This vegan lasagna is packed with veggies, flavourful and creamy without a shred of fake vegan cheese or tofu!
Of all the different ways you can make vegan lasagna, the tofu ricotta one has to be the worst. It’s so gross! It tastes nothing like ricotta and everything like tofu bathed in tomato sauce, ewww!
Cashews are a better option for making a cheesy sauce. They’re great for the potato and carrot-based vegan mac and cheese recipes, and I usually use cashews as sour cream like for these vegan pierogi. The problem with cashews? They’re expensive!
The solution suddenly came to me after making the video for my Spanish spinach croquettes a couple of weeks ago: béchamel! I could use more or less the same filling for my croquettes but a bit creamier and pile it into a vegan lasagna!
Not that there’s anything innovative about using a béchamel sauce in lasagna; white lasagna is already a thing that the Italians have been doing since, I don’t know, forever. I just realized that by making the béchamel sauce with olive oil and plant-based milk instead of butter and cow’s milk, then adding nutritional yeast, makes a deliciously creamy and cheesy vegan sauce that you won’t get from tofu ricotta!
The other amazing thing about this vegan béchamel sauce is that it gratinates! So my spell check is telling me that gratinate is not a real word (pretty sure it is); what I mean is that the top of your lasagna goes brown and crispy like cheese would do but without the need for any fake, processed vegan cheese product! Win!
Lasagna is notorious for being super difficult and time consuming to make. Yes and no. I’m not gonna lie, this isn’t a quick 30-minute dinner. For this recipe you’re going to make a veggie-packed filling and a creamy béchamel sauce from scratch. The good new though: they’re both super easy! (And if you’re really hard core about making everything from scratch, make your own marinara sauce too. I decided not to in order to save a bit of time!)
The filling is easy: simply fry up your favourite veggies. I’ve always liked mushroom and spinach lasagna, plus I added diced carrot and zucchini this time. You can change this up according to what you like or have on hand.
For the vegan béchamel you’re going to start with a roux. This is just a fancy name for oil and flour cooked for a few minutes until beginning to brown. This is to cook out the raw flour flavour.
Then add plant milk a ladleful at a time, stirring to prevent lumps, until it’s thick and creamy. Occasionally béchamel can be a bit finicky and clump anyway; no worries if it happens to you, simply pass it through a fine mesh strainer once it’s done.
Pile it all together with your lasagna noodles and pop it in the oven. The baking and cooling is the most time-consuming part of this recipe. Let me tell you, it’s sooooo hard to leave it sitting there to cool and not dive in right away! But be warned: it will slide apart if you don’t give it time to set!
Wanna see how vegan lasagna is made? Watch the video and share it on Facebook:
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 600 grams (21 oz) button mushrooms, chopped (use the stems too)
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 400 grams (14 oz) frozen spinach, thawed according to the package directions and squeezed
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- Pepper, to taste
- 2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened plant milk (I used soy)
- 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable stock
- ½ cup (75 grams) flour
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 3 cups (700 ml / about a jar and a half) marinara sauce
- Lasagna noodles
- Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil, the onion and garlic and fry until soft. Add the mushrooms and fry until browned (work in batches if they don’t all fit in your pan at once). Add the carrot and zucchini and fry a couple more minutes until soft. Finally add the thawed spinach, 1 ½ teaspoons of salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 200° C / 400° F.
- Combine the plant milk and stock in a bowl. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil to a pan over medium heat and sift in the flour. Stir well. Cook for 5 - 10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the flour begins to brown and gives off a nutty smell. Add one ladleful of the plant milk-stock mixture and whisk really well until evaporated. Continue adding the liquid one ladleful at a time and always stirring until you get a creamy sauce. If you’re unlucky and get some lumps, pass the sauce through a fine mesh strainer. Finally, stir in the nutritional yeast and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
- In a 28 x 18 x 5 cm (11 x 7 x 2 inch) baking pan, place a layer of marinara sauce, followed by a layer of the béchamel, followed by a layer of lasagna noodles (I put the noodles in uncooked) . Then another layer of marinara, half of your veggie filling, the béchamel and more noodles. Continue with more layers. Finish the top with a layer of marinara and a layer of béchamel. Mix them together a bit so that the colour looks more like cheese.
- Cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then uncover and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until the top begins to brown in places and looks like cheese. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 313Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 1038mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 8gSugar: 6gProtein: 12g
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