Monday, June 10, 2013

Beef & Veggie Lasagna with Zucchini & Cashew Cheeze

Beef & Veggie Lasagna with Zucchini & Cashew Cheeze

I really love that so many recipes can be tweaked based on the ingredients, produce and spices that we have on hand at home.  Many of my original recipes are made differently each time because I may not have a particular spice or vegetable.  I encourage you to use my recipes as a base or starting point for your meals...but make any changes based on your family's needs or what you have available.  That's not to say that you can't make it exactly as posted.  Either way, I'm sure it'll be amazing!!

I knew that I was going to use zucchini for the noodles and organic ground beef for the filling.  I wasn't sure what else I was going to add, so this recipe was built as I was preparing dinner last night.

There will be picture overload following the body of this post.  I love adding step by step pictures because so many of us learn visually.  Seeing each step can help less confident cooks to really visualize what their meal will look like during each phase of the recipe.

Enough chatter from me.  Here's the recipe for Beef & Veggie Lasagna with Zucchini & Cashew Cheeze.

View of one serving, from the side

3 medium zucchini
1 small yellow squash
3 cippolini onions
5 white or baby bella mushrooms
3/4 lb organic (grass-fed, no hormones added) ground beef
1 recipe Cashew Cheeze (click HERE and scroll to bottom for recipe)
1/2 bunch kale
2 avocados, sliced
chili sauce
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp taco or Mexican seasoning mix
1-2T coconut oil

First, prepare the Cashew Cheeze sauce and set aside (pic 2).  Wash and slice your zucchini lengthwise (pic 4).  I used a knife rather than a slicer or mandolin so mine were not quite the same thickness...but they still worked just fine.  Steam the zucchini slices for about 8 minutes until they begin to look translucent (pic 11).  While those are steaming, dice your squash, mushrooms & onions and saute in coconut oil in a large shallow pan until browned - add some chili sauce here if you'd like (pic 6).  Remove from pan, set aside and add chopped kale to the pan.  Cook for a few minutes until it turns bright green then remove from pan and set aside (pic 10).  Next, add the ground beef to the pan and stir until cooked through.  (I like to reuse the same pan for everything because it cuts back on cleaning dishes later!)  Add taco seasoning, to your liking to lightly season the beef (pic 7).  The rest of the spices still need to be added so don't overdo it with the just yet.

In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef and sauteed veggies.  Sprinkle the cumin, sea salt & garlic powder and mix well (pic 8).  Taste it now - if you want more spice, add more.  Line a rectangular baking dish with non-stick foil or spray well.  Add one layer of steamed zucchini "noodles" to the bottom of the dish (pic 12).  Next, layer the beef/veggie mixture (pic 13).  After that, add the kale (pic 14).  Next, add the avocado slices (pic 16).  Spread some of the Cashew Cheeze over the avocado and add the final layer of zucchini "noodles" (pics 17 & 18).  I added more Cashew Cheeze sauce and a drizzle of chili sauce to the top (pic 19).  Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes.  Let cool a bit before serving.  Enjoy!!

1. The makings for Cashew Cheeze sauce (I added a little chili sauce too)

2. Cashew Cheeze sauce, after blending.  Mine was very thin - I added extra water.  It really thickens up during cooking - keep that in mind!

3. Three medium, relatively same size, zucchini

4. Zucchini - sliced and ready to steam

5. Diced squash, mushrooms & onion (I added a little extra zucchini too)

6. Sauteed veggies with chili sauce

7. Browned ground beef with taco seasoning

8. Ground beef & veggie mixture

9. Lacinato ("elephant") kale from my garden

10. Chopped kale cooking in coconut oil

11. Steamed zucchini "noodles"

12. First layer - Baking dish lined with zucchini "noodles"

13. Second layer - ground beef & sauteed veggie mixture

14. Third layer - chopped, sauteed kale

15. Slice avocados lengthwise in half and remove pit with large knife.  Slice the avocados lengthwise.  Scoop out with a large spoon and separate the slices.

16. Fourth layer - add sliced avocado

17. Fifth layer - Cashew Cheeze sauce

18. Top layer - more zucchini "noodles"

19. Top layer with added Cashew Cheeze & chili sauce

20. After baking - looks SO GOOD!

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