A veggie-packed vegan lasagna that’s super flavourful and creamy. This healthy lasagna has no tofu, no nuts, and no fake cheese products!
What makes this vegan lasagna the best?
This lasagna recipe takes simple ingredients and pantry staples and turns them into the ultimate vegan comfort food.
You won’t need any expensive and unhealthy vegan meat substitutes or plastic-y and un-meltable vegan cheese.
This recipe is also great for people with nut allergies as the white sauce is not made from cashews.
The filling is made from healthy fresh vegetables and not some weird tofu ricotta concoction.
The solution for making a vegan lasagna recipe without cheese came to me after making the video for my Spanish spinach croquettes a couple of weeks ago: béchamel!
Not that there’s anything innovative about using a béchamel sauce in lasagna; white lasagna is already a thing that Italians have been doing forever.
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.
What you’ll need:
Here’s a rundown of the ingredients that you’ll need to make this recipe.
Noodles: Your choice of lasagna sheets. While most are vegan, it’s a good idea to check the ingredients for egg.
Olive oil: For sautéing the fresh veggies and also for the béchamel sauce.
Onion and Garlic: For the flavor base.
Mushrooms: This gives the “meatiness” to the filling. If the stems are not too dirty I like to use them too.
Carrot: Adds a little bit of sweetness. Finely diced.
Zucchini: Zucchini makes a great “filler” ingredient. Also finely diced.
Spinach: I use frozen spinach because it’s more economical and for a recipe like this there isn’t much of an advantage to using fresh spinach.
Seasoning: Just some salt and pepper but if you want to use any herbs like oregano or basil you can.
Plant-based milk: Make sure it’s unsweetened. I like to use soy because it’s the most neutral-flavoured. Some unsweetened milks like oat and rice have a little natural sweetness that is a bit weird in savoury recipes.
Vegetable stock: Helps to balance the flavour of the white sauce and make it more savoury so that the soy flavor (or whatever plant-based milk you’re using) isn’t overpowering.
Flour: To thicken the white sauce.
Nutritional yeast: Adds cheesiness to the sauce.
Marinara sauce: I like to use a jarred sauce to save time. If you want to make it all from scratch, there are lots of delicious homemade marinara sauce recipes online.
How to make vegan lasagna
Do you need to boil lasagna noodles?
It depends on if you have bought standard or no-boil lasagna sheets.
I developed this recipe using no-boil pasta. The vegetables and sauces have enough liquid to cook the pasta in the oven.
If you have standard sheets that require boiling, please follow the package instructions for boiling before assembling the lasagna.
Prepare the filling
Sauté the mushrooms: First heat some oil and fry the onion and garlic until tender and fragrant. Then add the chopped mushrooms. In order for the mushrooms to brown rather than steam, don’t crowd the pan. If necessary, work in two batches, removing the first batch to a plate before adding the second.
Sauté the vegetables: Now add the carrot and zucchini to the pan and fry until tender. Before adding in the thawed spinach, squeeze it between your hands to get out as much water as possible. Combine the cooked veggies, mushrooms and spinach and season with salt and pepper.
Prepare the vegan lasagna sauce
To make vegan béchamel first combine the milk and stock in a bowl. Then heat the oil in a pan and add the flour. This is to cook out the raw flour taste.
When it begins to toast and smell a bit nutty, add one ladle of the liquid mixture. The trick to avoiding a lumpy sauce is to add the liquid little by little and whisk the heck out of it.
Sometimes lumps form anyway, it happens to the best of us, but you can pass the sauce through a strainer to remove them.
Once you’ve added all the liquid you should have a creamy sauce. Now you can add the nutritional yeast to give it a cheesy taste.
This vegan béchamel will thicken as it cools so it’s not a good idea to make it too far in advance of assembling the lasagna. But you can cover it to retain some heat and re-heat it over low heat if it starts to thicken before you’re ready to use it.
Assemble the lasagna
Spread a layer of marinara sauce and a layer of béchamel on the bottom of your baking pan. Now add a layer of pasta. If the noodles don’t fit nicely into your pan, you can break them (if they’re no boil noodles) or cut them (if they’re cooked noodles).
Top the pasta with another layer of marinara and then spread over half your cooked vegetable mixture.
On top of the veggies, spread another layer of béchamel and another layer of noodles. Now repeat with the marinara, the other half of the veggie mixture, béchamel and noodles.
Finally, top the lasagna with marinara sauce and béchamel. I like to swirl them together with the back of my spoon. It makes it look more like cheese after it’s baked.
Cover the baking pan with foil and bake in a pre-heated 200° C / 400° F oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes to allow the top to brown.
Now, I know it’s hard to resist but you need to let it cool for 30 minutes before slicing. If you try to slice it while it’s piping hot, the layers will slide apart. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
What to serve with vegan lasagna
Steamed veggies: This lasagna is pretty veggie-packed as it is but you can always add more! Try some steamed broccoli, green beans or asparagus on the side.
Garlic bread: Garlic bread is super easy to veganize by using vegan butter. Or try these super fun vegan garlic knots instead.
How to store leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 - 4 days. To reheat, transfer to an oven-safe pan and cover with foil. Bake at 200° C / 400° F until warmed through.
Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
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
- If using noodles that require pre-cooking, prepare them according to the package directions. If using no-boil noodles, skip this step.
- 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. 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