Here’s the challenge: in a moment of inspiration, you’ve invited some friends over for a refined, yet understated, alfresco dinner party (it seemed like a good idea at the time). You’ve promised an evening of warm summer air, charming company, sparkling conversation, and to-die-for eats.

The problem? You skipped cooking school, spend as little time as possible in the kitchen, and your gourmet speciality comes in a box and is microwavable. In short, you’ve never made any dish from scratch and your knife skills leave plenty to be desired. Panic sets in. Perhaps you didn’t think this elegant supper idea through. There’s still time to cancel, right?

Never fear Here’s a culinary cheat-sheet dish that will wow even your chicest (read: pickiest) of guests. Did I mention it’s vegan, gluten-free, and healthy to boot?

DECONSTRUCTED FRESH HERB RAVIOLI (sounds fancy, eh?)
For vegan ricotta:

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp tahini
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4th cup of nutritonal yeast
  • Salt & pepper to taste

A blender

Drain the tofu. Squeeze it between a cloth towel to get rid of the moisture. Throw everything, including the tofu, into a blender and whip it. Whip it good.

All done! Now, on to the ravioli:

Gluten-free lasagna noodles (quinoa pasta is an excellent choice)
Fresh greens & herbs (choose your favorites: spinach, kale, chives, thyme, lemon basil…)
1 tsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Boil some water and sprinkle in a smidge of salt. Toss in your lasagna noodles and let them cook. Once the pasta is al dente (cooked but not soggy, retains a nutty taste), drain and put to the side.

Cut your large greens (the kale and spinach) into threads. Be sure to set some of the fresh herbs aside for garnishing. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and throw in the ribboned greens and herbs with a bit of salt. Cook until they’ve turned an almost neon green. Remove the skillet from the heat and put to the side.

Take the cooked pasta and slice each noodle in half. Mix the cooked greens in with the ricotta. Pile a healthy helping of the mixture on top of the halved noodle. Sprinkle some of the uncooked herbs on top and voila! You have a plate of food that’s designed to impress. And might I suggest serving your masterpiece with a (tall) glass of organic white wine?

Written by Eva Bloomfield. Eva is a vegan lifestyle bloggers. More of her writing, and recipes, can be found at www.dirtyrottenvegan.com