HHL_july14_05Topped on pizza, drizzled on nachos and placed on crackers, cheese has become a staple in the American diet. Unfortunately, there are downsides to adding this popular ingredient to your snacks and meals. 

The Healthiest Lasagna Recipe You’ll Ever Try

Let’s Cut to the Cheese

Though flavorful, consuming cheese – much like consuming any dairy product – can have detrimental effects on our health. Let’s take a look:

  • Cheese contributes to large amounts of fat and cholesterol in your diet. If you’re consuming too much fat or cholesterol, it can lead to weight gain, heart disease, as well as some forms of cancer.
  • Cheese also contains high amounts of sodium. Too much sodium can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure.
  • Cheese is high in calories, thus eating too much can contribute to obesity. 

Cashing in on the Cashews

In place of conventional cheese, there are many plant-based, dairy-free alternatives, like cashew cheese. Made from cashews, cashew cheese won’t leave with you the health risks that traditional cheese does. Instead, it will enhance your health in the following ways (via Dr. Mercola) :

  • Good source of magnesium. This mineral have been found to reduce the frequency of migraines, improve cognitive ability, and lower blood pressure, which can prevent heart attacks.
  • Cashews are also rich in copper, which contain antioxidants that protect the body from free radical damage.
  • Together, magnesium and copper contribute to bone health.
  • Unlike traditional cheeses, cashews contain zero cholesterol. In addition, the fat content found in cashews is of the healthy kind.

The best part is, making your own cashew cheese is extremely easy. You’ll save money by making large amounts of cheese right in your own home rather than emptying your wallet for a small block of sharp cheddar.

Read next: Why You Should Be Eating More Cashews

This recipe is shared with permission from our friends at foodmatters.tv.

Dairy-Free Zucchini Lasagne with Cashew Cheese

vegan-zucchini-lasagne

Whether you’re a vegan or not, there is no denying that this meat-free zucchini lasagne is packing some flavor! 

Time: 35-45 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:

For Cashew Cheese…

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight) 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice 
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast 
  • Sea salt 
  • Pepper 
  • ½ cup filtered water 

For Tomato Layer…

  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste  
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano 
  • Salt & Pepper to taste 

For Layering… 

  • 5-6 zucchini, thinly sliced or use mandoline 
  • 3 cups baby spinach 
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved 

Instructions:

  1. Prepare cashew cheese in high-speed blender or food processor by adding all ingredients and processing until smooth and creamy. 
  2. Prepare tomato sauce layer in the food processor by adding all ingredients and processing until smooth. 
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (180ºC). 
  4. To assemble lasagne, start by creating a layer of zucchini strips on bottom, followed by a layer of halved cherry tomatoes, tomato sauce, spinach and cashew cheese. 
  5. Repeat until all ingredients are used, ideally finishing with a layer of cashew cheese.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown on top and zucchini layers are soft. 

If you like this recipe as much as we do, check out these Vegetarian Friendly Lunch Recipes and this Stuffed Zucchini Recipe, too!

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/460693-effects-of-cheese-on-body/

http://foodfacts.mercola.com/cashews.html

foodmatters.tv

Image Sources:

http://www.foodmatters.com/media/uploads/images/recipes/vegan-zucchini-lasagne.jpg

http://www.fullofbeans.us/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Vegan-GlutenFree-Zucchini-Lasagne-Plated.jpg

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