Luckily, Dayv offered a pretty interesting suggestion a couple weeks ago- a lasagna-like dish that wasn't lasagna. Kind of obscure and abstract, but I was definitely up to the challenge.
I decided to combine pasta and cheese sauce, then layer it with tomato sauce and shredded cheese. I based the cheese sauce off of the cashew crema in my lasagna recipe in order to keep it more ricotta-like, as opposed to a macaroni and cheese variety.
I had no idea what to expect, but the results were amazing. The shells created little pockets of cheese and tomato sauce throughout the dish, and all of the elements melded perfectly together. It also smelled amazing and reminded me of the baked ziti I grew up eating as a child. Only better.
Vegan cheesy pasta "lasagna" bake
serves four to six
2.5 c dry pasta, gluten-free if necessary (I used shells)
heaping 1 c cashews, soaked for six hours
juice from 1/4 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
pinch of salt
1/2 c water
2-3 c tomato sauce
vegan mozzarella cheese (I used Teese)
Cook pasta according to instructions. While pasta is cooking, combine cashews, lemon juice, olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt, and water in food processor and blend until completely smooth, scraping down the sides when necessary. Drain pasta and then place back into pot. Add cheese mixture and combine until pasta is evenly coated.
Preheat oven to 350. In an 8x8 casserole dish, spread a thin layer of tomato sauce. Next, spread half of the pasta in the dish and cover with tomato sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the other half of the pasta, more tomato sauce and cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and place in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool for about 5 minutes, and serve. Enjoy!