kalamata garlic bechamel lasagna for Megan

by Kristina Sloggett

in Dinner,Gluten Free,recipes,Vegan

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She was an employee who became a friend.

She was a friend I looked up to – for she had confidence and strength and made every thing fun.

We had sleep overs. We watched Wizard of Oz with the Pink Floyd soundtrack. We helped hide doughnuts all over a bar one night, in plants and behind liquor bottles, laughing the whole time.

We lived within walking distance, and one snowy turned icy night, I had to wear her golf cleats on my walk home, so I wouldn’t slide down our hill.

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Megan had a smile that went for miles, welcoming to everyone. A sense of humor both whimsical and wacky. Wearing tattoos both beautiful and powerful, Megan was an inspirational warrior for many.

Last Friday, this beautiful friend of many lost her hard fought battle of many years with cancer. She leaves us with broken hearts and wonderful lasting memories.

That snowy night with the golf shoes, we had lasagna for dinner.

Megan, I made this lasagna for you.

kalamata garlic lasagna

kalamata garlic bechamel lasagna

dairy, egg, soy and gluten free, vegan

makes 9 x 11 pan of lasagna

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 pounds fresh roma tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1 package lasagna noodles (I use these – gluten free)
garlic cashew bechamel sauce (recipe follows)
7 ounces jack cheese, sliced

Prepare cashew bechamel sauce (see recipe below).

In large saucepan over medium heat, saute onion, garlic and oregano in olive oil. As the onion softens, add tomatoes, tomato paste and kalamata olives to food processor and pulse a few times, to a chunky tomato sauce (puree completely for a smooth sauce consistency). 

Add tomato kalamata mixture to saucepan with onion – combine completely. Remove from heat and begin lasagna layering assembly:

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Spread a layer of bechamel in lasagna pan. Top with noodles, add more bechamel, then cheese, then marinara, then cheese. Repeat for a four layer lasagna.

Cover with foil (especially important if using no-boil pasta noodles) and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes, to set – you get even slices of lasagna layers this way.

garlic cashew bechamel sauce

1/2 cup raw cashews
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups almond milk, divided
4 tablespoons butter (Earth Balance soy free)
4 tablespoons gluten free all purpose flour
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon sea salt 

In high speed blender or food processor, process cashews and minced garlic until crumbly. Add 1 cup milk while processing, until a smooth cashew cream forms – this will be much thinner than traditional cashew cream.

In saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to darken in color – a light tan. Continue to stir while adding cashew milk. Mixture will thicken. Whisk in remaining two cups milk, and the salt and nutmeg, remove from heat. 

kalamata lasagna

Rest in peace, Megan girl – you are so very loved and celebrated.

 

{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Miz December 18, 2012 at 2:35 am

this is such a beautiful tribute to your friend.
and it makes me feel even more honored today to call you friend.

hugs.

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2 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

the honor is mine as well, dear!

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3 Jane Plass December 18, 2012 at 3:06 am

I’m so sorry for your loss. What wonderful memories of your friend!

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4 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

thank you, Jane.

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5 Abby December 18, 2012 at 4:19 am

I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. Unfortunately, cancer knows no bounds and there is no sense to make of the victims–both those who are sick and those who suffer their loss. However, you had a light in your life that you appreciated while she was here. Take comfort in those memories!

On a food note, holy yum. I’ve been craving lasagna lately, but no one carries Amy’s vegan soy-free lasagna so I had to special order it and I’m waiting…ugh!

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6 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I do – cancer has taken more loved ones than necessary from my life – I do celebrate them all.

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7 Heather (Where's the Beach) December 18, 2012 at 5:15 am

This dish sounds incredible just like your friend. Thank you for sharing a little bit about her.

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8 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm

thank you <3

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9 Heather @girlichef December 18, 2012 at 5:21 am

What a beautiful tribute – and this lasagna sounds beyond amazing. And oh my garsh, memories (pf w/ wiz of oz…love!). :)

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10 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:19 pm

thank you Heather – thinking back on old memories was nice.

*so good to see you here, btw – I was just thinking about you the other day! I want to find time for food ‘n flix again this year… XO

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11 Tommy December 18, 2012 at 5:30 am

Beautiful tribute to a wonderful person – my prayers and comfort to all.

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12 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

<3

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13 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) December 18, 2012 at 5:36 am

Oh Kris, my heart is so heavy for you and those she left behind. She sounds like an amazing soul. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. Many hugs to you!

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14 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm

thank you, dear. so many hugs back to you XO

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15 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 18, 2012 at 6:28 am

Kris… I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. She sounds like a beautiful soul. Xoxo

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16 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm

thanks, Laura – she most definitely was, beautiful in every way.

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17 Caroline December 18, 2012 at 6:33 am

This is a wonderful tribute, Kris. The world was a better place with your friend, and with you. This lasagna must have been a comfort, it sounds unique and flavorful. Bless, CD

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18 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm

the world was absolutely a better place with her! thank you Caroline, your words always bring comfort.

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19 Jess December 18, 2012 at 9:44 am

aw friend, Megan sounds like a wonderful beautiful soul — I am so sorry for your loss my friend. xo.

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20 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm

she absolutely was <3

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21 lisa fine December 18, 2012 at 10:28 am

Beautiful post, Kristina. There is far too much loss in the world.

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22 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

agreed, Lisa. it has been so much lately. we all deserve a better year coming.

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23 Heather @ Better With Veggies December 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

What a beautiful way to memorialize your friend, you have such a kind heart. I’m so sorry for your loss. :(

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24 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

she was such an amazing person, nothing could come close to being as great – we enjoyed the lasagna and I hold the memories dear…

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25 Lora @cakeduchess December 18, 2012 at 10:38 am

I love this tribute to your sweet friend. Comfort food is so needed these days. I’m truly sorry you lost such a special person. Your lasagne looks incredible. xoxox

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26 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm

thank you, Lora. yep – lately it has been all about comfort – with food, everything.

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27 Hannah-lyz December 18, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I’m so so sorry to hear about your loss. Nothing I could say could help, but just know I’m sending my wishes, and how lovely it was to hear those little snippets of your friendship. She was lucky to have a friend like you.
All the best x Take care hun x

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28 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:53 am

thank you SO MUCH, my friend. it was nice to recall the fun memories.

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29 jobo December 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm

This brought tears to my eyes. What a perfectly put tribute and meal made with love and honor. You have such a big heart. I hope we can meet one day. And I am so sorry about your friend, that is so very sad. ((hug))

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30 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:52 am

we WILL meet one day, my dear. big hugs to you, thank you for giving me a smile today. XO

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31 Lisa December 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Oh, this post made me choke up…What a beautiful tribute. I am so sorry for your loss.

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32 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:46 am

thank you, Lisa – much appreciated. cheers to you.

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33 Alyssa (Everyday Maven) December 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm

I am so sorry about your loss Kristina :(

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34 Jeanette December 18, 2012 at 6:12 pm

I am so sorry to hear about your friend Kristina. I really enjoyed reading about your fond memories hanging out with her.

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35 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

thank you, Jeanette – it was nice to reflect, the memories made my heart smile.

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36 Kim - Liv Life December 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Oh, Kristina… Your beautiful post has brought me to tears. It’s been a tough season, hasn’t it? We lost a friend last week with a similar battle. It’s just so hard. I’m sending extra prayers for you and for her family.

Beautiful lasagna, and I”m loving that photo that changes!

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37 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:38 am

it has been an extremely tough and trying season, for sure. sending love and prayers your way, as well – to you and those affected by the passing of your friend. XO

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38 Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom December 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm

what a beautiful post and tribute for your friend. . :) so beautiful. . thank you for sharing.

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39 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:37 am

thank you, Alice – I appreciate you reading – cheers.

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40 Shirley @ gfe December 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Such a beautiful tribute, Kristina. I am so very sorry for your loss.

xo,
Shirley

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41 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:37 am

thank you again, my friend – I appreciate you so. XO

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42 Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) December 19, 2012 at 6:42 am

Aww, I’m sure Megan is enjoying this lasagna! Such a sweet and thoughtful thing to do.

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43 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:36 am

I enjoyed making it in celebration of an exceptional person!

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44 Allie December 19, 2012 at 6:46 am

You make the most lovely & touching memory posts! Megan sounds like an amazing friend, and I’m sorry you had to lose her. But there will always be memories via lasagna! And what more could a friend ask for?

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45 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:35 am

many wonderful memories to celebrate her <3

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46 Cathy @ Noble Pig December 19, 2012 at 9:06 am

This sounds so over the top amazing…I am so sorry for your loss. What a great way to remember.

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47 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

I had to make something so rich in flavor, to match such a rich personality.

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48 Marya@parttimehealthnut.com December 19, 2012 at 10:05 am

Sounds like a beautiful woman and friendship. This dish is an amazing tribute. I’m pinning it for winter cooking. Namaste, Marya

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49 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:33 am

she was incredibly beautiful – in every way. I hope you enjoy.

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50 Richa December 19, 2012 at 11:28 am

I am so sorry Kris. This lasagna is a wonderful tribute.

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51 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:32 am

thank you, Richa.

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52 Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family December 19, 2012 at 11:55 am

The lasagna is as beautiful as the sentiment behind it.

I am so sorry for the loss of your friend, but so happy for her that her suffering has ended.

My your soul be at peace.

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53 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:32 am

thank you, Rachel. I too am comforted knowing she is no longer suffering. She will be missed, she will be celebrated!

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54 tamara December 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Such a lovely tribute to your friend. This post broke my heart and made me teary. I’m sorry for your loss.

The lasagna also looks wonderful.

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55 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:28 am

thank you, Tamara.

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56 Laura (Tutti Dolci) December 19, 2012 at 10:02 pm

What a beautiful tribute to your friend. I’m so sorry for your loss, praying that you experience peace in this time! Your lasagna looks wonderful!

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57 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 11:28 am

thank you so much, Laura – your words mean a lot right now.

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58 Roz@weightignfor50 December 20, 2012 at 10:34 am

Hi Kris, I am so, so sad for the loss of your wonderful friend. What a beautiful tribute to her. I have no other words but am sending a HUGE ‘cross border’ hug to you!

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59 Kristina Sloggett December 20, 2012 at 10:52 am

thanks so much, Roz. the world lost a truly good person in Megan.

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60 Jackie @ Vegan Yack Attack! December 20, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Aw, Kristina, I saw your post on FB the other day and it saddened me. I am so sorry for your loss, it sounds like the world lost an amazing person. This is a great tribute to her, and I’m glad that you two shared what you could while she was with us. Sending big hugs your way!

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61 Kristina Sloggett December 21, 2012 at 11:07 am

thank you, Jackie. some really fun memories with a wonderful friend – it was nice to look back.

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62 kathy December 28, 2012 at 10:25 am

Hi Kristina, I am Abby’s mom and I am just visiting your site for the first time and I have to tell you how sorry I am for your loss. She sounds like a wonderful, fun friend. Congrats on yur new ‘baby’. and p.s. the lasagna looks yummy even though I am not vegan. Happy New Year!

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63 Kristina Sloggett December 29, 2012 at 4:36 pm

thank you, Kathy – I appreciate it.

and thank you – we are enjoying the new pup, getting acquainted and used to each other :) happy new year to you as well – cheers!

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64 paula December 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm

just put this together.. don’t usually make lasagna with a creamy sauce, but giving it a try. the bechemel was a bit runny. tried to add more flour. maybe next time less milk?”? and directions please? 350 for 45?
not noted anywhere!

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65 Kristina Sloggett December 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm

hi Paula,

sorry about that – here are the cooking directions I just updated the recipe with:

Cover with foil (especially important if using no-boil pasta noodles) and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes, to set – you get even slices of lasagna layers this way.

I’m not sure why the bechamel was thin – I have made this many times and it is always thick (especially with the added cashews). Less milk would definitely work.

I hope you enjoy the lasagna.

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66 paula December 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

it was divine! i used soy milk, but that shoudln’t make a difference..i will try it again..LOVED IT! haven’t ever made vegan lasagna, but excited to make this for a dinner party..thanks! we have a new baby here. a lab/pit mix who was supposed to be 35 lbs. that how she was posted. she had been at the shelter too long.. her time was up. she is NOW 60#! they didn’t update their info. OY
wanna trade?

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67 Kristina Sloggett December 30, 2012 at 9:59 am

haa – no thank you on the trade! we are used to the small long dogs around here… you know, I grew up with dachshunds, then my first dog on my own in college was a HUGE Alaskan Samoyed! he was taller than me on hind legs! such a change, but it was fun. now I’m back to doxies ;)

I’m glad you liked the lasagna – cheers to you!

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68 C R December 29, 2012 at 6:03 pm

Hugs to you Kristina. You seem like you were a good friend to her.

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69 Needful Things January 5, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Sorry for your loss. This is a lovely tribute to your friend.
I’m intrigued by your bechamel sauce and really want to try it out. I’ve had to go dairy-free for months (it’s hopefully temporary!) and even though it’s challenging to find alternatives/alternative ingredients where I am located I love it when I come across a recipe like this which makes it easy for me to finally have that creamy lasagne I’ve been craving for ages… Thanks for sharing.

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70 Kristina Sloggett January 5, 2013 at 11:12 pm

cashews give such a rich flavor, they make a good bechamel – enjoy!!

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