Little tummy has a brand new cousin! The new family member was born just a few hours ago. There were a few complications during the pregnancy, but I’m happy to report that the birth went very well and we are all over the moon.
New baby means exhaustion beyond anything you have experienced before. Getting in the kitchen is the last thing on the minds of a new mom and dad. Most parents fresh from the hospital would greatly appreciate any meals prepared by family and friends. We had some family members do just that for us and it was wonderful. Some parents may want you to drop the food by the door and leave. Others may want you to come in and give them some time to take a shower or whatever. To each their own and that is okay. Be respectful of their wishes.
It’s a good idea to find out what the new parents would prefer before the sleepless nights kick in, which is exactly what I did. I know they are rather picky vegetarians so I didn’t want to hand them something they didn’t want to eat. From what I found out I decided to make them my Nutty Lasagna Roll-ups with a few changes. For this version I’ll be making my new cashew ricotta and my marinara instead of the jarred Alfredo. Both of those recipes you will find at the end of this post. Also, instead of the veggies in the roll-ups I’ll be using Beyond Meat Beef-Free Crumbles to make sure it’s extra hardy and to suit their tastes.
Making it a freezer meal: After baking let it cool completely before freezing. It’s probably best to pull out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. Then, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bake, covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until sauce is bubbling.
The ricotta and marinara I’ll be making are recipes I developed during my attempt to make a zucchini lasagna for the first time. I don’t know about you, but I have grown tired of buying jarred marinara. One night, I was over at my mother-in-law’s while she was making dinner. She was dumping all sorts of things into a large pot making her own marinara. I was dumbfounded to find out just how simple making your own marinara could be. I was suddenly ashamed to admit I never even attempted to make my own.
A few days later I gave it a whirl and was quite pleased with the process and the results. I loved it so much I have made it multiple times since. It’s so easy! I urge you to try it. You will taste the difference. Play with the ingredients and make your own signature sauce that you can pass down through the family or keep it a secret.
vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, oil-free
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
- filtered water for soaking
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- up to 1/2 cup filtered water
- Place cashews in a medium bowl and cover with filtered water. Let soak in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Drain cashews and put in a food processor with remaining ingredients, except for the water.
- Blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. While blending slowly pour in water until it reaches a desired consistency. It should have some body to it, not dripping off the spatula.
- Set aside until ready to use or keep refrigerated in an airtight container.
vegan, soy-free, nut-free, gluten-free
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, stems removed and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2- 15 ounce cans diced tomatoes, lightly drained OR 3 cups fresh chopped tomatoes
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach
- salt, to taste
- Heat oil in a large sauce pot. Saute onion for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and mushrooms and saute another 5 minutes.
- Add seasoning and cook another minute until it starts to stick. Deglaze the pan by adding the white wine and stir the bottom. Let cook for 5 more minutes. Add tomatoes, paste, and spinach. Stir until well mixed.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes for flavors to marry. Taste for salt.
- Using a hand stick blender, blend until smooth. Or you can let cool and transfer contents to a blender.
- Set aside until ready to use or keep refrigerated in an airtight container after it has completely cooled.
vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, nut-free option*
makes 8 servings
- 2-3 zucchini (depending on size), thinly sliced lengthwise (I used the “2” setting on my mandolin)
- mushroom marinara (recipe above)
- cashew ricotta (recipe above) OR (*use seedrific ricotta)
- 4 ounces sliced black olives
- a few handfuls baby spinach
- 14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9 by 13 baking dish.
- Start out by spreading about 1/3 cup of sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.
- Place a single layer of zucchini slices on the sauce however they will fit. Spread 1/4 of the ricotta on the zucchini. Sprinkle 1/4 of the toppings on the ricotta. Spread a small amount of the marinara on the toppings, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup for each layer.
- Repeat those steps 3 more times. Top with the remaining slices of zucchini. End with the remaining amount of marinara. The sauce should completely cover the top layer which will take about 1/2 cup.
- Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
- Remove from oven, uncover, and let cool for 15 minutes before cutting into it. Serve and enjoy!