When you think of a fresh, hot pan of lasagna, a few choice ingredients surely come to mind — most especially a classic red sauce, multiple layers of noodles, plenty of savory ground beef, and a whole lot of cheese. So what happens when you take the beef and the cheese out of the recipe? Disaster, you say? On the contrary, deliciousness ensues, provided you follow this vegan lasagna recipe from chef and recipe developer Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge.
When asked how closely this vegan lasagna matches up with the decidedly non-vegan classic dish, Olayinka says, "[It’s] definitely close! It’s the cashew cheese — it tastes so creamy [and much] like dairy. I eat lots of vegan food, so when I have a recipe that I can ‘veganise,’ I’m all over it!"
And as for serving ideas, Olayinka adds, "With a salad is definitely best, as this is quite hearty." Now, while the word "vegan" may be a new one for you when speaking of lasagna, "hearty" is a word surely already well associated with the meal.
Gather your ingredients to prepare vegan lasagna
It takes a decent number of ingredients to make this vegan lasagna — a few more than you need for a classic meat and cheese lasagna, anyway, but it’s well worth the bit of extra effort. All told, you’ll need diced yellow onion, a few button mushrooms, some olive oil, 1 cup of rinsed and drained green lentils, 2 cups of cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, water, lasagna noodles, and some vegan cheese. In addition, pick up a large jar of vegan Bolognese-style sauce, and when in doubt of which to choose, go with a more basic marinara.
Prepare the sauce
To start the recipe, you will dice the onions and mushrooms, and then set them aside. Next, rinse and drain the lentils, then set them aside, too. Now, pour the extra-virgin olive oil into a saucepan followed by the chopped onions, chopped mushrooms, and drained green lentils. Put the pan on the stove, and heat it at a medium-high setting.
Next, add the bolognese sauce into the saucepan, and stir everything together well. Then, reduce the heat to a low-medium, and simmer and cook the sauce for 20 minutes.
Create the cashew cheese sauce
While the vegan Bolognese sauce simmers, get another saucepan, and fill it partially with water, then bring the water to a boil. As the water heats, add the cashew nuts, and once it reaches a boil, let them cook in the hot water for five minutes, then drain the nuts. Note that while the nuts are boiling, it’s a great time to preheat your oven to 350 F.
Next, place the drained cashew nuts into a blender followed by nutritional the yeast, salt, and the cup of water, and blend for 20 seconds on high, until it forms a cheese-like sauce. "Just to ensure that you boil the cashews [long enough]," Olayinka says, explaining, "If you don’t, the sauce won’t be smooth [enough]."
Assemble and bake the lasagna
To assemble the lasagna, get an 8×8-inch casserole dish (and lightly grease it if it’s not nonstick), and start by spreading a layer of the lentil bolognese sauce on the bottom. Then, lay in the lasagna sheets, and atop those, spread the cashew cheese sauce.
Repeat the layering process until you reach the top of the casserole dish, and finally spread a last layer of the cashew cheese sauce followed by the shredded vegan cheese. You should cover the top of the lasagna evenly.
Now, place the dish in the oven, and bake it for 35 minutes at 350 F. After 35 minutes, take the lasagna out of the oven, and it’s ready serve immediately. Your kitchen will smell absolutely amazing, and you will have a meal that the entire family will enjoy.
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 button mushrooms, diced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup green lentils, drained
- 17.5 ounces bolognese-style sauce
- 2 cups cashew nuts
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 4 lasagna sheets
- ½ cup vegan cheese
- Dice the onions and mushrooms, and set aside.
- Pour the extra-virgin olive oil into a saucepan followed by the onions, mushrooms, and green lentils, then put the heat on medium-high.
- Add the bolognese sauce into the saucepan, and stir together.
- Reduce the heat to low-medium, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- While this is simmering, get another saucepan, and into it place hot water and cashew nuts. Bring to a boil on high heat for 5 minutes, then drain. While the nuts are simmering, preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Place the drained cashew nuts into a blender followed by the nutritional yeast, salt, and water, and blend for 20 seconds on high until it forms a cheese-like sauce.
- To assemble the lasagna, get an 8×8-inch casserole dish, and first spread a layer of the lentil bolognese sauce, then place the lasagna sheets on top, then spread the cashew cheese sauce on the lasagna sheets.
- Repeat the process until you reach the top of the casserole dish, and finally spread a last layer the cashew cheese sauce followed by vegan cheese to cover the lasagna, coating the top evenly.
- Bake for 35 minutes.
- Serve immediately.