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Lasagna with Roasted Vegetables, Cashew/Ume Topping; Shitake Mushroom/Sundried Tomatos; Tofu "Cheese"

This un-traditional lasagna features several layers - shitake mushrooms and sundried tomatoes, roasted tomatoes with garlic and fresh basil, a "cheese" made of tofu, and a layer of roasted vegetables. It is beautiful to look at and a nice alternative to traditional lasagna. I've served this to company and they said they loved it!

9 lasagna noodles cooked according to directions on the package. (I use Tinkyada rice lasagna noodles, and put a little oil in the pan when boiling. When cooked, drain and spray with olive oil to keep the noodles from sticking together.)

Layer A – Roasted Vegetables
2-3 eggplants
2-3 summer squash
Slice eggplants and place salt between each layer.  Let them sit for 20 minutes. Rinse. Slice the squash and place squash and eggplant on an oiled baking sheet.  Lightly salt.  Drizzle the top with oil.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

Layer B – Roasted Tomatoes
2 cups of grape tomatoes
4-6 cloves garlic
1/2 ounce of fresh chopped basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Olive Oil

Oil the bottom of a baking pan.  Slice the tomatoes in half long-ways.  Arrange in the baking dish.  Peel and slice the garlic and sprinkle on top.  Sprinkle garlic salt and chopped basil on top.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Place in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Layer C – Topping
1 cup cashews
1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar
Place cashews in a glass pie pan in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes.  Drizzle ume vinegar on them when they come out and stir until vinegar has evaporated.  Let cool.  Process cashews in a food processor until they are finely chopped.

Layer D – Shitake Mushrooms / Sun Dried Tomatoes
2 cups dried shitake mushrooms
2 cups of drained sun-dried tomatoes (packed in herb oil)
Place mushrooms in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Mix in 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar.  Let them soak until they are soft.  Remove all stems from the mushrooms (stems are not digestible). Dry mushrooms and place in a food processor with sun-dried tomatoes.  Process in food processor until coarsely chopped. 

Layer E – “Cheese”*
2 cloves of garlic
1 pound of tofu
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons ume plum vinegar
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 oz fresh basil leaves
Mince garlic in food processor.  Add tofu, olive oil, vinegar, yeast and salt.  Process until smooth.  Taste, adjust flavors.  Chop basil on a cutting board.  Add to processor and pulse until incorporated.
*This is a "go to" recipe for "cheese" anytime you need a layer in something such as a relleno casserole. I love this recipe!

In a glass lasagna pan, start lightly spread the shitake mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes in the bottom of the pan (this will prevent sticking). Place three lasagna noodles on top.  Place 1/3 of the tofu cheese on top, following with 1/3 of the roasted tomatoes and 1/3 of the shitake / dried tomatoes and 1/3 of the eggplant and squash.  Place three lasagna noodles on top and repeat two times. Top with ume cashews.  Cover pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Let cool.  Cut and serve.