Favorite Springtime Meals

By Lori Rodgers –

Vegan spinach lasagna
Garlic bread
Green salad with vinaigrette  

Vegan Spinach Lasagna

Photo Credit: www.thefoodnetwork.com

My family  recently moved into a home I remodeled and not all of the work was completed by moving day. Shocking, right? Wanting to cook a hot meal without the ability to boil water, I found no-boil lasagna noodles and adapted a recipe for vegan stuffed shells that was one of my daughter’s favorites. Making lasagne or any baked pasta dish without cheese or eggs seemed pointless to me at first. However, a bit of web surfing uncovered a plethora of dairy free recipes, including  an unusual way to make “ricotta cheese”. Even though I am not vegan, I couldn’t stop eating this stuff! Read on and see how it’s done.



1 box no boil lasagne

I jar marinara sauce

I bag frozen spinach

I package veggie “sausage”

2 cups raw cashews

Juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon sea salt



  1. First, prepare the “ricotta cheese” by soaking the cashews in water overnight. If you are in a hurry you can soak them for one hour in hot water. After soaking, drain and place cashews in a blender or food processor. Add the lemon juice and sea salt and blend, scraping down sides of the bowl as you blend.
  1. Defrost and drain the spinach, squeezing the excess water. Combine the cashew mixture and the spinach and set aside.
  1. Crumble the veggie sausage and mix with 2/3 of the jar of marinara sauce.
  1. Spread ¼ cup marinara in the bottom of a large baking pan. Begin layering the noodles, sausage mixture and cashew “cheese”. You will have enough filling for three layers. Finish with a layer of noodles and ¼ cup marinara. Be sure to cover noodles completely with the sauce. Otherwise they will crisp as you bake them.
  1. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Feeds a crowd!


PS If you don’t tell anyone this is a vegan or dairy-free recipe, chances are they won’t notice.


Vegan-friendly Garlic Bread

Photo Credit: www.thefoodnetwork.com

The Cuban bread from the Publix bakery does not contain dairy, eggs, or enzymes so it is vegan. I slice it and spread with melted vegan butter mixed with minced garlic. Layer the slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and pop it in a 400 degree oven for 5-7 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn’t burn. Serve immediately.


Green Salad

I usually have fresh salad greens in the refrigerator. Use what is on hand or choose one of my favorites,  butter lettuce. Toss with a light vinaigrette. This is a perfect complement to the pasta and bread.


Lori Rodgers – Lori’s passion for food and fine dining began at an early age. She started reading Gourmet at 8, and was fortunate to have a father who included her in his travels to cites across the US, often frequenting restaurants she had read about in the magazine. After studying hotel and restaurant management at FSU for two years and thoroughly enjoying the summer program in Switzerland, she graduated with a degree in International Business with a minor in Spanish. Lori owned and operated the family business, Bert Rodgers Schools of Real Estate for 25 years, indulging her cooking hobby by whipping up meals for family and friends on the weekends. She has two teenagers who have adopted a vegan lifestyle, adding a new challenge to Lori’s cooking repertoire. Lori recently sold the business and is embarking on a new chapter and new career, returning to her true calling, cooking and exploring the multifaceted world of food!
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