Upo is a vegetable that I have found to be very underused. It is normally stir fried with other vegetables or bits of pork, beef or shrimp or added to tinola or other soups. One day, I was thinking about the texture of the humble upo. When stir fried and in a soup it retains water. However, what would happen if the water would be taken out of it? The result was a somewhat gummy- not hard, a little crunchy and very dense. Something that would hold a baked dish up well. I cut the upo in half first, then made thin slices- sheets that would be the ‘lasasgne’ and the rest, is delicious history.
Building this lasagne takes a little more time because you need to make all the sauces separately. I suggest making these in big batches so that you always have a stock of it in your fridge- they are all so versatile and can be used with anything!
Unlike a regular lasagne, I did not make a bechamel sauce for the vegan version, which is what is in this recipe. However, you can always make one- vegan- out of a vegan cheese and almond milk. You can also use real cheese and make a real bechamel sauce and it will be delicious! However for the purpose of this recipe, I did a fully plant based version, so that anyone can appreciate it and adjust the cheese level to their own liking! Instead of ‘cheese’ I used a mixture of home made hummus and home made cashew cheese to add to the flavours and textures. The hummus I make is loved by friends and family and is a little different because I don’t use tahini. It’s texture is soft and buttery.I also make use of the pesto kangkong to add dimension to the lasagne. Get the recipe here. The beauty of this recipe is that it makes use of upo in a new way, and anyone can adjust the sauce to their liking. Please share how you made this recipe and enjoyed it in your own way!
- 1 whole upo
- 8 pc tomato, chopped
- 1 garlic clove separated
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
- 1 1/4 to 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 cup garbanzo beans, boiled and soaked
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/4 cup kangkong pesto
Peel the entire upo.
Cut it in half, widthwise.
Starting from the outermost part, thinly slice it, working your way to the core.
The middle part may have lots of seeds, you will notice the fleshy part get less. You can discard these slices and only make use of the parts with no seeds, or very few seeds.
Lay out the tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet and sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper .
Roast for 30 minutes in the oven at 325 degrees.
Blend together in a blender or food processor.
Blend the soaked cashews and almond milk and adjust to the desired consistency by adding more milk. Add the nutritional yeast.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Blend together the garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and garbanzo beans and adjust the taste with salt. You can also add more garlic for a punchy taste.
Grease a baking container with olive oil.
Lay down the first sheets of upo, covering the bottom of the pan.
Layer with the hummus, cashew cheese, pesto, tomato sauce.
Repeat until you use up all the upo sheets. You'll notice water from the upo at the bottom of the pan, but don't worry!
For the top layer, put the cashew cheese last, so when it bakes, it forms a crunchy crust which will taste like parmesan cheese!
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, checking that the top layer does not burn. You may add time if there is still lots liquid from the upo that is at the bottom of the pan.
Serve and enjoy!