'NO Noodle' Zucchini Lasagna (with Roasted Red Pepper and Cream 'Cheese')

I do not think that carbs (breads,etc.) are the enemy...I just think that too many of them make you more jiggly. I love lasagna, but often feel guilty about all of the carbs that go into it. You can feel better about whole-wheat, but I feel even greater by cutting out the noodles entirely. This lasagna is fun to make, serves just like regular lasagna, but is better for you. You will need to get your hands on vegan cream cheese for this one (which is surprisingly easy to find now). My favorite is "Tofutti" cream cheese, but their are other reputable brands out there. This lasagna has a tomato base, but also a creamy, cheesy layer thanks to the vegan cream cheese and nutritional yeast. It also is layered with roasted red peppers, and has a walnut crumb topping.

Ingredients (serves 6-8):
3 large zucchini's, thinly sliced (it is important to thinly slice them, or else it is difficult to cut. A mandolin works well for this)
sea salt

3 cups Tomato Sauce (or use your favorite thick sauce):
1 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp margarine
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 small red pepper, chopped finely
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (I also like to use several fresh tomatoes)
1 5.5 oz can of tomato paste
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
dash of hot sauce (optional)
pepper to taste

Cheese Layer:
1 container of vegan cream cheese
1 1/2 tsp dried Italian herbs
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup milk alternative
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup arrowroot powder, or thickener
1/4 tsp sea salt
a few grinds of pepper
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

3 roasted red peppers, sliced and patted dry with a towel

Walnut Crumb (you can also use an Italian bread crumb):
2 cups chopped walnuts
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp dried Italian herbs
1/4 tsp sea salt
a few grinds of pepper

1) For the zucchini slices, sprinkle both sides of the slices with sea salt and pepper, and set aside in a colander (for at least 1 hour). You will notice some of the liquids will release, and once this has happened, pat dry with a towel. 
2) For the tomato sauce, in a medium saucepan, saute oil, margarine and onions over medium heat. Stir periodically for about 5 minutes, or until the onion begins to caramelize. Add garlic and red pepper, and saute for an additional minute. Add all other ingredients and let simmer for about 15 minutes. If you like a thinner sauce, you can blend the sauce in a blender or processor until smooth, but I prefer mine slightly chunky.
3) For the cheese layer, Place all of the ingredients together in a pot (aside from the arrowroot powder, and roasted red pepper), stir and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the arrowroot powder, and stir until thickened. Set aside, with the red peppers.   
4) For the walnut crumb, process all ingredients together until a fine crumb mixture is made.
5) To assemble, place a 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on to the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish. Layer 1/3 of the zucchini on top, followed by 1/2 of the cheese mixture, 1/2 of the roasted red pepper slices,  1/3 of the remaining tomato sauce. Layer 1/3 of the zucchini slices, followed by 1/2 of the cheese mixture, final 1/2 of the roasted red peppers, 1/3 of the remaining tomato sauce, and 1/2 of the couscous. Finish with the remaining zucchini slices, and tomato sauce, then sprinkle with the walnut crumb. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, covered with foil. Bake for an additional 30 minutes, uncovered, or until it is nice and bubbly, and the zucchini has softened. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes (it helps any excess liquid absorb into the zucchini), slice, and enjoy!

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