Vegan Lasagna is a flavorful and hearty dish that’s packed with protein. Yes, it is vegan but even meat lovers will enjoy it! It’s layered with tender noodles, cashew ricotta cheese, marinara, spinach, and topped with mozzarella cheese.
The recipe can be found here.
The ricotta cheese is thick, creamy, and is a great recipe to use in lasagna, pasta, pizza, and more. I was skeptical when making the ricotta because this was my first attempt, but it did not disappoint. I didn’t know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised and admittedly didn’t know vegan cheese could taste this good! It was also very easy to make and only requires a few ingredients, most of which are pantry staples if you lead a vegan lifestyle. It has a lovely texture and amazing cheese flavor.
The mozzarella is stretchy, creamy, and very smooth. It’s a wonderful substitute to dairy mozzarella! The base of the mozzarella is cashews so there is a slightly nutty flavor, but you’ll be amazed how similar it tastes to dairy mozzarella. Same as the ricotta, I was skeptical to make the mozzarella because I didn’t know how it would turn out. Would it be stretchy? Would the flavor come through? Would I have a blob of dough that doesn’t resemble cheese? But it worked! So, trust me, give it a try!
I do recommend using the mozzarella shortly after making. You can store it in the fridge if you are making the cheese ahead of time, but it won’t have the stretchy texture it has when freshly made. You can bring some of the “stretch” back by reheating on the stove while stirring constantly.
I cooked up a batch of red lentils and added them to the marinara sauce. You can skip this step and just use marinara sauce out of the jar, but I liked the added texture. They mush up when cooked and are easy to mix in, so you are left with more of a chunky marinara and less of a “bean” taste and texture.
The recipe can be found here.
Now let’s talk about actually making the lasagna! Start by preparing the sauce. If you are adding the lentils to the marinara, follow this step but if you aren’t adding the lentils, skip this step. Add 1 cup of dried red lentils and 3 cups of water to a medium pot. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for about 15 minutes. Drain the lentils, then place in a large mixing bowl with both jars of marinara sauce. Mix well and set aside.
Next, you want to make the ricotta cheese. Open the container of tofu and drain the water. I like to line a plate with a few paper towels and place the tofu on top. I then use a few paper towels to pat dry the tofu. You don’t need to squeeze liquid out of the tofu, you just want it dried from being in the package.
Add the cashews to a food processor and blend on low until the cashews are very fine pieces. You can use any cashews you can find at the store. I used salted cashews because that is what was available when I shopped. Slice the tofu into cubes and add to the food processor. Also add the nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, basil, oregano, and garlic powder. If you are using salted cashews, add a little less salt to the food processor. Blend on low until well incorporated and smooth. Scoop into a bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Start to assemble the lasagna. Add 1 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 pan and spread around to the sides.
Layer 5 UNCOOKED lasagna noodles on top. You don’t need to cook the noodles due to the amount of liquid and moisture in the recipe. The noodles will cook while the lasagna bakes and become very tender. You can use any lasagna noodle of your choice. I like to use whole wheat noodles.
Add ½ of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles and spread in an even layer. You might need to hold the noodles in place while spreading so they don’t move around.
Top with ½ of the spinach. I bought one bunch of spinach, cut the stems off and chopped the leaves. You can do the same or buy a bag of baby spinach. Either will work just fine.
Add another cup of the marinara sauce on top of the spinach and spread to the sides.
Layer another 5 uncooked lasagna noodles on top.
Add the other ½ of the ricotta mixture on top of the noodles and spread in an even layer to the sides.
Top with the other ½ of the chopped spinach.
Layer the last 5 uncooked lasagna noodles on top of the spinach, THEN pour the rest of the marinara sauce over the top of the noodles and spread to the sides.
Tightly cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. If you want to skip the vegan mozzarella and enjoy the lasagna without any cheese on top, increase the bake time to 60 minutes. Otherwise, make the vegan mozzarella while the lasagna is baking.
Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn off the heat and add the cashews. You can use any cashews you find at the store. Let the cashews soak in the hot water for about 10 minutes. This helps to make them soft and easy to blend.
Drain the cashews and place in a blender. Add 2 2/3 cups of water to the blender (not the water from the boiling pot, use tap water) along with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and tapioca starch. Blend until smooth. The mixture will be liquid and not resemble cheese, but this is OK and correct!
Pour the mixture into a medium sized saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly while the mixture heats. Small lumps will start to form but continue to stir. The lumps will eventually go away. After 3-4 minutes, the mixture will start to get stretchy and smooth. Once you have a thick ball of cheese that stretches when pulled, you can turn off the heat. Set aside until the lasagna is done cooking.
Remove the lasagna from the oven and remove the foil (after 40 minutes). Add dollops of the mozzarella cheese all over the top of the lasagna. The mozzarella recipe makes quite a bit but feel free to use as much or as little as you want.
Bake the lasagna, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes. The cheese will start to turn golden brown and spread over the lasagna as it melts. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15-20 minutes before serving.
Enjoy! Any leftovers should be covered and stored in the fridge.
This truly is a delicious lasagna. I plan on making it again…and again. It leaves you satisfied without being overly full. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
The recipe can be found here.