The best damn vegan lasagna is the one you make at home! This super-healthy vegan lasagna is hearty, chock full of vegetables, and so so good!
Best. Damn. Lasagna.
It really, really is. And I didn’t name it that way, Michael did. I actually hesitated because it’s such a trendy thing to do, to refer to a recipe as the best ever, or ultimate, or whatever. But this. This is vegan lasagna nirvana. Not only that, but omnivores love it too! I’ve served it to three people so far, none of them vegan eaters, and all of them have given this recipe rave reviews. Let’s do this thing.
I almost called this a 4-ingredient vegan lasagna, because technically this is assembling three other recipes with noodles layered in. Don’t let that “three other recipes” thing scare you. Lasagna is known to be a complicated and time-consuming dish, but I have some tricks up my sleeve for helping you save some time in the kitchen. But before we get to that, let’s talk about those layers.
You know I’m all about those layers, ’bout those layers, more ricotta…
Late night bad jokes strike again.
video: best damn vegan lasagna
There are four elements required to make the Best Damn Vegan Lasagna.
– Protein-Packed Marinara Sauce (or this Simple Tomato Sauce, or Vegetable Bolognese)
– Vegan Spinach Ricotta (feel free to leave out the spinach if the green is not your thing)
– Savory Cashew Cream (this is the magic cheesy filling and topping)
– Lasagna Noodles (my favorite is DeLallo Organic Whole Wheat Lasagna)
Once your ingredients are assembled, the layering process is super quick and easy.
First, layer one cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 13×9 casserole dish. Then lay down 5 lasagna noodles, overlapping to fit, and spread 1 cup of the vegan spinach ricotta on top of the noodles.
Pour on another cup of marinara sauce, and then drizzle on 3/4 cup of the savory cashew cream. Can we just talk for a second about how beautiful that cashew cream is? And you won’t believe how it thickens up as the lasagna bakes. And the brown spots after broiling…GAH, now I’m hungry.
Repeat the noodles, ricotta, sauce, and cashew cream. Then add the final layer of noodles and sauce, cover the dish with foil, and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Then, remove the foil and drizzle on the cashew cream. Bake for another 20 minutes. And then…broil the lasagna for 2-3 minutes, watching carefully until it looks like this.
The hardest part of this whole recipe is the waiting. The waiting to eat after it comes out of the oven, that is. The lasagna needs to rest for about 15 minutes, but IT IS SO WORTH THE WAIT.
If you are not trying to reach through the screen right now to eat this picture, I just have one question. Are you human? 😉
Seriously, folks, this is THE BEST DAMN VEGAN LASAGNA EVER. The last time I made it, I looked over to see Michael bowing his head after eating a bite. When asked what he was thinking about, he shushed me and said, “I’m having a moment.” Apparently he needed some private time with his lasagna. That sounds so weird.
ANYWAY…you’re going to look down at the recipes below and be all, BETH, THIS IS TOO MUCH WORK. And I can totally see why you would think those thoughts. But let me convince you otherwise.
There are two options to making this lasagna – the make-ahead option, and the make-in-the-moment option. I’ll give you my tips and tricks for both.
Meal Prep Vegan Lasagna
This is the perfect approach for the person who likes to do meal prep for the week all at once. I am starting to become a person like this, but it’s slow-going. Being prepared and allowing enough time is the hardest part.
1. Measure out all of the ingredients for the savory cashew cream, marinara sauce, and vegan ricotta, and do any chopping or other prep as well (mise en place).
2. Start the marinara sauce on the stove or in the pressure cooker.
3. While the sauce is cooking, make the cashew cream.
4. Make the Vegan Spinach Ricotta. Feeling on your game? Make two batches and freeze one for later!
By the time the sauce is done cooking, you’ll have finished the ricotta and cashew cream and probably even had time to clean up a bit. This is also the perfect opportunity to make extra of all three recipes, to freeze for another time.
Now, just assemble the lasagna (setting aside the last 1/2 cup of cashew cream), and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Then, on the day you want to eat it, allow an hour for baking and rest time before diving in. You can also freeze the unbaked lasagna for up to one month. See notes for baking from frozen.
Same as the make-head option, except bake the lasagna right then, instead of storing it for later. Start to finish, this process should take about 2 hours. There will be lots of down time while the lasagna is baking. Since you already have everything out, why not make extras and store them for next time? That’s a great use of your time, and you’ll thank yourself when you have all the components ready to go at a moment’s notice. Bulk meal prep for the win!
Well, hopefully I have convinced you to give this recipe a go. If you do make it, I’d love it if you’d leave a comment here, or tag @passtheplants and #passtheplants on Instagram. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
Best Damn Vegan Lasagna
For the Lasagna
- 2 cups Savory Cashew Cream, recipe follows
- 4 cups Protein-Packed Marinara Sauce or your favorite marinara sauce, recipe follows
- 2 cups Vegan Spinach Ricotta, recipe follows
- 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles (such as DeLallo Whole Wheat Lasagna)
- 1/2 cup water
Savory Cashew Cream
- 2 cups raw cashews*
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon heaping nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon chickpea miso, optional (any light miso will work)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Protein-Packed Marinara Sauce
- 2 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes (I love the Muir Glen brand with basil)
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, optional
- 1 teaspoon olive oil, optional
- 2 1/2 cups water
Vegan Spinach Ricotta
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 10-12 ounce firm or extra-firm tofu drained (1 package is typically 10-12oz but can go up to 14oz, which also works fine)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach or 1 cup frozen spinach
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves**
- 2 cloves garlic***
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon light miso (white, yellow, or chickpea)
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
Make the Savory Cashew Cream
- Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until creamy and smooth.
Make the Marinara Sauce
- Heat 4 quart (or largesaucepan over medium heat. Click here for Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker instructions.
- Sauté the garlic and salt in olive oil for 30 seconds or so, just to wake up the garlic flavor. Add the oregano, if using.
- Stir in the sweet potato and lentils, and cook for a minute or so.
- Add water, then bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes until lentils are soft.
- Add in crushed tomatoes, and simmer for another 5 minutes to let the sauce come together.
Make the Vegan Spinach Ricotta
- In a food processor or blender, pulse cashews, garlic, miso, salt, and nutritional yeast until the mixture is fine and crumbly.
- Add the tofu, spinach, and basil and pulse to throughly combine.
Assemble the Lasagna
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Thin savory cashew cream with water until it is a pourable consistency.
- Spread one cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 13x9 casserole dish.
- Layer 5 lasagna sheets over the sauce, overlapping as needed to fit.
- Spread 1 cup of spinach ricotta over the noodles.
- Pour 1 cup of marinara sauce over the ricotta.
- Pour 3/4 cup of savory cashew cream over the marinara sauce. Repeat with noodles, ricotta, marinara, and cashew cream.
- Layer remaining 5 noodles on top of the cashew cream, then top with remaining marinara sauce.
- Set aside remaining 1/2 cup of cashew cream.
- Cover casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove foil and pour on the remaining cashew cream.
- Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes. If desired, broil the top for 3-4 minutes until browned.
- Let lasagna stand for 15 minutes before devouring.