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The Best Vegan Lasagna | Delicious, Nutrient-Dense, Gluten-Free!

by Capri Lilly

Treat your taste buds with this wholesome triple-layered, mouthwatering vegan lasagna. Everything about this lasagna will make you reconsider how you’ve ever enjoyed lasagna before this trying this recipe. Only 191 calories per serving and 14 grams of Protein!

With its rich, herbaceous homemade tofu ricotta, perfectly charred eggplant as noodles, and savory butternut squash puree layered in between, this vegan lasagna is a healthy, indulgent delight. This veggie-forward lasagna is completely dairy-free and gluten-free, providing the ultimate nourishing meal while being completely satisfying.

Trust me, you’ll want more and more! Its a tasty Whole30 Compliant, Paleo, Low-Carb, Vegan Lasagna.

So its Veganuary, and I’ve been wholeheartedly enjoying this month of eating a plant-based diet. I wanted to start off my 2020 with a nice clean slate, and I thought what cleaner than eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits for an entire month (along with dry-january, so no alcohol). I’ve been loving it!

I asked the GFB community to join along with me and participate by eating meatless each Monday of this month. This helps everyone to take steps with me in this vegan journey, and taking a larger step to eating clean while helping the environment (by reducing their meat consumption). So each week I send a Meatless Monday Meal Plan with a guide for what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s not too late to join us! Simply join the GFB VIP List here, and get my free Meal Prep eCookbook upon signing up!

So, I’ve been coming up with a ton of Vegan recipes, and this Vegan Lasagna is by far one of my favorites— my boyfriend’s too, he’s asked me to make it at least every other day.

What is the secret to making The Best Vegan Lasagna? 

The secret to an incredible vegan lasagna dish (or any lasagna dish) is all in the layers! You must prepare layers and layers of flavors to create a rich, delicious lasagna. This recipe is made completely with plant-based ingredients, even the noodles are vegetables: perfectly roasted eggplant. By taking a moment to prepare each of the ingredients necessary for this triple-layered savory lasagna, the end result comes out absolutely perfect.   

I like to start by making my simple, yet flavorful marinara sauce. I NEVER buy pre-made marinara from the grocery store anymore; and why would I, it is so easy to make! Simply simmer one can of organic diced tomatoes (I prefer organic fire-roasted tomatoes for extra flavor), a half red onion, and tons of fresh herbs together for about 30-45 minutes. Once the flavors have merged, blend the ingredients together for the perfect tomato sauce. I have a video making my favorite tomato sauce here (and finishing by making a lamb bolognese–from scratch). 

What to use for gluten-free lasagna noodles? 

So, while the marinara is simmering, I prepare the eggplant noodles. Some people like to use zucchini, others who have no aversion to gluten opt for regular lasagna noodles. To be honest, I have yet to find gluten-free lasagna noodles in the grocery store. Maybe I am not looking hard enough, or maybe the options are just scarce. Either way, it gives me the perfect reason to make my own lasagna noodles.

Eggplant is SUPER EASY to use. Because of its size, it makes the perfect lasagna noodles. Simply cut the eggplant lengthwise into ½ inch slices and you have perfect size and thickness to hold the generous layers of the lasagna together. 

The trick to making perfectly roasted eggplant is to be sure to saturate the eggplant with salt and allow the moisture to escape the eggplant before cooking. Simply generously salt the eggplant on both sides, let the eggplant sit for 15-20 minutes, and you will see small puddles of water dripping from the eggplant. Now, you’ll have to rinse off the excess salt and dry the eggplant and it is ready for roasting. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and roast the eggplant for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

By preparing and roasting the eggplant you achieve:

  • Perfectly caramelized eggplant noodles with immense flavor as all the excess water has been removed and flavor intensified.

  • Tender, yet sturdy eggplant to withstand numerous layers of lasagna fillings

How to make tasty Vegan Ricotta?

Making Vegan Ricotta is simple; it only takes a few ingredients for the perfect ricotta. The main ingredient you’ll need is firm tofu, along with fresh parsley, lemon, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is what gives the ricotta a nutty, “cheesy” flavor. I like the addition of fresh parsley to give the ricotta a more dynamic, robust flavor. Simply combine all these ingredients in a food processor and blend until you achieve the perfect “ricotta” like consistency. 

Side Note: I used Trader Joe’s Vegan Almond Shredded Mozzarella to create that top cheesy layer of lasagna we all love. I was happy with how well the “cheese” melted and how incredible it taste!

Let’s talk about the trick to making vegan lasagna “meaty”

Now, you can easily saute some meatless ground beef for your lasagna; there are plenty of options available in the grocery stores (My favorite is Beyond Beef by Beyond Meat, in case you’re wondering). However, for this recipe, I enjoy the process of making all of the layers from scratch. There are many options for what you can use to make this lasagna “meaty” such as lentils, beans, or in my case, spinach and mushrooms. Mushrooms are an incredibly meaty vegetable. It is hearty, savory, and can be ground to resemble ground meat or left whole to make your dish filling. 

How to prepare ahead and save time?

Each of the layers in this lasagna can be prepared in advance to make assembling the lasagna nice and easy! The Vegan ricotta and marinara sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance. I would recommend making the butternut squash puree, mushrooms and spinach, and eggplant no more than 1 day in advance. Make sure all ingredients stay refrigerated. When you are ready to prepare your lasagna, remove the ingredients from the fridge and allow the ingredients to come to room temperature before assembling and baking, about 1-hour minimum.

Not only will your tastebuds love this lasagna, but your body will too! It’s: 

  • Filled with Tons of Protein, 14 grams Protein per serving!

  • Contains all Nine Essential Amino Acids

  • Provides powerful Antioxidants 

  • Filled with Fiber, so you feel full longer while eating less

  • Low in Calories, only 191 Calories per serving! 

  • Nutrient-Dense (tons of vitamins and minerals!)

  • A Perfect Low-Carb Option

 

This recipe may seem like a bit of work, but it is all in the prep. This is the kind of meal where you can throw all the main ingredients in the oven, continue about your day, and assemble everything when you are ready. Heres a quick video of how to make The Best Vegan Lasagna.

Vegan Lasagna

Treat your taste buds with this wholesome triple-layered, mouthwatering vegan lasagna. With its rich, herbaceous homemade tofu ricotta, perfectly charred eggplant as noodles, and savory butternut squash puree layered in between, this vegan lasagna is a healthy, indulgent delight.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Healthy Options, Vegan
Keyword: best vegan lasagna, gluten free vegan lasagna
Servings: 6
Calories: 191kcal

Ingredients

Vegan Tofu Ricotta

  • 10 oz firm tofu (275 g), drained
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley

Lasagna

  • 2 Eggplants
  • 12 oz Butternut Squash cubed (1 whole squash)
  • 3 cups Fresh Spinach
  • 2 cups Variety of Mushrooms (Crimini, Portobello, Oyster)
  • 16 oz Canned Organic Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Vegan Mozzarella Style Shredded Cheese
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp Red Crushed Pepper
  • 3 tsp Italian Seasoning, divided
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil, divided
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Instructions

Instruction for Tofu Ricotta

  • Chop the tofu into large cubes and transfer tofu and all ingredients into a blender or food processor.
  • Blend just a moment, less than 30 seconds. Until you achieve a ricotta like consistency. (See image above)
  • Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Instructions for Lasagna

  • Preheat oven to 400° and cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Taking the eggplant, slice off the ends and then slice lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange the slices on a cutting board and sprinkle 1-2 tsp over all of the eggplant, on each side. Let the eggplant sit for 10 minutes.
  • Cut the ends of the butternut squash, then cut the butternut squash in half. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and fleshy inside. Rub the butternut squash with 1 tbsp of olive oil on all sides, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the squash on the baking tray and roast the butternut until it is soft and golden, about 30 minutes. After the squash cools, use a spoon to remove the squash from the skin, then mash the squash into smooth consistency.
  • Returning to the Eggplant, use a clean dish towel or paper towel to remove the excess moisture. Arrange the eggplant on the baking tray. (You may need an additional baking tray to roast all the slices). Roast the eggplant until soft and golden, about 25 minutes. Make sure to flip the eggplant halfway through.
  • In a medium sauce pan, oven medium heat pour 1 tbsp Olive oil, saute half the chopped onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 3 cloves crushed garlic and sauté for an additional minute. Pour 16 ounces of organic diced tomatoes into the sauce pan along with the fresh basil, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. All the sauce to simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 25 minutes, blend the mixture until your desired consistency is reached.
  • In a medium pan, over medium-low heat pour 1 tbsp Olive Oil and add remaining chopped onions. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cloves crushed garlic and saute for an additional minute. Add chopped mushrooms and saute for 5-8 minutes, until soft. Then add the spinach, remaining Italian seasoning, red crushed peppers, salt and pepper and saute until spinach has wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the heat from the pan and set aside for later.
  • Use the instructions above to make the vegan tofu ricotta.
  • Turn the oven to 350°. In a 9 x 13” baking dish, spoon 1 cup of the tomato sauce into an even layer. Lay 3 to 4 eggplant slices on top, followed by the butternut squash puree and the vegan ricotta, spread the layers evenly. Then, add the spinach and mushroom. Repeat the layers by adding another layer of eggplant, followed by the marinara sauce, butternut squash puree, vegan ricotta, and mushroom and spinach mixture. Finish the lasagna with 1 cup of Vegan shredded cheese. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the lasagna is hot and bubbling.
  • Enjoy!

Video

Notes

  1. Vegan cheese often does not get golden brown. I like to broil my lasagna on low for an additional 3 minutes to get a golden brown top layer. 
  2. Refrigerate the leftovers. To rewarm, placing the lasagna in the oven at 350° for 8-10 minutes is best. However, you can also microwave the lasagna for 1-2 minutes and enjoy it. 
  3. Prepping the ingredients prior is best to save time. The Vegan ricotta and marinara sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance. I would recommend making the butternut squash puree, mushrooms and spinach, and eggplant no more than 1 day in advance. Make sure all ingredients stay refrigerated.
    1. When you are ready to prepare your lasagna, remove the ingredients from the fridge and allow the ingredients to come to room temperature before assembling and baking, about 1-hour minimum.

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