fresh no ads
Plant-based food advocate shares Upo Lasagna recipe |

Food and Leisure

Plant-based food advocate shares Upo Lasagna recipe

Dolly Dy-Zulueta -
Plant-based food advocate shares Upo Lasagna recipe
Upo Lasagna by plant-based advocate Juana Manahan-Yupangco
Solane Kitchen Moments

MANILA, Philippines — Think healthy, vegan and plant-based food, and one of the first people who will come to mind is Mesa ni Misis founder Juana Manahan-Yupangco.

She is not just the daughter of her famous dad, director and talent manager Johnny Manahan. Manahan-Yupangco is known for advocating healthy living by cooking and eating plant-based food. She has discovered the secret of healthy living and is sharing her "discoveries" with everyone via Mesa ni Misis, her online platform for plant-based recipes and healthy living.

“I think cooking is my love language. When I want to reach out to a friend or loved one, I often cook something for them, as I really take time to make something that will bring them comfort and joy when eating it,” said the plant-based food advocate at the Solane Kitchen Moments, a cooking/talk show on YouTube.

Manahan-Yupangco began her plant-based journey when her husband had a health scare from having high cholesterol. She switched the family’s diet to plant-based in an attempt to reverse the condition and make everyone eat healthier food. She never looked back.

After learning about the lifestyle, she started creating plant-based recipes, including her famous Upo Lasagna and her favorite travel find, Chiang Mai Salad. She talked about both dishes and shared the recipe of Upo Lasagna during her guesting on the YouTube cooking show.

The cheesy Upo Lasagna is actually one of her first original plant-based dishes, and it is a big hit among family and friends during potlucks. Aside from going vegan, she goes a step further with her advocacy, sourcing only ingredients that are available in the country. In the show, she used only sitaw, sigarilyas and okra to make her favorite Thai appetizer, Chiang Mai Salad. 

Now, with a nonprofit organization that advocates for plant-based nutrition and a cookbook published last year, Manahan-Yupangco is doing her best to share the magic of healthy eating through her recipes — and her followers appreciate it very much.

“Plant-based cooking is slowly becoming more mainstream, and being supported by iconic brands like Solane really shows that they believe in what I do, and that plant-based cooking can be taken to a larger audience,” she said.



1 pc. whole upo

8 pcs. tomatoes, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup raw cashew nuts, soaked

1/4 to 1/2 cup almond milk

1 tbsp. nutritional yeast

2 cloves garlic, chopped

Juice of 1 pc. lemon

1/2 cup olive oil

1 cup garbanzos (chickpeas), soaked and boiled

1/2 cup kangkong pesto


1.     For the upo: Peel the entire upo. Cut in half, widthwise. Starting from the outermost part, make thin slices, working your way to the core.

2.     The middle part may have lots of seeds, while the fleshy part has less. You can discard these slices and make use of only the parts with no seeds or very few seeds.

3.     For the roasted tomato sauce: Lay out the tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes in pre-heated 325 degrees Fahrenheit oven. Transfer to blender and process until chunky fine. Set aside.

4.     For the cashew cheese: Blend soaked cashews and almond milk, and adjust to desired consistency by adding more milk. Add nutritional yeast. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

5.     For the hummus: Blend together garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and garbanzos. Season with salt. You can also add garlic, if desired.

6.     To assemble: Grease a baking dish with olive oil, and make a base layer of upo slices, covering the entire bottom of the baking dish. Layer with hummus, cashew cheese, pesto and roasted tomato sauce. Repeat until you finish all the upo sheets. You will notice water from the upo at the bottom of the pan. Do not worry. The top layer should be cashew cheese so that when baked, the cheese forms a crunchy crust that tastes like Parmesan cheese. Bake in a preheated 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 30 minutes, checking regularly to make sure the top layer does not burn. You may add more baking time if there is still a lot of liquid from the upo at the bottom of the baking dish.

7.    Enjoy!

RELATED: Johnny Manahan's daughter Juana advocates healthy eating in new cook book

vuukle comment





Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with