.


Cashews (actually the seed of the cashew tree), are rich in healthy unsaturated fat (12 grams in 1 ounce), plant protein (5 grams in 1 ounce), and fiber (1 gram per ounce), as well a a host of micronutrients including copper, magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium and more. They also provide antioxidants and are considered helpful in lowering blood sugar and reducing inflammation.


We call this a "flexitartian" dish because it can be made with or without organic meat. Flexitarian is a term used to describe an eating style that is mostly vegetarian but occasoinally eats fish or meat. Go for what you're craving or whatever you have on hand.


Like all lasagna recipes, this involves layers. So there is a bit of a time investment but if you spread it out, maybe make the sauce the day ahead and the fillings the next day, That will spread out the work. When the components are all ready, the lasagna comes together in minutes. And once it's made, you've got a beautiful centerpiece for a crowd or an incredible weeknight dish with leftovers for days. Now wouldn't that be nice?


You can also get creative and swap out the filling here. We always believe in using whatever you have on hand! Go ahead and get creative!


All you need for this dish is (this is your shopping list!):

  • 3/4 cup cashews

  • 1 head cauliflower

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 TB white (mellow) miso (or sub chickpea miso for soy-free)

  • 1/4 cup + 2 TB nutritional yeast

  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

  • onion powder

  • garlic powder

  • salt & pepper

  • 1 lb. organic ground turkey (or sub 8 oz. organic firm tofu, preferably sprouted)

  • 1 sweet yellow onion

  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms

  • Italian seasoning (or sub dried thyme and oregano)

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, orange flesh

  • 2-3 cups Home-Roasted Tomato Sauce (or sub a good quality store bought Organic Marinara Sauce)

  • 10 fresh sage leaves



Cauliflower Bechamel Lasagna


For the sauce (can be made ahead):


Cauliflower Bechamel Sauce

Makes ~2 cups

Prep time: 25 minutes (not including 1 hour soak time)


Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup raw cashews (can be pieces)

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 TB white miso (or chickpea miso for soy-free)

  • 2 TB nutritional yeast

  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice

  • ¼ tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp sea salt

  • ½ tsp freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Soak the cashews in filtered water for 1 hour. Alternatively, you can quick-soak them in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse.

  2. Add cashews, cauliflower, garlic, and bay leaf to a large saucepot. Cover with filtered water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low heat until cauliflower is tender, about 10-15 minutes. Remove ingredients and reserve cooking water. Discard bay leaf.

  3. When cool enough, add to a high-speed blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Add enough reserved boiling liquid to reach a desired creamy consistency.

  4. Use immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3-5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


For the Lasagna Filling:


Flexitarian Lasagna Filling


Ingredients:

  • 1 TB olive oil or broth

  • 1 sweet yellow or white onion, diced

  • 8 oz. cremini mushrooms (or sub maitake or mushroom of choice)

  • 1 lb. organic ground turkey (or sub organic firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumbled)

  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

  • 6 fresh sage leaves, rolled and finely minced (save extra for garnish)

  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning (or sub 1 tsp dried thyme + 1 tsp dried oregano)

  • 6 fresh sage leaves, rolled and minced (save extra for garnish)

  • 1 tsp sea salt (or Himalayan pink salt)

  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Brush the mushrooms with a towel to remove dirt. Trim the bottom of the stems and slice.

  2. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add oil or broth and onion and saute until translucent. Add mushrooms and continue cooking until they release moisture and begin to darken.

  3. Add turkey (or tofu), nutritional yeast, sage and spices, and continue to cook, stirring to break up the meat with a spatula. Cook until meat is just browned. If using tofu, stir gently to incorporate flavors. Remove from heat and set aside.

For the Lasagna Noodles:


Lasagna "Noodles"

Directions: Using a good quality cheese plane or a microplane, carefully slice the sweet potato into wide, thin strips. These will act as your lasagna "noodles." Set aside until ready to assemble. For visual reference, you can check the video included in our Zucchini Lasagna recipe.


For the Lasagna:

  1. When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a 9X13" casserole dish by pouring some tomato sauce in the bottom of casserole and spread out with the back of a spoon. No need to grease but if you prefer, you can rub with a bit of ghee or refined coconut oil (has no coconut flavor) before adding the tomato sauce.

  2. Start by placing a single layer of sweet potato slices, overlapped slightly.

  3. Next, spread 1/2 of the turkey or tofu filling evenly over the "noodles."

  4. Top the filling with a layer of cauliflower bechamel sauce.

  5. Spread another layer of sweet potato "noodles" over the sauce.

  6. Top the potatoes with the rest of the turkey or tofu filling.

  7. Pour enough tomato sauce to cover. Top with some dollops of cauliflower bechamel sauce.

  8. Cover with a final layer of sweet potato "noodles" and finish with a generous amount of bechamel sauce across the top.

  9. Cover with foil and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes, until bubbling. Remove foil and cook another 5 minutes, being careful not to burn the top.

  10. Remove from oven, cool and serve topped with fresh sage leaves.


DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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#cauliflowerbechamel #flexitarianlasagna #veggieloadedlasagna #flexitarian #nutrition

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