Layers of summer squash lasagna “noodles”, yellow tomato sauce and creamy pesto-infused cashew ricotta = ultimate plant-based comfort food!Jump to Recipe
As a chef who has adapted to eating gluten and dairy-free, I embrace the challenge of recreating comfort dishes. This Summer Squash Lasagna with Cashew Ricotta is a celebration of the goodness of plant-based cuisine, and yields 100% culinary contentment. I worked on this dish for two past summers and think the final product is just about perfection.
Ingredients & Process:
My garden has been bursting with zucchini and yellow squash all summer long! I tend to miss picking a few that turn into giants, like this beauty above. This lasagna recipe is perfect for those able-bodied veggies, as they become perfect squash “noodles”. I am also fortunate to have a bounty of yellow tomato varieties, which are key for the sauce.
When making the sauce, I like a combination of fresh yellow tomatoes combined with canned fire-roasted ones. If you can find the variety with green chiles, it will add a nice kick!
Fresh basil is an important flavor ingredient in both the sauce and the lasagna itself. A good-quality Balsamic vinegar will add the right balance of depth and richness.
My absolute favorite part of this dish is the amazing cashew ricotta. Soaked cashews are pureed with my Kale Matcha Pistachio Pesto to create the creamiest, most addictive filling.
The cashew ricotta is easy and quick to prepare in a food processor or blender and the finished result has a perfect ricotta-like texture.
Once the sauce and cashew ricotta have been prepared, the fun of assembly can begin. I like a combination of zucchini and yellow squash for color contrast. The key is to slice the squash and sprinkle with salt to allow extra moisture to be drawn out first.
I like to use a casserole dish for this, but any sturdy baking dish with 1 1/2 to 2-quart capacity will work.
Assembly starts with sauce, then layers of “noodles”, more sauce and a generous spread of cashew ricotta. The crowning glory is achieved with a handful of fresh basil leaves!
One of my favorite aspects of this lasagna is that it tastes even better on day 2 or 3! It is also delicious at any temperature.
Botani Old Vines Moscatel, imported from Málaga, Spain by Jorge Ordóñez, is an unexpectedly delicious pairing with the lasagna. The wine is made from 100% Muscat of Alexandria grape. This is the oldest variety in the Muscat family and was brought from Alexandria, Egypt to Málaga almost 3,000 years ago! The wine has exotic floral, white peach and citrus notes and a lush mouth-feel to balance the flavorful sauce. Enjoy!!
Summer Squash Lasagna with Cashew Pesto Ricotta
- Food Processor or Blender
- 1 1/2 to 2-quart Casserole Dish
- 1 cup raw cashews
- ½ cup pesto I use my Kale Matcha Pistachio Pesto
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Small amount of water for correct consistency
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pints yellow cherry tomatoes or any good ripe summer tomatoes
- 1 can 14-oz. can organic fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 5-6 medium mixed zucchini and yellow summer squash
- Sea salt
- Fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
To make the cashew ricotta:
- Soak cashews in a glass bowl of water overnight, or for at least 4 hours; drain and rinse well. Add to food processor or blender with pesto and sea salt. Process until smooth, adding a little water to create a “ricotta” consistency. Set aside.
For the tomato sauce:
- Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet. Add garlic and cherry tomatoes; cover pan with lid and cook over medium heat until tomatoes burst, stirring and pressing on them occasionally. Add fire roasted tomatoes, basil, balsamic, salt and pepper and cook uncovered until sauce thickens and tomatoes are very soft.
- Preheat oven to 400°. Slice each squash lengthwise into thin slices, about 1/8”. Salt slices and let sit on towels for about 30 minutes to release moisture; pat dry. Oil a casserole dish and put a small amount of sauce on the bottom to cover. Start laying out slices of zucchini like noodles, filling in and overlapping slices where needed. Top with a layer of sauce then a layer of the cashew ricotta. Repeat, ending with squash slices and sauce. Sprinkle basil leaves over top and drizzle with a little olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 20-25 minutes longer until golden brown. Let lasagna sit at least 30 minutes before serving.