Yes it’s a bold statement but I stand by it! This is seriously the BEST vegan lasagna EVER! As an Italian, my ancestors are probably shaking their heads at me right now. Yes, you may think that vegan and lasagna don’t belong in the same sentence, but boy oh boy is this ever GOOD.
My husband who doesn’t even like lasagna (I know, weird) thoroughly enjoyed this! Vegan lasagna for the win!
I won’t lie to you, this dish is quite involved. There’s a few steps and a bit of prep work involved. But oh is it ever worth it! Make sure to have everything prepped before you start assembling. You need all the components ready, saving the lasagna sheets for last! Get ready to dig in!
How to make vegan ricotta cheese
I use cashews for the base, nutritional yeast for the cheesy flavour, and some seasonings to get this just right.
First, wilt your spinach. I use fresh spinach and wilt them in a skillet with just a few drops of water to get it going. This will only take a few minutes. Once wilted, dry the spinach using dish cloths or paper towels and squeeze out the excess moisture. This will ensure your cheese doesn’t get watery.
If using frozen spinach, no need to wilt them, just drain as much moisture as possible first. Make sure you really squeeze out the liquids from your spinach to prevent watery ricotta later.
Add all the ricotta ingredients EXCEPT the spinach in your food processor.
Process until smooth.
Once desired consistency is achieved, add your strained spinach. Pulse once or twice to incorporate the spinach, but do not over process. You do not want to puree the spinach and you don’t want green cheese. You want beautiful white cheese with ribbons of spinach throughout.
How to make vegan bolognese sauce
A traditional lasagna uses a bolognese sauce with ground beef. To give hearty, meaty flavour and texture to my sauce I use walnuts and mushrooms.
This sauce is SO good. I can seriously just eat it with a spoon. You may want to make a little extra if you like to taste your food as your cooking. 🙂
In your food processor, process your mushrooms first until finely chopped. Then add the mushrooms and cooking oil into your sauce pan and sauté while you process the next ingredients.
Add sundried tomatoes and walnuts together and process until a crumbly chunky texture is reached. Do not over process. You want these pieces big enough to add texture to your sauce.
How to roast the vegetables
I like using large slices of vegetables so you really get a good bite of them. To “grill” the veggies, I cheat and broil them in the oven. It’s quick and easy! Feel free to use a grill if preferred. But do not skip precooking the veggies. You want to reduce them and release some water before layering your lasagna.
Line the veggies in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. These cook quickly using a broiler, so watch closely, and don’t let your veggies burn.
And finally, how to prepare your lasagna noodles!
I can’t express this enough. Please save cooking the lasagna sheets for last. Very important. You don’t want them to stick together, or break before you get to assembling. So prepare everything else first.
Bring a large pot of water to boil, and add about half your package of lasagna sheets to the pot, one at time. Do not dump them in.
You don’t want these breaking, so handle with care. Cook according to package directions.
Your noodles should limp once ready. Do not overcook or they will break and fall apart.
Carefully remove the cooked lasagna noodles from the boiling water using tongs.
Place your cooked lasagna noodles into a cold water bath to stop the cooking process and prevent sticking while the remaining sheets are cooking.
Of course you can eliminate this step by using oven ready lasagna noodles. However, the taste and texture of the traditional noodles is far superior, in my opinion.
Now to assemble vegan lasagna!
Set up some space on your counter to lay out all your lasagna components. Have everything ready to go so you’re not scrambling.
Begin with a thin layer sauce on the bottom of your lasagna dish. This will prevent the noodles from sticking to your dish.
Then add a layer of lasagna sheets for your base. I used 5-6 sheets for each of my three noodle layers. Alternate the direction of the noodles for each layer.
Following the first noodle layer, add a thin layer of sauce, followed by half of your vegan ricotta spinach cheese.
Next, add all the zucchini in a single layer, followed by another thin layer of sauce.
Then add your second layer of lasagna sheets, remembering to rotate the direction of your noodles. Cut your noodles if necessary to fit in the tray properly.
Then add another thin layer of sauce over top the noodles.
Now, add the remaining half of your ricotta cheese, followed by all the portobello mushrooms in a single layer.
Next, add your final layer of lasagna sheets, remembering to rotate the direction once more.
Add more sauce evenly on top, ensuring to get sauce in all the corners to prevent sticking.
Finally, sprinkle about two thirds of the vegan parmesan cheese, if using, on top of the sauce. You may reserve the remaining third for serving later.
Your vegan lasagna is now ready for the oven. YUM YUM!! 🙂
Once baked, let your lasagna sit at room temperature for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
This will give it a chance to set and make slicing it a little easier.
Once set, slice into 12 roughly equal pieces. Serve garnished with extra vegan parmesan cheese, if using.
Alternatively, you may garnish with fresh basil, hot peppers or chili flakes, or just enjoy as is!
If you tried this recipe, please let me know about it in the comments below. I always love hearing from you! Don’t forget to Subscribe to This Healthy Kitchen to be among the first to get my new recipes! You can also FOLLOW ME on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter to see more delicious food and get all the latest updates.
11"x15" Baking Dish (or similar)
Cashew Ricotta Ingredients
Mushroom Walnut Bolognese Sauce Ingredients
Grilled Veggie Ingredients
- 2 large portobello mushrooms sliced
- 2 large zucchini sliced
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or drizzle with water or broth for oil free
- Salt + pepper to taste
Lasagna Noodles Ingredients
- 454 gram package lasagna noodles gluten free if preferred
- you may also use ready to bake/no boil lasagna sheets to save time, but I prefer the taste and texture of traditional lasagna sheets
Optional But Recommended Topping
Cashew Ricotta Instructions
- Meanwhile, wilt your spinach in a skillet with a few drops of water to get it going. Once wilted, lay the spinach on a clean dish towel, and press down with paper towels to squeeze the liquids out. You want to strain as much liquid as possible from the spinach.
- Drain the cashews and add them to a food processor along with all remaining ingredients, EXCEPT the spinach. Process until smooth. This will take about 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides every 30 seconds or so. Then add the spinach and pulse once or twice to get it incorporated. Do NOT over process the spinach. You do not want to puree the spinach or turn the cheese green. Instead you should see pieces of spinach throughout. See process pics above.
- Transfer your ricotta into a small bowl and refrigerate until needed. It will thicken up a little more in the fridge.
Mushroom Walnut Bolognese Sauce Instructions
- Add the mushrooms to your food processor and process until finely chopped. Then add the oil and the mushrooms to a large sauce pan or pot. Cook the mushrooms for approx. 3 minutes, until slightly reduced.
- Meanwhile, process the walnuts and sundried tomatoes in your food processor until a crumbly texture is achieved. Then add to the pot with the mushrooms. Give it a stir and then add your tomato sauce and seasonings and mix well.
- Simmer your sauce for 20 minutes and then set aside until ready to use.
Grilled Veggie Instructions
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set your oven to broil on high.
- Arrange your sliced veggies in a single layer and drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil for 4 minutes until lightly golden and reduced, watching carefully not to burn.
- Remove from the oven and set aside.
Lasagna Noodles Instructions
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and fill a large bowl with cold water. Place the bowl of cold water on your counter as close as possible to your boiling pot of water.
- Add about half the package of lasagna sheets to your boiling pot of water. Do not overcrowd the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes until softened, or according to package directions. Using tongs, carefully transfer your softened lasagna sheets into your water bath.
- Repeat with remaining sheets.
Assembly & Bake Instructions
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
I used a glass tray that measures 11"x15" and assembled my lasagna in the following order: Sauce | Noodles | Sauce | Ricotta Cheese | Zucchini | Sauce | Noodles | Sauce | Ricotta Cheese | Mushrooms | Noodles | Sauce | Parmesan Cheese (optional)
- Scoop a thin layer of sauce onto your glass baking dish. Then add a layer of lasagna sheets over top in a single layer. Add more sauce over the lasagna sheets and spread using a silicone brush.
- Now add half of the ricotta cheese mixture on top of the sauce, using a fork to help spread it evenly across. Then top your cheese with the zucchini slices and add another thin layer of sauce over the zucchini.
- Now add your second layer of lasagna sheets, followed by another thin layer of sauce. Then spread the remaining ricotta cheese on top.
- Next, add the mushrooms in a single layer, followed by your third layer of noodles. Scoop more sauce over your noodles, making sure to get it in all the corners to prevent sticking while baking.
- Optional: Generously sprinkle vegan parmesan cheese on top, if using. (Recommended!)
- Cover your tray with parchment paper and then aluminum foil and bake in your preheated oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover and let sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing into 12 slices and serving. Garnish each slice of lasagna with more parmesan cheese or hot peppers.