By Christina Lalor
Yes, you heard that correctly! It has happened- a vegan dish that even your meat-eating friends will love. I’m sure if they are reading this, they are rolling their eyes, thinking “no way Christina,” nothing compares to a truly cheesy, meaty lasagna. Well, don’t knock it off your list until you try a bite of this deliciousness, you won’t be disappointed. I know I wasn’t.
For some context, no I am not vegan, but I value the importance of reducing my meat intake and trying dishes outside of my comfort zone. One’s diet - whether vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian or a meat-eater, is all on a spectrum. You should base your diet on what gives you the nutrients and subsistence you need, what environmental impact this diet may have, and of course, the health benefits for you. Not every diet is right for every person, play around and find out what makes you feel like your best self and is sustainable! Sustainable eating is one of the most important aspects of eating for me- meaning I am being consistent, getting the nutrients and food value I need, keeping within my budget, and having something that works with my busy schedule.
Cooking can get boring when you are doing the same dish every time- I don’t know how many times I’ve made lasagna, but I can tell you I have never made a vegan lasagna until today! Don’t let all the healthy ingredients -red lentils, tofu, cashews, spinach and whole grain noodles - make you think this dish won’t be BOMB, because it absolutely is. With all these incredible ingredients, come incredible benefits! This dish is
Now this specific recipe has two parts- the lasagna and the vegan mozzarella cheese! Both recipes and ingredient lists are provided if you keep scrolling down! You can use the vegan mozzarella cheese for grilled cheeses or pizza, but I think it is absolutely perfect on this lasagna - I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Benefits of Ingredients
Now, for some honestly- I am not the world’s best cook. I need some easy recipes and when I try out vegan, gluten free or international dishes I am working with a lot of ingredients I may not be familiar with. I think we all know that struggle of going aisle by aisle trying to find an ingredient we have no idea what it even looks like. We now have the power of the internet to help us find what we need, tell us exactly what it is and what the benefits of it are. For this vegan recipe, I want to talk about some of the benefits of the specific ingredients- maybe you’ll be more inclined to eat them after hearing about how great they are for you, I know I was.
Red Lentils: These are the sweetest and nuttiest of the lentils (green, brown or red), only taking about 30 minutes to cook up. They have 18 grams of protein per cup cooked- that’s a whole lot of protein (a great sub for not having meat in your dish). Red lentils are easiest to mix in with soups or purees rather than green or brown lentils.
Cashews: Provide a variety of overall health benefits, cashews are rich in nutrients, linked to benefits like weight loss and help control blood sugar. They are rich in unsaturated fats, low in sugar, a great source of fiber and have almost equal amounts of protein as an equivalent quantity of cooked meat! Cashews also contain copper, a mineral impactful in energy production and one’s immune system!
Tofu: An amazing protein source, tofu contains all nine essential amino acids, is rich in iron and calcium and contains magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1! Wooh- sounds like I need some more tofu in my life. Tofu comes from soya protein, known as a bean curd, prepared by coagulating soy milk and pressing the curds into solid white blocks that we recognize as tofu!
Nutritional yeast: A yeast type that helps bake bread and brew beer, nutritional yeast is grown specifically to be used as a food product. The yeast cells are deactivated during the process, leaving many B vitamins, trace minerals like zinc, selenium, molybdenum and manganese. This yeast is a fantastic source of protein as well with one tablespoon containing 2 whole grams of protein!
Tapioca Starch: This one I had never heard of before, it is made from crushed pulp of the cassava root. It works similar to cornstarch in that it thickens the dish. It works best when added at the end of cooking, whereas corn starch stands well in high heat.
1 cup dried red lentils
2 (25oz) jars of marinara sauce
1 cup raw cashews
16oz firm tofu (pat dry)
½ cup nutritional yeast
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp oregano
½ tsp garlic powder
2 ½ cups baby spinach
1 box whole grain (or gluten free) lasagna noodles
Vegan Mozzarella Cheese
½ cup Raw Cashews
1 ⅓ cups water
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
½ tsp salt
4 tbsp tapioca starch
While your lasagna is in the oven for 40 minutes, it’s time to get to work on that vegan mozzarella cheese- this is the cherry on top for this dish. This stretchy vegan cheese is made with just 5 ingredients!
By Jack Hornsby
Baking has become a popular hobby over the last year as the pandemic had most of us sheltering at home. We at the Green Living Blog wanted to give you guys a healthy, fun to make, vegan alternative to a regular loaf of bread that you can try out at home! “Naan” is a popular, versatile type of indian flatbread that's perfect for just about any meal! Even if you are not a vegan this recipe is as good, or even better, than other non-vegan Naan options out there! This dish is very easy to make at home, very delicious, and incredibly versatile, so there’s a million different things that you can do with this bread! Let’s jump into it!
History of Naan bread
Naan is a flatbread that is used to accompany meals in Northern India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, and other surrounding areas. The first accounts of Naan go back as early as 1300 AD. For hundreds of years Naan bread was seen as a bit of a delicacy, and the only people that were evidenced of having it in their diet on a semi-consistent basis were royalty and other people in positions of power. The reason that it remained a food for royals for hundreds of years is because it required ingredients, tools, materials and techniques that were just not available to people without some form of wealth. By around 1700 however the techniques and tools required to make this dish were much more widespread. While, at this point, Naan bread was still seen as a delicacy, it was available to those without great financial means. From this point onwards the spread of this dish became more and more widespread, until you get to today and it’s seen around the world. From India to North America, Naan Bread can be made by anybody who has the time required to make this amazing bread!
Different types of Naan bread
There are a plethora of versions to this bread, and a whole range of sides, dips, curries, and meats that can accompany it. On its own, it’s quite a healthy snack, perfect for any health conscious, vegan individual, or anyone on any form of plant based diet. Even if you do not fall into any of these categories, there are endless possibilities of how you can make and enjoy this dish! From your basic butter Naan and garlic Naan (which we’ll be making in this recipe!), to more filling and creative variants like Paneer Naan (bread stuffed with a fresh, soft, Indian cottage cheese called Paneer) , and Kashmiri Naan (which is filled with nuts and raisins) or Keema Naan (stuffed with minced, flavoured lamb) the options for making Naan your own are endless. There’s a ton of other fun things that you can easily do with your home-made Naan bread, which include easy-to-make health conscious, vegan/ vegetarian dishes, gluten-free accompaniments, and healthy meat-based curries and sides. You really cannot go wrong with this dish, whatever direction you decide to take it!
What can you do with the Naan bread?
Making the Naan got me thinking about what you could do with this bread, and after a little bit of research and experimenting on my own, I wanted to share with you the ideas I liked best.
First of all this garlic Naan bread is delicious on its own! It really is a great snack that can be enjoyed by itself, but if you do want to spice it up a little here’s what I recommend. If you’re vegan, and living a health-conscious lifestyle, you can easily make a vegan pizza out of it! Throw on some vegan cheese, whatever vegetables you fancy, put it in the oven until it’s all warm and melted and you’ve got yourself an incredibly easy and low effort pizza! Another medley type dish that you can make with this Naan is a wrap of any kind! Throw your chosen ingredients on top, wrap it up, and boom you’ve got a wrap of your choosing! The dish that I had along with my Naan bread was a wonderful Chicken Tikka Masala with rice, and I thought those three dishes together was an absolutely amazing combination. Finally, something that I am definitely going to try to make within the next week is making a Gyro with Naan bread. I’m still deciding if i want to go with a vegan Gyro or just a regular one (There’s a lot of amazing looking vegan Gyro recipes out there!) That all said, I'm sure any way that I spin it, having this Naan bread around will be great for further cooking experimentation, and I think anything that I make with this bread will be absolutely amazing!
Is this easy to make?
Actually, i did not find this recipe for Naan Bread too hard to make at all! I have personally never made any form of bread (flatbread or regular), so coming into making this was a little daunting. I have a lot of cooking experience, but next to no baking experience. Luckily this recipe requires no baking! The hardest part for me of this whole recipe was making sure that I had all the ingredients measured out correctly! Once you have your dough all made up and let it rest for a while you just need to knead and cook it up!
I know cooking can be scary if you are inexperienced or have just never really worked with dough too much before, but fear not this recipe is pretty hard to mess up! Overall, I would say that this dish is easy to make, delicious, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who has a little extra time on their hands, and wants to try and make a pretty low effort flatbread at home!
In this section I wanted to lay out the hard parts and pitfalls to look out for with this recipe. The actual hard parts of this recipe are as follows; making sure you knead the dough enough, and making sure you get the dough right. Actually cooking this bread is incredibly easy. You just put the dough on your cast iron skillet, let it sit there for a bit, and flip it over when ready. As for kneading the dough, you really have to make sure you get in there and knead it correctly. DO NOT skimp on the kneading! Secondly, getting the dough just right is essential to the success of cooking this Naan bread. Making sure you measure out the right amount of the ingredients, having the exact ingredients specified in the recipe, and combining them as instructed is essential to success here. Pay extra special attention to steps one through four to ensure you end up with a great tasting finished product. Finally, make sure you add the garlic! I personally cannot get enough garlic on anything, so i am a little biased, but i felt that garlic on this dish really elevated it to another level!
This recipe was a lot of fun to make. It’s a great recipe for anyone whose diet is completely plant based, vegan, or even someone who is not, because this Naan is just that good. To go along with this dish my family decided to do a tikka masala and this Naan bread was the perfect side to go along with it! Even if Tikka Masala isn’t a recipe you have tried before this is such a flexible dish that you can really do anything you want with it! Go take another look at my recommendations for it above, or find something else cool to do with it! I have a couple extra portions from this recipe still sitting in my fridge, so I'm excited to be able to do a lot of fun things with it!
I have always considered myself a passionate potato eater and thought I’ve had the best of the best with my grandma’s homemade mashed potatoes. But the Friendsgiving of 2020, my whole scale of potato greatness was crushed by this one perfectly executed potato dish (sorry Grandma if you are reading this). This dish is not for the lactose intolerant or faint of heart- but for those of you ready to make this, I guarantee it’ll have your belly smiling from ear to ear. If, like a few of my friends, you prefer or choose to be vegan, I have a vegan swap-out recipe that’s kickin’ despite the lack of buttery goodness I absolutely love! Are you as excited as I am to try this recipe out yet? If you are anything like me you may not want to share this dish, to which I suggest hiding it in the back of the fridge.
This recipe is named after Master Chef Joel Robuchon’s signature mashed potato puree dish. Chef Robuchon was an award winning chef, restauranteur, author and mentor who sadly passed away in 2018 at the age of 73. He mentored many famous chefs including Gordon Ramsey, Eric Ripert, and Michael Cains. This dish helped Robuchon earn a Michelin star - one of the 32 Michelin Guide stars he accumulated through his career- the most of any chef in the world.
Like most french dishes, this particular recipe doesn’t skimp on the butter. It’s known for its silky smooth buttery texture and taste. Now you might be wondering how your potatoes might match up to the a world famous dish which is the namesake of a world famous chef. Let me be honest- I couldn’t and I don’t expect any less than a highly trained chef to get this recipe spot on. However, I have modified this recipe for those of us who enjoy eating a tad bit more than we do cooking. After all, why should we miss out on the decadence? Our recipe is slightly altered to make it so much easier to cook without compromising on the taste. but if you wish to go all out comme des français, we’ve included the original version by Alex- French cooking guy below.
I did also promise you a vegan version and I have a recipe that my vegan friends and fam absolutely love. I’ve swapped out the butter with vegan butter and substituting the whipping cream with vegan milk or buttermilk. I’ve found it works much better than cream substitutes in maintaining the smooth, silky texture. Taste wise, you do feel the lack of fats that's central to this dish, but that’s just chemistry at work. My solution is to add an extra dollop (or two, or more) of your plant-based fat till you get to the point where you go “mmm” when tasting a spoon.
Make sure you use starchy potatoes. The starch is needed to give you the nice fluffy texture. Now the original recipe calls for waxy potatoes and I’m sure that’s the best way to go when you’re making this as part of a France-themed special occasion. My version prioritises ease and speed where possible so Yukon gold is the way to go!
I strongly suggest using the freshest full fat and full cream butter you can find. The best advice i can give you is to buy through your local farmer's market or co-op store. You’re not only helping out your local community and supporting small businesses, I guarantee you the taste is miles better than any store bought butter you’ll find. Please do not use a low-fat version of butter. I’ve already warned you that this isn’t a dish for the faint of heart. Besides, this is a special-occasion recipe and we all deserve to be pampered once in a while. Whatever you do, DO NOT use diet substitutes for the butter or cream. If that’s what you have in mind, I’m going to have to ask you to stop right now and reassess your priorities.
Now let's get this potato party started!
You only need these 4 ingredients!
4 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
4 Sticks of Butter
1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
Boil the potatoes until they are tender
Peel them hot
Run the potatoes through a ricer, mash until desired texture is reached
Add the butter, 1 stick at a time
Puree or whisk until butter is fully incorporated
Finish with adding 1/4c dairy at a time
You are now ready to enjoy this mouth-watering dish! Serve on your favorite biodegradable, Élay Products tableware, then use your Élay to-go container to store your leftovers in the fridge. When you are ready for more (no shame if it's later that night), throw your Élay to-go container right into the microwave and it'll be just as tasty as the first few bites!
Check out this article from Time Magazine about Chef Joel Robuchon and this delicious dish.