The BEST vegan lasagna ever that also happens to be the easiest and healthiest. No mock meat and cheese here, just simple whole food ingredients. But don't be fooled—this healthy plant-based lasagna is full of flavor! You'll be wanting seconds!
This healthy plant-based lasagna is full of whole food ingredients like whole wheat noodles, lentils, spinach, tofu and tomatoes. I've seen lots of vegan lasagna recipes that use expensive mock meats and cheeses, but you know that's not my style! That's why I wanted to recreate a classic lasagna recipe made vegan with healthy ingredients that you probably already have on hand!
It may be healthy, but it's definitely a crowd pleaser—my husband can't get enough of this recipe! We've made it so many weeks in a row I've lost count. He loves how flavorful this recipe is and the fact that it's actually filling!
What to substitute for cheese in lasagna?
If we're not using a store-bought vegan cheese what do we substitute for the cheese, you ask? It turns out tofu makes an excellent base for vegan ricotta cheese. When blended with a bit of lemon juice, salt, and seasonings, it can take on an almost identical taste and texture to ricotta cheese.
If you have a soy allergy, you can make a ricotta style cheese with cashews as well. Here's my delicious vegan cashew ricotta recipe that's easy to make.
Do lasagna noodles have egg in them?
Traditionally fresh pasta noodles have egg but most store-bought varieties tend to not. Most I've found are made with durum wheat flour (semolina), which is a hearty variety of wheat mainly used in pastas.
Do you need to pre-boil lasagna noodles?
Nope! I've tried it both ways and honestly pre-boiling is not necessary. You just may need to add a little more liquid, about ½ cup water per 5 lasagna noodles and bake it a little longer. Or choose no-boil lasagna noodles. Just make sure the no-boil noodles are egg-free.
Just 11 simple ingredients needed to make this healthy vegan lasagna:
- dried lentils—lentils provide a meaty texture, a perfect replacement for ground beef
- marinara—choose one with no added sugars if you can
- firm tofu
- lime or lemon juice
- nutritional yeast—for making the tofu ricotta more cheesy tasting
- dried basil
- dried oregano
- garlic powder
- whole wheat lasagna noodles—can also sub for a gluten-free lasagna noodle if you prefer
I tried to keep this recipe as simple as possible but here are a few variations you could try:
- Swap the lentils for mushrooms. Mushrooms have a meaty umami flavor as well.
- Add more vegetables like zucchini and peas.
- Use this vegan cashew ricotta instead of the tofu ricotta if you'd prefer it soy-free.
How to make
Making lasagna is so much easier than I realized. Growing up my dad would make it for the family and it always seemed like such a special treat that I assumed it must be difficult and time consuming to make. Well, not this recipe! Preparation can actually be quite fast and layering it takes only a few minutes!
First, cook your lentils if you aren't using canned lentils. I prefer canned because it saves time and just drain and rinse them. If cooking, add 1 cup dried lentils with 3 cups of water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain the lentils and add to a large bowl with the marinara sauce. Mix to combine. Set aside.
To make the Tofu Ricotta, squeeze the tofu over a sink to remove any excess liquid (doesn't have to be pressed like usual because a bit of liquid will help it become smoother), then crumble into a food processor or blender. Add the rest of the Tofu Ricotta ingredients and blend until well combined.
Assemble the lasagna in layers. Start by adding about 1 cup of marinara lentil mixture to the bottom of a large 9 x 13 inch casserole dish or lasagna pan. Spread it around evenly. Next add 4-5 lasagna noodles (uncooked). You may need to break the noodles to get them to fit in one layer. Then spread half of the Tofu Ricotta on top of the noodles. Top with half of the spinach. Add another cup of the marinara mixture over the spinach, then place 4-5 lasagna noodles on top. Spread the rest of the Ricotta over the noodles, then the rest of the spinach. Place 4-5 more noodles on top of the spinach, and then pour the rest of the sauce over the top, evenly.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 375°F (190°C). Uncover and continue baking another 15 minutes or until the noodles are soft and can be sliced through easily with a knife. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
How to store
Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for longer. Slice into individual servings before freezing. Reheat individual servings in the microwave or oven as needed.
Make in advance
Instead of baking, wrap tightly with foil and refrigerate until ready to bake. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking to allow lasagna to get back to room temperature.
Want more hearty meatless meals?
Check out these recipes:
Vegan Enfrijoladas (super filling tortillas stuffed with mashed potatoes and smothered in a black bean sauce)
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Easy & Healthy Vegan Lasagna
- 2 ½ cups green lentils, cooked, drained and rinsed
- 50 oz marinara sauce, 2 X 25oz jars as the recipe is written
- 1 box no-boil whole wheat lasagna noodles
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 20 oz firm tofu
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tbsp lemon juice, or lime juice
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- First, cook your lentils as needed or use canned lentils to save time. If cooking, add 1 cup dried lentils with 3 cups of water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain the lentils and add to a large bowl with the marinara sauce. Mix to combine. Set aside.
- Make the Tofu Ricotta: Squeeze the tofu over a sink to remove excess liquid, then crumble into a food processor or blender. Add the rest of the Tofu Ricotta ingredients and blend until well combined.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Assemble the lasagna: Add about 1 cup of marinara lentil mixture to the bottom of a large 9 x 13 inch casserole dish or lasagna pan. Spread it around evenly. Next add 4-5 lasagna noodles (uncooked). Spread half of the Tofu Ricotta on top of the noodles. Top with half of the spinach. Add about 1 cup of the marinara mixture over the spinach, then place 4-5 lasagna noodles on top. Spread the rest of the Ricotta over the noodles, then the rest of the spinach. Place 4-5 more noodles on top of the spinach, and then pour the rest of the sauce over the top, evenly.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking another 15 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Nutrition Per Serving
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