A traditional and classic vegan lasagna recipe that’ll soon become your favorite, with a meatfree “meat” sauce and dairyfree, no-tofu vegan ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses. Perfect comfort food for a crowd or for a cozy dinner in with family or friends.
Here’s a very classic and traditional lasagna recipe with all of the cheeses and meat sauce — only, it’s all vegan.
As delicious as these recipes are, there’s nothing that can quite beat the comfort-food feel of a traditional lasagna with a red “meat” sauce and lashings of vegan parmesan, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses.
This vegan lasagna is very traditional — there’s no spinach here or sweet potatoes or any adaptations that take it away from the classic. It is also a rather easy recipe, although it does involve a few steps because you are making two of the three cheeses yourself — the parmesan and the ricotta. You can use storebought mozzarella, as I did, because there are some good options out there in the stores.
I first ate a vegetarian lasagna almost right after I moved to the United States, at the home of an acquaintance who was vegetarian. I was not, but I remember thinking at the time how close the meat substitute tasted to the real thing. In my vegan lasagna, I can guarantee you, no omnivore will miss the meat and the dairy — unless you tell them. And why would you?
This vegan lasagna is a really filling dish, and since this recipe makes a large pan, you will have enough to feed a group of hungry family members or friends. And that makes it perfect for holiday eats. Or for just anytime eats, because who ever needed an excuse to eat lasagna?
When you pull that bubbling, hot baking dish out of the oven, with the cheese baked golden at the top, people will be gathering around the table faster than you can say “Garfield.”
Here are some tips on making the perfect vegan lasagna without breaking a sweat:
- Make the various elements of the vegan lasagna in advance. You can make the ricotta, parm and the “meat” sauce the day — or even a couple of days — before you want to bake your lasagna. Assemble the dish and bake the day you want to serve.
- Make the entire lasagna in advance, cover tightly with cling wrap, and refrigerate for up to five days or freeze for a month. Thaw and then bake as instructed.
- Use no-boil noodles, if you don’t want the extra step of boiling your noodles first. They are easily available now, and I am not above using them to save precious time and effort. You do need to incorporate more liquid in your recipe if using no-boil noodles, so pay attention to the recipe instructions. Also no-boil noodles are shorter than regular lasagna noodles, so you need to layer on more of them.
- If you want to add more veggies to the recipe, you can cut down the meatless meat by half and add a roasted, diced eggplant to your marinara sauce while you are making it. Or add finely diced mushrooms.
- Soak the cashews for the ricotta for a few hours so they blend up into the perfect consistency.
- Season your ricotta. This is a great opportunity to add some fresh, herby flavor into your lasagna.
- Many stores now sell vegan cheeses. I usually get the vegan cheese at Trader Joe’s or Aldi’s and they both work very well in any recipes that call for the use of mozzarella.
-Eat. A lot. And come back and tell me it’s the best lasagna you ever ate. 🙂
The meat sauce is perfectly seasoned and delicious , and you can use it not just in this lasagna but with other pasta dishes as well.
You don’t need to serve much alongside this classic vegan lasagna, because it’s a full meal on its own, but some Garlic Pull Apart Bread and a fresh, green salad are the perfect accompaniments.
- 16 regular lasagna noodles or 24 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion (minced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 28 oz vegan meatless meat that's crumbly. I used a combination of 14 oz Gimme Lean and 14 oz of Tofurky's Italian sausage. Make sure you process the sausages in a food processor to make them crumbly.
- 28 oz canned whole plum tomatoes (San Marzano tomatoes are great too)
- 6 oz can tomato paste
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3 cups vegetable stock, if using no-boil noodles (reduce to 2 cups for regular noodles)
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup vegan cashew parmesan
- 16 oz vegan mozzarella shreds
If using regular lasagna noodles, cook them in salted boiling water until al dente but not mushy.
Make the meat sauce by heating the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and garlic. Saute, until they soften, about five minutes. Add the "meat" crumbles and saute for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato paste and mix in.
Put the plum tomatoes in a bowl and squish them to break with your fingers. Add to the saucepan along with 3 cups of vegetable stock if using no-boil noodles, and 2 cups of stock if using regular noodles that have been cooked.
Stir well, bring to a boil, add the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and ground black pepper to taste. Stir and let the sauce cook for about 15 minutes or until it turns a bright red. Turn off heat and check seasoning. Set aside.
Make the ricotta, by placing the cashews in a food processor with all ingredients except the parsley. Process for a couple of minutes until fairly smooth. Mix in the parsley and pulse until it's mixed into the rest of the ricotta. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Assemble the lasagna by spraying a 12 X 9 inch lasagna pan with cooking spray or oil. Ladle out a small amount of sauce into the pan and spread.
Layer on four sheets of the noodles into the bottom of the pan. If using no-boil noodles, which are smaller than regular noodles, you might need to layer on five noodles vertically and one more horizontally.
Layer on one-fourth of the meat sauce over the lasagna noodles.
Layer on one-fourth of the cashew parmesan.
Layer on one-fourth of the vegan mozzarella.
Layer on one-third of the vegan ricotta.
Repeat until you have built up three layers of the meat sauce and the cheeses. Over the fourth and final layer, layer the remaining meat sauce, parm and mozzarella.
Cover tight with aluminum foil, place the lasagna pan on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and bake another 30 minutes until bubbly and hot.
Let the lasagna stand at least 15 minutes to firm up, then cut and serve.