The Only Vegan Lasagne Recipe You’ll Ever Need
Truth be told, we have come across some absolutely ghastly recipes for vegan lasagne over the years. Which sort of makes us the right and wrong people to be penning this post at the same time!
Jokes aside, most typical vegan lasagne recipes result in a little more than a tray of red hot slop. The whole thing comes together to form one unappetising ‘blob’ of zero appeal. Not completely all fall in terms of taste, but far from what you would call an enjoyable dining experience.
Today, we will be sharing way you the only vegan lasagne recipe we have found to date that we actually like. Though frankly, we don’t just like it - we are absolutely in love with it. You could genuinely set this in front of somebody who doesn’t believe in vegan cheesy dishes and I guarantee they would wolf it down.
It can even be made 100% gluten-free, with a few simple tweaks.
Shy of the fact that it’s missing the meat, there’s almost nothing about this plant-based recipe that distinguishes it from traditional lasagne. Best of all, there’s also limitless scope for experimentation. Just as long as you get the basics right with the vegan substitutes, the rest is wide open to your own interpretation.
And just like all good lasagne recipes, you can make it in advance and serve it reheated a good few days later. It also freezes like a dream, making it great for batch cooking when planning ahead for busy times.
What Makes this Vegan Lasagne Recipe So Special?
We’ll be diving into the full recipe in all its glory a little later. Before that, it’s worth listing the three things that makes this recipe absolutely epic.
1) The fantastic homemade cashew cream
The creamy bechamel-type sauce that goes into vegan lasagne can be purchased ready made. Unfortunately, it’s never quite as good as the homemade stuff. It can also be loaded with synthetic additives, which you can eliminate from the equation entirely by making your own.
The formula for the cashew cream in this is basically the same as for making your own vegan cream. All you need is a bunch of cashews, some water and a (very) capable blender. You can even get away without soaking the cashews if your blender is powerful enough, but we find the best results come courtesy of soaked cashews.
2) All the amazing veggies you care to throw in
There’s almost nothing you can’t get away with putting into this amazing dish. Onions, mushrooms, carrots, garlic, spinach, courgettes, butternut squash, red and green peppers - absolutely anything you fancy.
This also provides plenty of scope for making it a seriously healthy dish. Far more so than any comparable lasagne.
3) The gift of vegan parmesan
Throw together some onion powder, garlic powder, nutritional yeast and ground hemp seeds and voila - DIY parmesan that’s surprisingly similar to the real thing.
This dish is finished with a liberal dowsing of the leftover cashew cream on top, followed by plenty of vegan parmesan for an extra cheesy finish. Sprinkle with a few chopped basil leaves to round it off and seriously - oven-baked perfection!
Serving the Ultimate Vegan Lasagne
There’s so much goodness in a portion of this stuff that you could easily get away with serving it on its own. That said, it goes absolutely fantastically with a crisp side salad, or an additional serving of roasted vegetables.
The sky really is the limit - we know some people who serve it up with a baked potato or oven chips! Roasted Brussels sprouts also pair beautifully with the flavour of the main dish, as do flame roasted peppers.
Vegan Lasagne Ingredients
As mentioned, one of the best things about this recipe is the way in which it opens the door to experimentation. You can get away with making just about as many swaps as you like, but keep the cashew cream as close to the original formula as you can.
Though feel free to toss as many different herbs and spices in there as you like, along with some extra nutritional yeast if looking to create a delightfully cheesy sauce.
Here are the ingredients that go into the cashew cream:
- 300g raw cashews (not salted, roasted etc)
- 250ml water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
As for the vegetables, the basic recipe calls for the following:
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large white onion
- 2 large carrots, finely chopped
- 250g white mushrooms, chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 200g baby spinach leaves, chopped
- 2 crushed cloves garlic
And the rest of the stuff you will need:
- 400g tomato pasta sauce (bought or homemade)
- Pack of lasagne sheets
- Vegan parmesan
- Nutritional yeast
- Fresh basil
Note: You can keep things as simple as you like with the tomato sauce, or go for something elaborate. Some swear by nothing more than a jar of passata, maybe with a sprinkling of herbs. Others like to get creative with their own concoctions, sautéing onions and veggies gently for a good 15 minutes before blending with a tin of tomatoes.
Of course, a jar of branded pasta sauce will also work - if you’d prefer not to make a mess!
(It’s highly recommended to soak your cashews in water for at least 4 hours, prior to drying them off and blending them. It’s technically possible to get away with blending raw cashews that haven’t been soaked in a powerful blender, but you’ll get better results by soaking them.)
- Start out by preheating the oven to around 200° C. In the meantime, drain your cashews and give them a good rinse under the tap, before drying them with some kitchen towel.
- Place the cashews in the blender with the water, lemon juice, salt, vinegar and mustard. You can also toss in any other flavours you want to add to the mix, including some nutritional yeast if you like. Blend aggressively until the mixture is as smooth and creamy as possible. Scrape the mixture from the sides as you go, adding more water if necessary to keep the consistency as you like it. Set aside until needed.
- Now’s the time to prepare the vegetables, which is as simple as chopping them to an appropriate size and frying them over a medium heat for 10 minutes or so. Fry the carrots, mushrooms and onions in a little olive oil, adding salt and pepper to taste as you go.
- After around 10 minutes, pop in a little more olive oil and begin adding the spinach until it wilts down. You can now also add garlic and continue cooking for another few minutes, taking care not to burn it. Set the pan to one side.
- Take a lasagne dish and begin building the whole thing in the normal style. Start out with a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom, followed by a layer of the vegetable mix and a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat the process incorporating a layer of the cashew cream, continuing until the dish is full. You can actually stack the whole thing in any configuration you like, so go with your gut.
- Ensure you save enough cashew cream to spread a thin layer over the top of the final layer of lasagne sheets. On top of this final layer of cashew cream, sprinkle plenty of vegan parmesan (or your preferred melty vegan cheese) and the herbs of your choosing.
- Cover the dish in a minimum foil and bake in the centre of the oven for around 25 minutes. After which, the dish should be rotated in the oven and the foil removed, allowing it to cook for another 5 to 10 minutes until it’s all bubbly-brown and getting crispy.
- Removed from the oven, allow 15 minutes or so to cool slightly and apply another generous sprinkling of vegan parmesan. Finish with a bunch of roughly torn basil leaves and serve to your adoring guests!
Cooked, cooled and divided into portions, this lasagne keeps beautifully in the fridge for up to three days. It can also be frozen indefinitely, though be sure to thaw each portion out fully before reheating.
Reheating in the microwave is by far the quickest and easiest option, particularly if only looking to reheat a single portion.
Last but not least, one of the dreamiest ways of serving up this vegan lasagne is with a dangerously generous quantity of vegan garlic bread. Arm yourself with some fresh ciabatta, a block of vegan butter, some salt, pepper and LOTS of garlic and seriously…you’re in for something amazing!