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Seriously the BEST Vegan Lasagna

Vegan Lasagna slice

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!

Vegan lasagna slice

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!

Vegan lasagna slice missing

So how did I veganize this traditional Italian recipe?

Well, first of all, rather than use a mozzarella style cheese, I really wanted to use a traditional style ricotta that my mom often made growing up. On special occasions, and even on some regular days (yes she did!), my mom makes these amazing traditional cannelloni with ricotta and spinach. So that’s my inspiration for this plant based version. I use cashews for the base, nutritional yeast for the cheesy flavour, and some seasonings to get this just right. To make this ricotta, make sure you do really squeeze out the liquids from your spinach. Also, make sure not to puree the spinach. You don’t want green cheese. You want beautiful white looking cheese with ribbons of spinach throughout.

Cashew ricotta cheese

To begin, soak your cashews in boiling hot water. This will get them to swell faster than using room temperature. Then wilt your spinach. I used fresh spinach and wilted them in a skillet with just a few drops of water to get it going. This will only take a few minutes, at most. 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.

Fresh Spinach

Wilted spinach

Process all the ricotta ingredients EXCEPT the spinach in your food processor until smooth. Once desired consistency is achieved, only then add your strained spinach. Pulse once or twice to incorporate the spinach, but do not over process.

vegan ricotta cheese prep

vegan ricotta cheese

Now for the 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. 🙂

Mushroom Walnut Bolognese Sauce

In your food processor, process your mushrooms first until finely chopped. Then toss your mushrooms and cooking oil into your sauce pan and sauté while you process the next ingredients. The sundried tomatoes and walnuts can be processed together into a crumbly chunky meal. Do not over process. You want these pieces big enough to add texture to your sauce.

sundried tomatoes and walnuts in fodo processor

Add these to your sauce pan, along with your homemade tomato sauce (or store bought), and seasonings. Let this simmer while you prepare the parmesan cheese (if using) and your veggies.

For the veggies! Easy Peasy!

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 just quick and easy! Feel free to use a grill if preferred. But do not skip precooking the veggies in some way. You want to reduce them and release some water before layering into your lasagna.

Line the veggies in a single layer and drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle salt and pepper. These cook quickly using a broiler, so watch closely, and don’t let your veggies burn.

Grilled zucchini and mushrooms

And finally, the lasagna sheets!

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.

Once your water is boiling, 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 for a few minutes, according to package directions.

cooking lasagna sheets

Your noodles should limp once ready, but do not overcook or they will break and fall apart. Carefully remove the cooked lasagna sheets from the boiling water using tongs.

cooking lasagna sheets

Immediately place your cooked noodles into a cold water bath to stop the cooking process and prevent sticking while the remaining sheets are being cooked.

water bath for lasagna sheets

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 your vegan lasagna!

Set up some space on your counter to lay out all your vegan 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 sticking.

lasagna components

Then add a layer of lasagna sheets for your base. I used 5-6 sheets per each of my 3 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.

lasagna assembly

Next, add all the zucchini in a single layer, followed by another thin layer of sauce.

lasagna assembly

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.

lasagna assembly

Now, add the remaining half of your ricotta cheese, followed by all the portobello mushrooms in a single layer.

lasagna assembly

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.

lasagna assembly

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 with your vegan lasagna slices later.

lasagna assembly

There you have it!

Your vegan lasagna is now ready for the oven. YUM 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.

Vegan lasagna

Once set, slice your vegan lasagna into 12 equal pieces. Serve garnished with extra vegan parmesan cheese, if using.

Vegan lasagna

Alternatively, you may garnish with fresh basil, hot peppers or chili flakes, or just enjoy as is!

Vegan Lasagna slice

Vegan Lasagna slice

Okay readers, now I’ve got a special treat for you.

Yes, it gets even better than the BEST vegan lasagna!

I’ve teamed up with TEN fellow food bloggers to bring you a ELEVEN recipes to provide a FULL holiday menu! Christmas is approaching, but these amazing recipes can be eaten any time of year. I’ve got you covered with your main course, my amazing vegan lasagna!

My fellow bloggers have got you covered from drinks, appetizers, sides, and of course, DESSERT. Check these all out below. 🙂

Appetizers

First up, I’ve got this delicious Orange Cranberry Mimosa Holiday Mocktail by Trish of Rhubarbarians.

Holiday-orange-cranberry-mimosa-mocktail-hq2

Next is this amazing Vegan Cream Cheese Ball by Rebecca at Vegan Blueberry.

Vegan Blueberry - Vegan Cheese ball

Then I have Valerie’s Holiday Baked Vegan Cheese with Guava Swirl from Very Vegan Val. Yum!

Very Vegan Val - Holiday Baked Vegan Cheese with Guava

And finally, this drool worthy Vegan Spinach Kale Dip by Kerrie at Plant & Vine.

vegan spinach dip with kale

Sides

First up for side dishes is Kaila’s delicious Smokey White Bean Puree from Healthy Helper.

SmokeyBeanPuree_HealthyHelper2

Next I have Jeni’s Vegan Sausage Stuffed Dates from Thyme & Love. Wow!

Thyme and Love_ Vegan Sausage Stuffed Dates

And finally, this delicious Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad by Elizabeth at Healthy Midwestern Girl.

Healthy Midwestern Girl Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

Desserts

First up for dessert are these amazing Peppermint Candy Cane Chocolate Shortbread Cookies by Joann at Woman in Real Life.

Woman-in-Real-Life-Peppermint-Candy-Cane-Chocolate-Shortbread-Cookies

Next is Nele’s Vegan Gingerbread Cake from Nutriplanet. Gimme!

Gingerbread Cake

And finally, Chloe’s White Chocolate Peppermint Truffles from Baked By Clo. Okay, seriously drooling!

BAKEDBYCLO-white-chocolate-peppermint-truffles

I’d love to hear your thoughts on these amazing holiday recipes, so drop me a line in the comments below!

vegan holiday menu

Vegan Lasagna slice

Seriously The BEST Vegan Lasagna

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Servings: 12 Slices
This is seriously the BEST vegan lasagna. Made using wholesome ingredients and packed with delicious. The perfect dish for your next holiday meal.
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Ingredients

Cashew Ricotta Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups cashews soaked
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup water
  • 5 oz package baby spinach approx. 3 large handfuls (or 1 cup wilted)

Mushroom Walnut Bolognese Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 tsp grape seed oil or your choice
  • 220g package cremini mushrooms approx. 8 mushrooms
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes
  • 6 cups homemade tomato sauce or store bought
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • ¼ tsp basil
  • ½ tsp salt

Parmesan Cheese Ingredients (Optional)

Grilled Veggie Ingredients

  • 2 large portobello mushrooms sliced
  • 2 zucchini sliced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Lasagna Noodles Ingredients

  • 1 package lasagna noodles 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

Instructions

Cashew Ricotta Directions

  • Soak your cashews in boiling hot water for 30 minutes.
  • 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 Directions

  • 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.

Parmesan Cheese Directions (Optional)

  • Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until a fine meal is achieved. Set aside.

Grilled Veggie Directions

  • 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. Bake for 4 minutes until lightly golden and reduced, watching carefully not to burn.
  • Remove from the oven and set aside.

Lasagna Noodles Directions

  • 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.
  • Finally, sprinkle about 2/3 of the parmesan cheese on top, if using. Reserve the remaining third of the parmesan for serving.
  • 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.

Notes

Prepare ALL your layers in the order listed, saving the lasagna sheets for LAST. Do not cook your lasagna sheets until you're ready to assemble. You don't want them to stick together or get too soggy and break.
Calories: 359kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 963mg | Potassium: 1098mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 34.9% | Vitamin C: 23.9% | Calcium: 6.5% | Iron: 22.9%
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