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.
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.
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 all three recipes, and do any chopping or other prep as well (mise en place).
2. Start the sauce on the stove or in the pressure cooker.
3. While the sauce is cooking, make the Savory Cashew Cream.
4. Make the Vegan Spinach Ricotta. You don’t even have to clean out the blender or food processor after making the cashew cream!
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.
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 @eatwithinyourmeans and #eatwithinyourmeans on Instagram. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- 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 ¾ 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 ½ cup of cashew cream.
- Cover casserole dish tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes.
- Uncover 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.
- Serves 9.
- 2 28 oz. cans crushed tomatoes (I love the Muir Glen brand with basil)
- 1 large sweet potato, diced (about 2 cups)
- ½ cup red lentils, picked over and rinsed in a fine mesh strainer
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
- 1 tsp. dried oregano, optional
- 1 tsp. olive oil, optional
- 2½ cups water
- Heat 4 quart (or larger) saucepan over medium heat.
- 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.
- Serve as desired.
- 2 cups raw cashews (see note about soaking methods if not using a high-speed blender)
- 1 cup water
- 1 heaping tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. chickpea miso (any light miso will work), optional
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 T. white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or coconut vinegar
- Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor until creamy and smooth.
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 package firm or extra-firm tofu, drained (1 package is typically 10-12 oz.)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach (or 1 cup frozen spinach)
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves*
- 2 cloves of garlic**
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. light miso (white, yellow, or chickpea)
- 2 T. nutritional yeast
- In a food processor or blender, pulse cashews, garlic, miso, salt, and nutritional yeast until the mixture if fine and crumbly.
- Add the tofu, spinach, and basil and pulse to throughly combine.
- Use immediately or store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to a week. It won’t last that long.
** Or two cubes of Dorot frozen garlic
Tip: The spinach ricotta freezes well, so you might wish to double the recipe and stash the second half in the freezer for future lasagna, zucchini roll-ups, or calzones. If you do this, make the ricotta in two batches, otherwise it will be too much for the food processor to handle all at once.