THE LONG WEEKEND AND RAW LASAGNA

For Canadians this past weekend was a long weekend and one of celebration as Canada recognized July 1st as Canada Day. Now, we have the American 4th of July holiday upon us... a time when many take a long weekend to celebrate, too. This is a time to feel patriotic, to be with family and to bring out delicious foods to share with one and all.  I staggered into the weekend knowing my family would be with me through it all as they were coming to support me after one of the more difficult weeks I have had in a while.  With my confidence faltering and life full of uncertainty I was only too glad to have my family by my side.  The support was palpable and the weekend became one of storytelling, laughter, good Eat-Clean food and movie watching. Food is always a highlight for such weekends so I gave it much consideration making sure I had plenty of fresh ingredients on hand but my mind was definitely somewhere else and lacking focus so I have to confess I wanted simplicity for the dishes I would prepare.  Using seasonal, fresh ingredients I planned to make numerous salads to accompany the Clean, well-sourced meats.  I made a Brussels Sprout slaw, a kale and broccoli salad, and a green salad but the highlight was the Raw, Vegan Tomato and Zucchini Lasagna.  It was so very delicious and got better over time. I've always believed that Clean food nourishes and heals the body, but it is evident that it does the same for the mind.

I am excited to share this recipe with you because it makes all eaters from carnivores to trickier vegans happy and it looks glorious on the plate.

The recipe is adapted from Raw Food Real World by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis.

RAW, VEGAN TOMATO AND ZUCCHINI LASAGNA

To make the pignoli ricotta: 2 cups raw pine nuts soaked for 1 hour or more 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 2 tablespoons Braggs liquid 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt 6 tablespoons water

After soaking drain pine nuts and rinse.  Place in food processor along with all other ingredients.  Process until texture resembles ricotta cheese.  Set aside.

To make the tomato sauce: 2 cups sun-dried tomatoes soaked for 2 or more hours 1 medium tomato chopped 1 shallot chopped 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1/4 cup good quality olive oil 2 tablespoons raw honey 2 teaspoons unrefined sea salt pinch hot pepper flakes

Drain sun dried tomatoes after soaking.  Squeeze excess water and place in Vitamix or high-speed blender along with remaining ingredients.  Process until all ingredients are smooth.  Set aside.

To make the basil pistachio pesto: 2 cups fresh basil leaves 1/2 cup shelled raw pistachios 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt pinch black pepper

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well blended but still crumbly.  Set aside.

To make the lasagna: 3 medium green or yellow zucchini (or a combination thereof) trimmed 2 tablespoons good quality olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme pinch unrefined sea salt 3 or 4 medium sized heirloom tomatoes of varying colors sliced whole fresh basil leaves for garnish

Cut the zucchini crosswise in half and, using a mandoline, cut the zucchini lengthwise into thin ribbons.  Place in a medium mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, oregano, salt, thyme and pepper.

Line the bottom of a glass lasagna baking dish with a layer of zucchini slices, each slightly overlapping the other.  Spread 1/2 of the tomato sauce over it and top with small dollops of the first mixture - the pine nut ricotta cheese.  Then do the same with pistachio pesto.  Layer on about half of the tomato slices.  Now add another layer of zucchini slices and the three sauces.  Add tomato slices and finish with a layer of zucchini slices.  Garnish with basil, salt and pepper.  Cover and let sit at room temperature for two hours before serving.

This makes a big lasagna dish full of lovely and delicious raw lasagna.  You won't believe how good this tastes.

Enjoy it and Happy 4th of July to our American neighbors! Tosca