By Chef Katie Mae
Makes one 9x13 pan (12 pieces) | Ready in 1 hour and 45 minutes
1. Soak the Cashews:
Add cashews to a bowl and cover with 1⁄2 cup of water. This softens them and will lead to a creamier sauce. To minimize dishes add the cashews straight to a small blender or food processor, and soak them in that container. Wait to blend the nuts and water until the lasagna is ready for the cashew cream to be added.
2. Steam Sweet Potatoes and Collards:
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Add 2 inches of water to a large pot and place on stove over medium-high heat. Place a steam basket inside and fill with the chopped sweet potatoes. Cover and let steam for 12 to 15 minutes. When the potatoes are soft, transfer them to a bowl and mash with a potato masher or hand-held blender.
Make sure you still have an inch of water in the pot; add more if you need to. Then add the sliced collards to the steam basket, cover, and steam them for 2 to 4 minutes - just until slightly tender. They will be going in the oven so they don’t need to be fully steamed.
3. Make the tomato sauce:
Pour the strained tomatoes into a medium bowl. Stir in the oregano, basil, garlic granules and paprika. Set aside. One cup of this will be added to the veggie-bean mixture and the rest will be used throughout the lasagna.
4. Cook the noodles:
Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles once the water is boiling. Set a timer for how long the noodles should cook for according to the box. You want them to be slightly al dente and not overcooked because they will be difficult to handle and they will break down more in the oven. When the noodles are done, use tongs to gently transfer them to a plate.
If the timing is right you can place the pasta directly into the casserole pan, according to the order of layers below.
5. Make the veggie-bean layer:
Add the onion, zucchini and corn to a nonstick pan and place over medium heat. Cover the pan and stir occasionally to keep the veggies from sticking. If they start to stick, add a little water as needed. Once the onions are translucent, turn off the heat. Stir in the black-eyed peas and one cup of the tomato sauce that was prepared.
Cover the bottom of a 9x13 inch casserole pan with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of lasagna noodles and cover with sauce. Spread the veggie-bean mix over the sauced noodles. Cover with a second layer of noodles and sauce. Spread out the collard ribbons over the sauce for the next layer. Then cover them with mashed sweet potatoes.
Now it’s time for the cream. Blend the cashews and water until it has a creamy consistency. Drizzle the cashew cream across the potatoes. Add a final layer of noodles, and top with the last of the tomato sauce. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced tomatoes.
Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the ground pecans and return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
If you have a pre-made marinara sauce that can certainly be used instead of making one from scratch. If using a pre-made one feel free to ignore the tomatoes and herbs in the ingredient list. You may still add smoked paprika to your sauce for more of the southern flavor.