Butternut Squash and Garlicky Kale Lasagna with Brazil Nut Cheese

by Gena on November 14, 2012

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Last night, my friend Anne and I had a chance to catch up after quite a few weeks without our customary conversation and laughter. We’re both in the middle of finishing up rigorous academic programs (Anne, an MPH/RD, me, the post-bacc), and so time is quite scarce for us. Normally when we meet up, we try to do “ingredient potlucks,” where we pool all of the stuff in our respective fridges and prepare it together at one of our homes; this time, Anne was busy incorporating some edits into her master’s paper, so I said that I’d be happy to host her and do a bit of cooking and prep before she got to my place.

When I surveyed my home, I realized that I had a glut of butternut squash, and I also had a container of brown rice lasagna noodles (from Tinyaka) that had been hanging out my kitchen for a good long time. I’ve seen butternut squash lasagna recipes on many a blog, so I figured I’d try a simple version out, using the squash and the bunch of kale I’d just gotten this week. There’s no vegan “ricotta” or melted vegan cheese in this recipe, but I did create a Brazil nut and pumpkin “cheese” to spread on top of the lasagna, and I think it is a great recipe to enjoy on its own, too!

There are a couple of important things to note about this recipe

  1. If you don’t have time to make the nut cheese, it’s cool. It adds to the recipe but doesn’t make or break it, so you can definitely top it with some extra kale instead of the cheese, or simply eat it without a sauce/spread on top at all. This will save you a bit of time!
  2. Unlike a lasagna that uses a lot of sauce, this lasagna is fairly “dry” as you bake it, so you have to cook the noodles all the way through before baking, rather than par-boiling them. I wouldn’t use the no-boil noodles if I were you!
  3. It’s important to cover the lasagna as you cook it: the noodles on top will get really dry if you don’t. A sheet of foil is all it takes.
  4. The butternut filling is super tasty, and I think it would work on its own as a delicious side dish. The trick is to mash it up enough to spread it in the lasagna, but not turn it into a purée. Use a potato masher and don’t overdo it.

Without further ado, the recipe!

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Butternut Squash and Garlicky Kale Lasagna with Brazil Nut Cheese (vegan, can be gluten free with suitable lasagna noodles)

Serves 4-6

2 lbs butternut squash, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 large yellow onion
2-3 tbsp olive oil, divided (or coconut for the roasting part)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp rubbed sage
1 cup brazil nuts
1 lemon
1 tbsp mellow white miso (substitute 1/2 tsp sea salt)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup water + extra
9 lasagna noodles (I used brown rice noodles, which would be good for my GF readers, but any noodles will be fine)
1 large bunch of curly kale, washed and chopped into manageable pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced

1. Mix squash and onions with 1-2 tbsp coconut or olive oil and sea salt and pepper to taste. Roast at 400 degrees Farenheit till the squash is browning and very tender (about 35-40 minutes). Mash the squash with a potato masher till it’s smashed up, but not too much: you’re not looking for the texture of mashed potatoes here! You want some texture, but for it to still be easy to spread. As you do this, add the sage and season again, to taste. Lower the oven to 350 and set aside squash.

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2. To make the pumpkin cheese, place your cup of Brazil nuts in a food processor and grind till they’re powdery but not yet turning into nut butter. Add 1 cup pumpkin or butternut squash puree, sea salt, miso, and nutritional yeast, along with 1/4 cup water. Process, adding more water as need be till you have a smooth, spreadable mixture. Set aside.

3. Bring a pot of water to boil and boil the lasagna noodles till tender. This is important! See note above.

4. Finally, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan, along with 2 cloves minced garlic and a bit of salt and pepper. Add your kale and sautee, stirring constantly and adding a few tablespoons of water as you go along to keep it moist and tender. When kale is wilted and the garlic is cooked, turn off heat.

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5. To assemble lasagna, spray the bottom of a casserole dish (rectangular) with some coconut or olive oil spray. Lay down a layer of noodles, and top them with a layer of squash and kale. Add another layer of noodles, and another layer of squash and kale. Finally, add one more layer of noodles. Cover the lasagna in foil and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, till everything is warm. Remove from oven, and when it’s a little cooler, spread your Brazil nut cheese (if using) over the top layer). Cut and serve!

It should smell fantastic as it bakes. This recipe includes more garlic than is my norm (I’m not a big fan), but it really works here, and I don’t find it overwhelming. I do find it deliciously fragrant, though.

The finished product:

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This lasagna is so tasty! A perfect marriage of everything autumn.

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To go along with it, Anne and I whipped up a salad of a few of our favorite things: roasted beets, lentils, arugula and radicchio, and what is now our standard vinaigrette for get-togethers: balsamic, lemon, olive oil, dijon mustard, salt, pepper. It was a killer salad, if I do say so myself. I topped it all off with some fragrant and lovely toasted hazelnuts:

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Something about salad preparation always makes me smile:

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Look at that abundant bowl of green!

As usual, it was wonderful to catch up with Anne, whose wedding I recently missed, sadly, because of a death in my family. She and I are both so ready to be freed from the yoke of school (even if my freedom is very temporary) and enjoy more adventures together in D.C.!

For some of our previous ingredient potlucks, check out our

Can’t wait for the next healthy and tasty collaboration!

Before I go, I wanted to mention that my friend Carrie has just created an app called Vegan Delish. It’s designed for new and veteran vegans and vegetarians, plus those wanting to explore the benefits of a plant-based diet. It features innovative tools such as a digital shopping list and searchable categories including gluten-free, quick & easy, and kid-friendly. It inspires users to make whole food, plant-based meals that are as delicious as they are nutritious.

For the introductory price of only $1.99, users of Vegan Delish receive 50 recipes including California Kale Salad, Easiest Slow-Cooker Applesauce, Pumpkin Spice Muffins and Butternut Harvest Stew. Plus, once the app is purchased, access is included to all of the new recipes that are added monthly.

Each recipe features step-by-step instructions to transform simple ingredients into flavorful, health-promoting meals that everyone will enjoy.

I’m really excited to get the complimentary download that Carrie—who has just bravely battled a diagnosis of thyroid cancer and written about her extraordinary healing process on her blog—has generously offered me. And I am offering you, my readers, five free downloads. The first five folks who comment on this post will receive Vegan Delish for free, so don’t wait! Chime in now, and I’ll connect you with Carrie. Please note that the app is only for Apple handheld devices in the US and Canadian markets.

Have a lovely day, all!

xo

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Chatelaine November 14, 2012 at 1:31 pm

oh oh did I make the top 5!!!

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Christa @ Edible Balance November 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm

What an incredible looking dish! You girls are so creative :)

Such an inspiring story Carrie has, the app sounds fabulous!!

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beth November 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

that lasagna looks delish!!

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Marie November 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Looks great! Can’t wait to try it – and the app.

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Lisa Casagrande November 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Can’t wait to try this!!!

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Emily November 14, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Looks delish!
Kale, garlic and cheeze altogether? Oh my!

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Sue November 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Aww, man! I just missed it. How about the first 7 comments?!

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Gena November 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Aw, sorry Sue. It’s VERY reasonably priced though!!!

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Diane Trudeau November 14, 2012 at 1:43 pm

too late eh? those recipes look goooooood

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Victoria (District Chocoholic) November 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Mmmmmmmm Bazil Nuts, my favorite. Most radioactive food on Earth.

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Victoria (District Chocoholic) November 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Mmmmmmmm Brazil Nuts, my favorite. Most radioactive food on Earth.

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Lisa @ The Raw Serenity November 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm

This looks awesome.
You always have a glow to you :)

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The Delicate Place November 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm

yum! nut cheez has become a regular in my place since i don’t tolerate dairy! i’ve only been reading anne for the last 6 mos and my heart goes out to her right now during this difficult time.

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Gena November 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm

So glad you found Anne’s blog! She is without a doubt one of the kindest, most generous, and most exceptionally cool people I know.

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Molly November 14, 2012 at 2:07 pm

I don’t know why, but for some reason this recipe makes me smile. I am so looking forward to making this for my family! Thanks for always being so lovely and inventive :)

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Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans November 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Mmm… this lasagna looks delicious! I’m usually not a big pasta fan because it’s heavy and not nearly enough vegetables for my liking, but this is a pasta dish I could get behind!

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Ashley November 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Ah, this sounds perfect. Wish I could have joined you two! :)

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Gena November 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Aww, wish you could join us sometime, Ms. Ashley!

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BYOL November 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

This looks amazing! I’ve been putting together a thanksgiving menu to help celebrate my mothers first vegan thanksgiving! Might give this a try!

thanks for everything!

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Karen November 14, 2012 at 3:02 pm

This lasagna sounds like a winner…the more garlic in the recipe the better if you ask me! :)

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Beth November 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Gena, I think we’re living parallel food lives this week. I was munching on a big slaw salad when you posted your slaw recipe and planning to make butternut squash lasagna right when this went live. And now I know what my recipe will be! Were you also inspired by the new brown rice lasagna noodles and Whole Foods?

xo

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Beth November 14, 2012 at 3:16 pm

* AT Whole Foods.

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Beth November 14, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Okay, nevermind. Clearly I hadn’t read above yet :)

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Gena November 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Nope! The good old Tinkyada brand (I love them — SO MUCH BETTER than whole wheat pasta).

Hilarious we were in sync :)

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Anonymous November 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm

They actually just started carrying Tinkyada lasagne noodles at the P St Whole Foods — unless I’ve missed it every other time! I was so excited I decided to make butternut squash lasagne right then :)

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Jennifer@knackfornutrition November 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Can you please be my chef!? :) This looks great!

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Gena November 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Ha! I’ll gladly be your chef.

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Carrie (Carrie on Vegan) November 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Yay! Thanks for hosting the giveaway, Gena, and for your sweet and supportive words. xoxoxo!

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Gena November 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Thank you for sharing with my readers, Carrie!

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Andrea November 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I bet a cashew cream/bechamel would be delicious on that lasagna.

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Gena November 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm

I concur :)

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Anne P November 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Thanks again for the wonderful company and delicious food. You’re the best :) Already excited for next time!

xo

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Gena November 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Same here! And YOU are the best. xo

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Ali November 15, 2012 at 12:38 am

Gena-
Do you think I could sub a combo of cashews and hazelnuts instead of brazil nuts? (dying to make this ASAP-with probably triple the garlic :-)- but husband is allergic to brazil nuts).

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Gena November 17, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Oh def! That would be fine, Ali.

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Kath November 15, 2012 at 12:57 am

Can’t wait to try this recipe! Sounds beautiful and I like the idea of a ‘drier’ lasagne

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Sunniva November 15, 2012 at 2:34 am

This looks delish! Need to make this sometime.

By the way, you are so beautiful!

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Michelle@HappyHeart November 15, 2012 at 7:59 am

Well done ladies it looks amazing! Salad prep makes me smile….they’re just so pretty!

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Shannon November 15, 2012 at 9:13 am

Yum! This looks so good. And it inspired my cooking last night. I had a carnival squash that I had been enjoying looking at for a long time and finally got around to baking last night. Used it to make a squash cashew cheese that I’m having today with polenta and some sprouted pumpkin seeds, on a bed of spinach. I’m excited for lunch!

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Carrie Sheridan November 15, 2012 at 11:48 am

Tinkyada brown rice pasta is so good and good for us! And easily digestible. Last night I just made shell salad with tinkyada shell pasta, can of chunk light tuna, chopped green olives and peas (I used LeSeure canned but cooked frozen peas would be fine) with vegenaise to taste…the sweetness of the peas with the olives is a nice combination.

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Carrie Sheridan November 15, 2012 at 11:50 am

Amazon.com sells tinkyada products, discounted with free shipping over $25! Also Pamela’s baking and pancake mix and Hansen’s natural cola…FYI.

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Carrie Sheridan November 15, 2012 at 11:53 am

There is enough reasonable concern over aluminum toxicity that it seems safer NOT to use foil or certainly aluminum pots…I would be interested to see what you and Anne think if you researched it well. Also concerned about microwave use, plastics and diet/artificial sweeteners. It would be great to have reliable information on the potential or actual harm that surely isn’t worth the risk?

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Mizpah @ The Raw Food Solution November 15, 2012 at 11:54 am

Butternut squash and greens is one of my favorite combinations!
Looks delicious :)

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Christine November 16, 2012 at 8:33 am

Mmm, two great tastes that taste great together. The Italian in me isn’t sure how I feel about a no sauce lasagna, but the butternut squash lover in me is saying yum!

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Claire November 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Ooh, Gena, this looks gorgeous! Thank you :-)

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Jodi Garland November 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm

just finished assembling this and am warming it in the oven..Smells incredible!!! Made your pumpkin chocolate raw brownies last week. I am hooked on your recipes!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

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Northwest Herbivore November 23, 2012 at 11:14 am

Yum! I want to try this! One question: where does the lemon come in? I see it in the ingredients but not in the instructions.

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Kayla December 9, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I made the lasagna tonight… so creamy and satisfying. I ran out of brazil nuts so my “cheese” was made of equal parts cashews and brazil nuts (which gave it an more orange appearance). I ended up having to roast the squash and onions for over an hour and the entire lasagna for about 35 minutes though. Yum yum, this will be a great meal to revisit or share with my more adventurous coworkers the rest of the week. Thanks for sharing this recipe, I will definitely be making it again.

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