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Sweet Potato Lasagna/Banana Bread Muffins
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christopher575
I'd put off trying the Forks Over Knives Sweet Potato Lasagna because it has so many ingredients and steps, would take forever to make, and leave a ton of dirty dishes. But it was time to make something new, and it sounded so good. I had a can of Trader Joe's marinara that had been in the cabinet for a long time, and figured if I used that, I could save myself from having to wash a blender or food processor, plus all the time it would take to cook up the sauce from the recipe. I also didn't want to make a special trip to possibly several stores to try to find rice lasagna noodles, so I substituted regular no-boil noodles. Not 100% vegan, of course, but again, I saved another pot and strainer from having to be washed.

As is usually the case with a big complicated recipe, there were other changes and substitutions. I had to settle for red chard instead of rainbow chard because that's what I could find at the store. And honestly, I'll probably use kale or just double the spinach if I make it again. Chard is big and unwieldy, filthy and hard to clean, and only lends the slightest flavor variation. I also made a lot more of the cashew cheese than the recipe calls for, and found that it was barely enough as I was spreading it in the pan.

Another dish-saving shortcut I took was to microwave the sweet potatoes in a bunch of stock in a bowl in the microwave instead of steaming them in a pan. Several chunks were pretty tough and difficult to mash, so completely submerging all the chunks in stock or water would have helped a lot.

As I put it in the oven, I thought, this better be really good. It's a bummer when you put a lot of work and money into a recipe and it's only so-so or even bad. Thankfully, it's great!

Forks Over Knives Sweet Potato Lasagna

It even sliced perfectly. I'll revisit this recipe for sure.

Forks Over Knives Sweet Potato Lasagna

If anyone ever wanted to get into vegan cooking, I'd have a couple of warnings. A lot of the recipes require advance prep time, like soaking dates or cashews for at least a couple of hours, and you often need extremely ripe bananas. I've bought tons of bananas lately because I like them pretty green, Garrett likes them pretty ripe, and if they're almost black, they're perfect for recipes. Thankfully you can peel those and freeze them if they're ready but you don't need them yet. But you also don't want a huge frozen banana backlog, especially when you need your freezer for frozen portions of other recipes.

I've been very happy with my granola for breakfast, which also requires ripe bananas, but I figured I'd mix it up a bit and try banana bread again. I made this vegan banana bread before, but left out the soy yogurt because I didn't have any and didn't want to look for it. It was fine. But I happened to find soy yogurt while I was at WinCo! They didn't have plain, so I got blueberry, which is perfect for banana bread anyway. These turned out great.

Vegan banana muffins

I used AlsoSalt in these, which is a salt substitute I discovered by reading the label on the low sodium ketchup I've been buying. Cutting sodium is the main reason I started eating a lot of vegan recipes, but it didn't have a huge impact and I've started a prescription that'll hopefully help. In the process, I ended up with three different salt substitutes, all of which I can't stand on their own. Oddly, they work pretty well in recipes, and especially well in something like this where a hint of salty flavor that gives way to sweet is what you want.

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You actually don't have to wait for bananas to ripen before tossing them in the freezer. They ripen as they freeze:

http://www.epicurious.com/expert-advice/tricks-for-how-to-ripen-bananas-article

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