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!
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.
Now, my mind is swirling with a seasonal lasagna recipe like pumpkin or squash lasagna. I think that would be really good!