January 25, 2021

The Best Vegan Lasagna

The best vegan lasagna! Layers of homemade cauliflower cashew ricotta with roasted eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms.
Makes 12 large pieces

If you love lasagna, then you’ve got to try this vegan lasagna recipe. Just as rich and delicious as the classic recipe, a must-try for everyone! 

I made you a big ol’ pan of vegan lasagna! A friend reached out the other day asking if I had a good, classic recipe and while I’ve made this lasagna several times for my own family I realized that I haven’t put it up on the blog yet. Hello world, here she is. Isn’t she lovely? 

This is a vegan lasagna for people who love lasagna. It’s got layers of meaty vegetables, bright red sauce and creamy, homemade cauliflower cashew ricotta. It’s packed with plants, and a crowd favorite for both my family and friends I’ve shared it with. Even though I eat dairy, I actually like this ricotta better. It has more flavor and pairs well against all of the yummy roasted vegetables. 

The best vegan lasagna recipe

Compared to my high-protein spinach vegan lasagna, this one reminds me of a more classic version. It’s the kind that I happily serve to my in-laws without worrying that they will like it. It’s the tray that I bring to friends with a new baby and don’t feel the need to let them know that it’s vegan. 

Good food speaks for itself. I’m not that into labels and refuse to put one on my own diet. Instead, I advocate for eating more plants regardless of what the rest of your plate looks like. Thankfully, this lasagna is packed with both plants and flavor.  It’s delicious plant-based food that everyone will love and I can’t wait for you to try it! It’s heavily adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Vegan for Everybody by America’s Test Kitchen. 

The best vegan lasagna recipeHow to make dairy-free ricotta

The star of this dish is the homemade ricotta recipe, adapted from America’s Test Kitchen. The combination of both cashews and cauliflower creates a creamy, light filling that tastes great in this vegan lasagna. 

Ingredients you’ll need

  • Cauliflower
  • Cashews
  • Olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • basil
  • spinach leaves

Cooking the cauliflower and cashews together first allows them to blend easier without any grittiness. You’ll need a good amount of olive oil to recreate the fatty texture that traditional ricotta has; I don’t shy away from good olive oil and don’t recommend decreasing the amount called for this in this recipe. 

The lemon juice adds brightness, but it’s also OK to skip if you’re out of fresh lemons. I don’t always have fresh citrus on my counter and have skipped it plenty of times when making this recipe. While I love fresh basil and spinach in lasagna, I don’t like getting a big hunk of it as I eat. Therefore, I add the leaves into the finished ricotta then pulse ~8-10 times to combine. This method incorporates the fresh taste of the spinach and basil without overpowering. 

The best vegan lasagna recipe

Can you use no-boil noodles?

You are welcome to use no-boil noodles in this recipe. I recommend following the directions on the package that you use as most recommend increasing the amount of marinara sauce when using no-boil noodles. I tend to use regular cooked ones as I prefer whole-wheat noodles when I can find them and haven’t been able to find no-boil whole wheat ones. 

Can you use jarred tomato sauce?

Yes! As an Italian gal, it took me a long time to know that jarred red sauce is often just as delicious as homemade options. Before I had kids, I always made my own red sauce but these days I typically open a jar. There are so many great options out there and I recommend using whatever kind you prefer. I like my lasagna to be very, very saucy and think there’s no such thing as too much sauce for lasagna. I often add more as I serve it! 

The best vegan lasagna recipe

How to make vegan lasagna

After roasting the vegetables and making your own ricotta, it’s time to assemble! You’ll start with layering red sauce underneath noodles, then half of the cooked vegetables and ricotta. Repeat, then add more sauce and dairy-free cheese on top. 

I really like the addition of dairy-free cheese on top of this lasagna as it resembles more of a traditional lasagna and offers even more great taste and texture. You can use whatever cheese you like here; I’m partial to Violife and Miyoko’s mozzarella as I think they melt well in addition to tasting good. Of course, if you don’t care about keeping this lasagna dairy-free then you are welcome to use regular mozzarella. 

The best vegan lasagna recipe

Tips for lasagna success: 

This lasagna needs to steam as it cooks, so you’ll want to either wrap it in foil or use an upside down baking sheet! I seem to never have foil in my kitchen and love this easy, waste-free hack. Flip a larger baking sheet over the lasagna, then bake until hot and cheese has melted. I like to remove the baking sheet about 5-10 minutes before finished to brown the top and get a few crispy edges to the noodles. 

Make sure to chop your vegetables fairly small. They will reduce in size as they cook, but I think this lasagna works so well as the vegetables almost taste like crumbled, cooked meat. Chop well, then toss with plenty of olive oil, salt and pepper and roast until very soft and caramelized. 

Lastly, make sure to let the lasagna cool before slicing. Cutting into very hot lasagna will make your layers crumble into one another. I like to remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing. 

The best vegan lasagna recipe

If you love this lasagna recipe, then you’re going to want to try my other plant-based Italian recipes. 

More vegan Italian recipes:

best vegan lasagna

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best vegan lasagna

The Best Vegan Lasagna

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, main dish
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The best vegan lasagna! Layers of homemade cauliflower cashew ricotta with roasted eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms. My favorite vegan lasagna recipe I’ve ever tried. 


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, main dish
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, main dish
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

Vegetable Filling:

  • 1 pound mushrooms, stems removed and chopped
  • 1/2 pound zucchini, chopped (about 1 large zucchini)
  • 1/2 pound eggplant, peeled and chopped (about.1 small eggplant)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • olive oil, for coating
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Cauliflower Ricotta Filling:

  • 8 ounces cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 45 leaves fresh basil
  • large handful of fresh spinach, optional

Other Ingredients:

  • 45 cups marinara sauce
  • 12 lasagna noodles, cooked (or use no-bake noodles)*
  • Vegan mozzarella, for topping**
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place the vegetables on a large baking sheet (may need two depending on size) and drizzle with olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper. Use your hands to coat the sheet well, making sure the vegetables are well coated.
  2. Bake for 30-35 minutes until vegetables are well cooked and tender, stirring halfway through. Remove and set aside.
  3. While the vegetables are cooking, make the ricotta. Add the cauliflower and cashews to a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes until very soft. Drain and place in a blender or food processor along with the salt, olive oil and lemon juice. Blend until very creamy, scraping down the sides as needed.
  4. Add in the basil and spinach and pulse a few times to combine.
  5. To assemble: reduce oven to 375 degrees F. Spread a heaping cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13″ casserole dish, then cover with 4 lasagna noodles. Depending on the shape of your dish, you may have to break the noodles to evenly cover the bottom.
  6. Spread 1/2 of the ricotta on top, spreading the ricotta as evenly as possibly over the noodles (I use a back of a spoon). Add half of the vegetables.
  7. Repeat: a heaping cup of marinara to cover, noodles, ricotta, vegetables. Finish with a layer of noodles and a generous covering of marinara sauce making sure to cover the entire lasagna. Cover with mozzarella.
  8. Cover the dish with aluminum foil or an upside down baking sheet on top and cook for 40 minutes. Remove the cover and let cook an additional 5 minutes to melt the cheese and brown slightly. Remove and let cool for at least 15 minutes, then garnish with more basil.

Notes

*If you use no-bake noodles, then make sure to use enough sauce to allow the noodles to cook.

** I highly recommend Violife shredded mozzarella or Miyokos mozzarella ball.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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  1. You are right, this is the best vegan lasagna! We’ve tried a few recipes from others, all very good. This one was great! Thank you Alex!