Coworkers: "How's the eating thing going?"
Me: "Good! I am planning on making raw lasagna this week."
Coworkers: "What do you mean? You aren't going to cook it?"
Me: "No, it is a raw vegan recipe ... you don't cook it."
Coworkers: "Well, what about the noodles?"
Me: "There aren't any noodles. You use zucchini and squash as noodles."
Coworkers: "Well aren't you going to melt the cheese?"
Me: "There isn't any cheese."
Coworkers: "So, there is no meat, no noodles, and no cheese. How exactly is that lasagna?"
Me: ".......... Good point."
The recipe went from the top of my list to something I ultimately put off for the rest of the week. I could not imagine how uncooked veggies with a few other ingredients were going to taste good let alone like lasagna. So, here I was, at the end of the week, on Super Bowl Sunday, left with one recipe to cook ... the antithesis of Super Bowl food ... raw lasagna.
I tried to be positive as I went into it. I haven't thought that I would like half the things I have cooked so far and then I have ended up loving them ... I mean, chickpea cookie dough turning out amazing? Who would have thunk it? So, I just started cooking and tried to keep an open mind. It was kind of fun to prepare ... like putting together a puzzle. I took pics with my new camera every step of the way, so you will see what I mean. Once I was finished, I was quite pleased with how pretty it looked. It was very colorful and pleasing to the eyes. I had fun taking my pictures and such, but I kept hearing my mother's voice in the back of my head saying, "Stop playing with your food and eat it," like she did when I was a kid. I knew my "inner mama" was right, so I sat down and dug in hesitantly. The first bite was good and I liked it. It tasted like a delightful light salad of some sort. My next bite was even better. It tasted richer and succulent, similar to, dare I say ... lasagna. I took another bite, and then another, and another. It was ... delicious. My jaw would have been hanging on the floor if it wasn't so busy chewing the food I was shoveling in my mouth. Then it hit me. Oh my God. It looks like I am turning into one of those people I used to think were loony when they told me how good their healthy food tasted. If you would have told me 6 weeks ago that I would be cooking raw lasagna and eating raw lasagna ... let alone liking it ... I would have laughed in your face. Who is this woman I am becoming? I still have no idea ... But, I think I might actually like her ...
So, fellow Gnawers, give it a shot. I personally can't wait to take my leftovers in to work for lunch tomorrow and show off my spiffy raw lasagna. They are going to wish I had made some for them! All along, I have called this a journey, and it is just that. It is an unfamiliar journey full of twists and turns and things I never expected. It is all new and I have no idea what to expect around each corner. While it may feel unfamiliar, that was precisely why I started this journey in the first place. What had become comfortable and familiar to me before was toxic and damaging the very life I wish to live. So, if that means trying new things such as raw lasagna ... so be it ... I am in this for the long run!
Farm Stand Lasagna (recipe adapted from the Green Lemonade Website)
- For the Kale Pesto
- 2-3 cups curly green kale, stems removed
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
- 4-6 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon pure honey
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon of cracked black pepper (or more to taste)
- For the Tomato Puree
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I like the flavor of the smoked kind which I guess technically makes this not a pure "raw" recipe if you use them)
- 2 teaspoons pure honey
- splash of water
- For the Lasagna
- 1 small zucchini, cut into long, thick strips
- 1 small summer squash, cut with peeler into long thin ribbons
- 1/2 - 1 whole yellow bell pepper, sliced into strips
- 1/2 - 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
2. Put the tomato puree ingredients into the VitaMix or food processor. Blend until you have a slightly chunky puree. Set aside.
3. Arrange zucchini slices lengthwise on a plate.
4. Top zucchini slices with half of the tomato puree.
5. Next, top with half of the fresh basil.
6. Add a layer of summer squash ribbons.
7. Top this with 2/3 of the kale pesto.
8. Next, add the yellow bell pepper slices and the remaining tomato puree.
9. Add the remaining basil and top with remaining kale pesto.
10. Sprinkle with cherry tomatoes.
11. Serve and enjoy!!
I want to share one other thing today. To many, it may seem at though it is not worth sharing, but for me ... it is huge. For nearly two years now, I have had no energy and a lot of pain. This meant that I spent much of my weekends on the couch sleeping or hurting to be honest. This is embarrassing for me and something I have not fully disclosed before. It is just not who I am on the inside, but it is who I had become because of my health issues and limitations. I have been doing more and more and spending less and less time on the couch since I started this whole lifestyle shift six weeks ago. This weekend, I spent nearly all day Saturday and Sunday out and about and on my feet both evenings. Now I have been doing more of that lately, but the key to this weekend is this ... it didn't hurt. It wasn't hard. In fact, I was able to enjoy myself. I walked nearly two miles today on the beach taking pictures with my new camera. I haven't felt that free or at peace in a long time. This is all so much more than about changing my eating habits ... it is about changing my life. It is changing me from the inside out in a way I can't seem to put into words. All I know is this ... I haven't felt this good in a long time and I am extremely grateful. My wish for each of you is that you will find some of this joy in your own journeys, wherever they may be taking you.
Until next time, Gnawers ... thank you for being here along my journey, and keep taking care of you along yours ...