Presto! Lasagna

This recipe works especially well if you are cooking for picky eaters, because you can customize small pans of lasagna to order!  If you have kids, you can just put out the dry noodles, cashew cream (which you spin up in the blender), red sauce, and extras in front of your kids and let them make their own creations.  Don’t worry if the kids have said they don’t like cashews—they will never know they are in there if you don’t tell them.

The picture above shows the process mid-assembly so you can see how easy it is to cater to different tastes.  All of the varieties would be covered in sauce as the final step before baking.

Ingredients: (Makes 12 servings)

2 24 oz jars of marinara sauce (Your favorite brand)

1 cup cashews (Cashews should be soaked for at least an hour, unless you have a high speed blender.  If you are short on time, you can use hot water soak for just a few moments.)

1 14 oz. package tofu

4 cloves garlic

2.5 T lemon juice

1 ½ t salt

1 t black pepper

No-boil lasagna noodles.  You can use either “white” noodles (made from semolina flour), or whole wheat.

noodleboxes

Extras: (optional)

1 bunch spinach

1 lb mushrooms

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 °C.

  • Blend the ingredients from cashews, tofu, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper through until smooth.  This is your “cashew ricotta.”
  • Put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of each of three small baking pans (or one 9 by 13 inch pan).
  • Layer some noodles over the sauce.
  • Dab on some of the cashew ricotta.
  • Add a layer of “extras” if you choose (spinach, mushrooms)
  • Spoon some sauce into the layer.
  • Cover with noodles.
  • Repeat layering the cashew ricotta, extras, sauce, and noodles.
  • Cover the top layer of noodles with a generous amount of sauce.
  • Cover and bake for 35 minutes.

Remember: the three pans of lasagna in the photo have not had their top layer of noodles and sauce added yet.

Without the extras, this recipe has a footprint of approximately 150 g CO2-eq per serving.

The breakdown is as follows:

Noodles           32 g CO2-eq per serving

Tomatoes        76 g CO2-eq per serving

Cashews          16 g CO2-eq per serving

Tofu                 30 g CO2-eq per serving

Total             ~150 g CO2-eq per serving

Compare this to a cheese lasagna

Noodles             32 g CO2-eq per serving

Tomatoes         76 g CO2-eq per serving

Ricotta            610 g CO2-eq per serving

Mozzarella      280 g CO2-eq per serving

Total               ~900 g CO2-eq per serving

Or a beef lasagna:

Noodles               32 g CO2-eq per serving

Tomatoes           76 g CO2-eq per serving

Ricotta              610 g CO2-eq per serving

Beef                  750 g CO2-eq per serving

Total                ~1500g CO2-eq per serving

So, a shift from beef to veggie lasagna saves 1,310 g CO2-eq per serving.  That savings corresponds to driving your car 6 miles (assuming 40 miles per gallon)!  An equivalent shift for one meal a day for a year adds up to emissions savings equivalent to over 2,000 miles!

A recent paper in Science (Notz and Stroeve, Science, 2016) reported a  direct linear relationship between CO2-eq emissions and sea ice loss.  For every metric ton (that’s 1,000 kg) of CO2-eq emitted, 3 square meters of sea ice are lost every summer.  This means that one person switching out just one portion of beef lasagna for veggie saves 39 square centimeters of ice.

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