Are you feeling as well rested as I am today? I could seriously bounce off the walls right now and there isn’t a lick of caffeine in my body. Man, the extra hour is the best…aside from that whole getting dark earlier thing. That really put a wrinkle in my lasagna dinner photography plans last night!
Want to know a secret?
I’ve never made lasagna before! Not even before I became a vegan. Back then, the best thing I cooked was popcorn in my popcorn maker and frozen dinners.
Anyways, I always loved eating lasagna, but assumed it was super difficult to make. Well, it turns out that it’s not as bad as I imagined…like everything in life. (Thank you anxiety.) This lasagna was quite easy even for an experienced popcorn maker like myself. And if you’re a multi-tasker in the kitchen like I am things move along even quicker.
How do you make a vegan lasagna taste as good as its non-vegan counterpart?
Above all, it must have a creamy and cheese-like flavour. Most vegan lasagna recipes use a tofu-based “ricotta” cheese, but I wanted to try something different for my recipe. As a cheese replacer, I made a Lemon Basil Cashew Cheeze which I adapted from my Stuffed Portabella Pizza recipe. I absolutely loved it in this lasagna and it gave it a really luxurious creamy and cheesy flavour.
The first thing you do is make this cheeze spread in your food processor. I did this ahead of time and just kept it in a sealed container in the fridge until I was ready to make my lasagna.
I also saved time by using bottled pasta sauce (1.5 bottles), but you can make homemade marinara sauce if you prefer!
The next thing I did was sauté the vegetables. I chopped 1 sweet onion, 1 large red pepper, 2 small zucchini, 1 cup of cremini mushrooms, and minced 3 garlic cloves.
(I love the sunset light beaming into my kitchen at this time!)
While the vegetables are sautéing, you can boil your noodles. The best lasagna making tip that I can give you is to slightly undercook your lasagna noodles. I cooked mine for about 8 minutes and then quickly rinsed them with cold water. No one wants mushy noodles in a lasagna! I used Kamut noodles and they were very tasty.
Once that is done, it’s time to start layering your lasagna. I took step-by-step pictures to help guide you along the process. So yea…if you’re not taking a bazillion photos it should move along even quicker!
- I used about 1 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.
- Use half of your basil cheeze for the 1st layer and the rest for the second layer. Ditto for the vegetables!
- You can add as much or as little cheese on top as you prefer. I think I used about 1 cup?
At this point you can wrap it up and put it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it, or you can bake it right away like I did.
After layering, bake in the oven, covered with tin foil, for 40-45 minutes at 400F and then remove the tinfoil and broil it over medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, watching closely.
That wasn’t so bad, right?
We also have a ton of leftovers to enjoy for lunches all week long!
Would I change anything next time?
The only thing I would add next time is to crumble a couple of my favourite Amy’s California burgers (pre-cooked?) onto a layer of the lasagna. I think that would give it a great “ground-beef” like texture. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing!
We both gobbled up two big pieces and Eric packed some for his lunch today. I’d say it was a success!
Vegan Lasagna with Basil Cashew Cheeze
I like my lasagna with lots of sauce and lots of vegetables, but you can tailor your version to your own preference. The best part about lasagna is that it can be adapted so many ways.
For the Cheeze:
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 30 mins or overnight
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth or water (or more as needed)
- 1.5 cups fresh basil leaves (lightly packed)
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (gives the cheese flavour)
- 3/4-1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste) + freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
For the Lasagna:
- 454 g Box of lasagna noodles*
- 1.5 bottles of pasta sauce or use homemade marinara sauce
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 sweet onion, chopped (2.5 cups)
- 2 small zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 large red pepper, chopped
- 1 large handful spinach
- 2 pre-cooked veggie burgers, crumbled (optional)
- Lemon Basil Cheeze Sauce (from above)
- Daiya cheese (as much as desired)
- Drain and rinse soaked cashews. With the food processor turned on, drop in your garlic cloves and process until chopped. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large skillet, sautee onion and garlic over low-medium heat for 5 minutes. Now add in the rest of the veggies and sautee for another 10-15 minutes. *Season well with Herbamare or kosher salt and black pepper.* This is key or you will have bland tasting vegetables in your lasagna.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil. Boil lasagna noodles for 8 minutes, drain, and rinse immediately with cold water.
- Add 1 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of your casserole dish. Add a layer of noodles, half the basil cheeze sauce, half the vegetables, more pasta sauce, another layer of noodles, veggie burger crumbles (optional), the rest of the cheeze sauce, the rest of the vegetables, more pasta sauce, and finally a sprinkle of cheese.
- Cover with tinfoil and prick with fork a few times. Bake at 400°F for 40-45 minutes and then remove tinfoil and broil for 5 minutes on medium. Watch closely so you don’t burn the edges. Remove and serve. Will keep in the fridge for at least 3-4 days.
- * I cooked an entire box of noodles (16 oz) and had 6 noodles leftover. This will depend on how large your casserole dish is. My dish is a bit small, although I’m not sure of the actual size.
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
Now, my mind is swirling with a seasonal lasagna recipe like pumpkin or squash lasagna. I think that would be really good!
Don’t forget, today is the last day to enter my giveaway!
I made this October 7, 2018. My son and daughter-in-law are vegan so I decided to give it a try. I know my daughter-in-law does not like spicy so I improvised with the Djion mustard by only adding 1 tps. instead of 1 Tbps. The Basil Cheese was very yummy but I didn’t have 1.5 cups of it but just used what I had. It tasted really great.
I also used gluten-free oven ready noodles, I did cook them for about 7 minutes just to soften them as my son does not like crusty bits. I also used a different shredded cheese which melts when heated, along with pieces of Chao’s yellow sliced cheese broken in pieces. I was impressed with my first try. I made it ahead and cooked it the next day was even better as left overs.
Hi Norma, Thank you so much for your review! I’m so glad that it worked out so well :)
Received this recipe from the Vancouver Humane Society as part of their Meatless Monday campaign. I have two of your books and love them, but didn’t find this recipe in either. Plan on making the lasagna this week and was wondering if you could share the nutritional info with me. When I click on the + next to Nutritional Information in the recipe nothing comes up. Thanks, and can hardly wait to try my hand at your lasagna…will use the Amy’s vegan burgers too.
Hey Mary Ann, Thank you so much for your support for my books. :) I appreciate it so much. Unfortunately I don’t have the nutritional info for this recipe yet…we’ve just added it to all app recipes (as well as any app recipe that also is on the blog) and then all the recent blog ones have it. Hopefully we’ll have everything in at some point!
This recipe is fabulous ! Made it last week as a dry run for the holidays! Making it again next Sunday for family festive get-together and again on the 23rd. So happy to have tried this recipe. It’s a favourite for sure! Yum yum!
Thanks for your feedback Victoria! Have a great get-together…I’m so glad this will be part of the spread :)
I’ve made this several times as per the recipe and it is absolutely fantastic! Interestingly, my husband and his brother found it a bit rich (I’d say that’s a bit rich, as they both eat meat and dairy!). But, I figured I’d try to tone it down a wee bit, so tonight I prepared the cheeze sauce with 1/2 cup soaked cashews and 1/2 cup cooked white kidney beans. It was delicious! (I might even try 1/4 c cashews 3/4 c beans next time.)
This is a favorite of mine! Many family members want to run when you say “vegan” they think “yuk” but I don’t say anything, I serve it and they want the recipe! When I say it’s vegan, they say “no way”. Lol!
I am very excited to try this recipe! I would like to make this ahead and freeze it to bring to your family Christmas gathering. Any advice on this?
Hey Alicia, what a great idea! I hope your family loves the lasagna. I haven’t tried freezing it myself so can’t say for sure, but I think your best bet would be to make the lasagna as directed (leaving off the pre-cooked veggie burgers and Daiya shredded cheese, if using), cover and freeze, and then thaw on the counter before baking as directed. You could sprinkle on the dairy-free cheese and burger crumble just before popping back in the oven to reheat. You may find the texture of the basil cashew cheeze changes slightly upon thawing, but I don’t think it will impact the flavour much. I’d love to hear how it goes if you try! :)
I did it and it was AMAZING! It received RAVE reviews even from the non-vegans!
I made it as directed (I did not make it with the veggie burger crumble) and froze it all. I did not unthaw and cooked it at 350 for about an hour and a half. I have made it since, did not freeze it, and it tasted the same. SO GOOD!! Thank you!
That’s great news! Thank you :) And thanks for sharing how you cooked it…awesome that it worked so well.
This lasagna is so wonderful! I made it to bring share with my family this past week over the holiday, and everyone who was willing to give it a chance loved it. My husband said that it was better than the non-vegan lasagna, because it has way more depth of flavor and creativity. This recipe is a keeper for sure. Thank you!
Wow that is so great to hear :) Thanks for your review!
Odd question. I have made this recipe 100x because it’s amazing but I really want to try to attempt it in my crockpot. Do you think it can be done or am I crazy? Any advice? Thanks!
Hey Megan, Oh I’m so happy you love it as much as we do! Interesting question…I’m not sure to be honest. What I might suggest is to see if you can find a slow cooker lasagna recipe online (I’m sure they exist) and then read it over to see how they make it and how much time, etc. I hope this helps and I’d love to hear how it goes :)
Hi Angela! I tried it in the slow cooker today and it worked perfectly! I used oven ready whole wheat noodles. I still sauteed and seasoned all the veggies before layering it in the crockpot. I cooked it on low for 3.5 hours. It was amazing and now it’s something I can prepare early in the morning and have my fiance turn on mid afternoon and it’s ready when I get home from work. :)
This has been a favourite recipe of mine for years for me! However, the nutritional information is missing and I would like to know how many calories there are per portion?
Thank you in advance,
I am making this for a dinner party this weekend and I was planning on making a double recipe and putting it in one of those big disposable pans. Since 3 cups of fresh basil is kind of hard to find in December I was wondering if I can use dried basil and if so how much should I use? Thank you so much!
I am making a double batch for a dinner party this weekend and I was wondering if I could use dried basil in the cashew cheese since 3 cups of fresh basil would be hard to find and expensive this time of year. If so how much should I use and would I still make the cashew cheese the same way or would I need to change it somehow?
It’s my first time to make lasagna EVER and this recipe is soo delicious this competes with restaurant/store bought meat lasagna meal! I love that your recipe did not use tofu for its base cheese!
Thank you Angela! I’ve been trying your recipes and so far so good! It makes my transition to vegan easier!
Made this last night with my favorite marinara (Prego Traditional) and it was lovely. I like how the cheese turns a little green from the basil. I added meat crumbles, directly defrosted in my microwave as a layer on top of the sauteed veggies. Was delicious! I was nervous about using so much nutritional yeast in the cheese, but it turned out great!
One of my absolute faves! A regular ‘go to’ the whole family loves.
I make some changes each time, ie: add more/different veggies, double the cashew basil cheeze, etc. I also don’t use the ‘meat’ crumbles or vegan cheese, as I personally don’t care for either. I just use more veggies and sauce instead.
I overall LOVE this recipe. A must try!
Has anyone tried sticking it in the freezer before baking for use on another day? ? I was planning to make it this week but ran out of time before leaving for a vacation. I would love to not waste all the produce.
I made this a few times and t’s amazing. My question is: Can I make it two days in advance of the dinner party I want to serve it at and keep it uncooked in the fridge?
I haven’t had lasagna in years and then I found your recipe. OMG..this was so delicious!!! This goes in the regular rotation.
Looks like a great recipe. If you ferment cashew cream before using it in a recipe like this (i.e., make cashew yogurt, which is easy to do in an instant pot), it will give it a more cheesy taste. I would avoid the Daiya cheese and most commercial veggie burgers, as they’re highly processed foods with “not great” nutritional profiles. Also, as someone who must watch sodium levels, I would be careful about salt levels in this recipe (which are high in commercial vegan cheeses and burgers–another reason not to use them). Commercial marinara sauce also is often high in sodium. I love vegan food; however, commercial and restaurant versions are too often “salt bombs.” (BTW, the “nutritional info” link didn’t work for me when clicked on it here.)