With a last name like Caspero, you know I know my way around lasagna. I’ve got a few show-stopping meals in my back-pocket that I like to pull out for company and a layered lasagna oozing with vegetables, ricotta and red sauce is definitely one of them.
As someone who prefers to eat plant-based the majority of the time, I wanted a lasagna that was completely dairy-free and just as delicious as my other versions.
HERE SHE IS! Vegan lasagna with a red-lentil marinara sauce (hi, extra protein and fiber), tofu-cashew ricotta and garlicky spinach. Humble enough to be a weeknight dinner, drool-worthy for a crowd.
How to Make Vegan Lasagna
If you haven’t had cashew-ricotta before, you are in for a treat! This dairy-free ricotta is a go-to in my house. When I’m not putting it in my lasagna, I drizzle chili oil on top for a spicy dip or roll it in zucchini for lasagna roll-ups.
Ready for the secret ingredient in the marinara sauce? It’s red lentils! This is a trick that I do often for my son to increase iron intake in his favorite meal, spaghetti, and thought it would be great in this lasagna as well.
Unlike brown or green lentils, red lentils almost disappear into the sauce creating a thick and meaty red sauce without altering the taste. As a bonus, you get an extra dose of plant-based protein, fiber and iron.
Lastly, adding in some spinach for both color and flavor. I’m a sucker for spinach like this and usually end up eating 1/2 the pan before I put it into my lasagna.
Pretty sure I will eat any green that is covered in garlic!
To finish, you’ll layer everything together, ending with a layer of vegan mozzerella cheese (I’m partial to Daiya’s shreds.) Yes, you could leave this step out but I think the addition of cheese on top makes for a more flavorful lasagna.
Enjoy! For the ultimate Italian treat, pair this with my vegan caesar salad and a glass (or three) of red wine.
Vegan Spinach Lasagna with Cashew Ricotta! This is the best dairy-free lasagna recipe; and packed with plant-based protein thanks to two special ingredients.
- 1 (28) ounce can or 2 (14) ounce cans diced peeled tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 (14) ounce can red lentils*
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
- 8 ounces tofu, drained and lightly pressed
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from about 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 cups spinach leaves
- lasagna pasta sheets, either cooked or oven ready
- Grated vegan cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F (180°C).
- Prepare the marinara sauce by heating a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Once the pot is heated, add the marinara sauce ingredients to the pot and allow to come to a boil. Once the sauce is boiling, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes.
- While the marinara sauce is simmering, prepare the cashew ricotta by draining the cashews, adding to a food processor and processing until very crumbly. Add in the tofu, nutritional yeast, salt, basil, oregano, and garlic powder to the base of the food processor and pulse until fairly smooth. It should be similar to the consistency of ricotta. Taste, season as needed and set aside.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil and minced garlic cloves. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring until just fragrant, then stir in the spinach. Cook until just wilted, then remove from heat.
- Once the marinara sauce has finished simmering and the ricotta is done, it’s time to assemble! First, add a thin layer of marinara sauce to the bottom of a 9×9 inch. glass baking dish. Layer lasagna sheets over the marinara sauce and then layer the rest of the ingredients. End with a layer of marinara sauce, then spinach and ricotta. Finally, sprinkle over some grated vegan cheese.
- Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until the top of the lasagna has browned and the cheese has melted.
*If you can’t find canned red lentils, then you’ll want to cook from dry first. Add 1 cup dried red lentils and 3 cups water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes until softened. Drain the lentils, then add to a pot along with the remaining marinara sauce ingredients and simmer for 15-20 minutes. If using dry, then you might need to add in more salt.
Keywords: lasagna, plant-based protein, vegan