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I’ve talked about me considering a raw diet before and I so want to do it, but in all honesty I just don’t think I’m ready. It is pretty neat though not having to cook the food. No hot ovens, no scorching grills or frying pans. As much as I love to cook, I must admit it is nice not to have to deal with heat, especially living here in Oven, Arizona…I mean, Phoenix, Arizona!

As I recall though, when Lee and I attempted eat a raw diet for 30 days over a year ago, it was extremely difficult for us to follow. There’s a science to it and if you don’t know what you’re doing then it won’t be successful and you may starve. Unfortunately there’s more involved than just eating cucumbers, celery and carrots!

This raw lasagna that I make is out of this world and it has colors of the Italian flag – green, white and red! The tricky thing about this lasagna is that when you read through the ingredients and directions you’re like – Ok, I can have this made in no time, but it’s very deceiving. For a 9×13 size pan, which isn’t that big, it takes both Lee and I working together over 2 hours to make from start to finish. It’s worth it though and since Lee and I love being in the kitchen it’s really no big deal – we have fun.

So, even if you are not considering going to a raw diet, you may want to try this out, especially if you like Italian food! And who doesn’t? It’s Italian with a twist! Most Italians are twisted anyway! LOL! Here are some pics to get your hunger up and I’ll follow with my version of the recipe.

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Mary’s Raw Italian Lasagna:

Toasted Pignolia Ricotta

  • 2 cups pine nuts (I use Trader Joe’s Toasted Pignolias Pinenuts, but any will do)
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. water

Directions: Place the pinenuts, lemon juice, yeast and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times until combined. Gradually add in water and process until the texture becomes light and fluffy like ricotta. I try to get it as thin and smooth as I can so it spreads easier, but it usually is always thick – don’t expect it to be thin and runny, unless you add more water. I choose not to.

The ‘Sauce’

Note:  Some recipes for raw lasagna call for diced tomatoes and even sun-dried tomatoes, I make mine differently. As most Italians, I love peppers! The sweeter, the better. I make a pepper sauce instead of tomato sauce and I’m certain you’ll love it.

  • 3 medium peppers *see note below*
  • ¼ sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup evoo
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. agave nectar
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes

*The peppers can be yellow, orange or even red (I do not use green). I have used different combinations of the three, they all work. I have even used mini peppers, which if you do choose to use the minis then use about 10-12 of them.

Add all ingredients to food processor and pulse into a sauce. It will be a little chunky, but not much. It may appear runny but it’s ok – it’s supposed to be just like this and the flavor is amazing. It’s what makes the lasagna! I love the aroma of the peppers.

Pesto

  • 2 cups packed basil leaves
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. evoo
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • A pinch of black pepper

Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until well combined, to the texture you like. Not too thick, not too thin.

 Assembly

  • 3 medium zucchini, peeled and ends cut off.
  • 2 Tbsp. evoo
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped oregano or 1 tsp. dried
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme or 1 tsp. dried (I always run out of time and thyme both, so this recipe is fine without it)
  • A pinch of sea salt (the Mediterranean Sea is best! After all, this is Italian!)
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • 3 medium tomatoes cut into thin slices
  • Whole basil leaves for garnish

First step:  Cut the zucchini crosswise in half. Using a mandolin or vegetable peeler, peel (cut) lengthwise into very thin slices. These become the noodles. In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini slices with the olive oil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Second step:  Line the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with a layer of zucchini slices, overlapping the other slightly. Spread 1/3 of the sauce over and top with small dollops of the ricotta and pesto – using 1/3 of the mixture each. Then add a layer of tomato slices. Repeat twice, making 3 layers all together. I try to spread out the dollops of ricotta, rather than just leave it in chunks. It is thick, so it’s a bit challenging to do this. Either way it is delizioso, ghiotto, prelibato, squisito! Don’t fear that it has to spread perfect, because it doesn’t – trust me. Finally, garnish with basil if you choose.

This can be eaten immediately, or kept out and eaten later. Any leftover lasagna can be refrigerated for a day or two. It can be eaten cold or set out to reach room temperature.

MANGIA! Ciao bella….

Mary

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