As much as my husband and I love lasagna, I’ve found that most of the vegan lasagna recipes out there just aren’t worth the effort. Many of them use tofu with several ingredients added to make it taste like cheese, but it never quite gets there. However, a couple of weeks ago I decided to come up with a vegan lasagna recipe that’s simple and delicious. I had an idea to try combining soaked cashews with a can of hearts of palm to make the ricotta, and the result was better than I’d imagined!
As a busy mom, I didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen assembling a lasagna, so I literally threw this one together in about 20 minutes one morning and baked it a few hours later for dinner. And guess what — my picky husband, who loves to order meat lasagna at restaurants, liked this recipe so much that he got up for seconds! My three-year-old declared it to be “nummy nummy nummy!”
I’ve made this vegan lasagna recipe three or four times so far, using different veggies and brands of lasagna noodles. Each time it was delicious, with the only problem being with the chewiness of the brown rice noodles.
What makes this recipe awesome is the ricotta. I’m particularly proud of it because it was completely my idea out of the blue. I’m a big fan of hearts of palm in my salads, and I even tell Abby that it’s vegan cheese. Combining the salty hearts of palm with the creaminess of the cashews, the tang of lemon juice, and the umami of onion powder makes for a great vegan ricotta! I will definitely be using this ricotta in other recipes in the future.
So what makes this vegan lasagna lazy, you ask? Well, of course I use oven-ready lasagna noodles, plus I use jars of marinara and frozen veggies (or whatever I have on hand). My first lasagna contained frozen spinach and frozen cubes of butternut squash. I didn’t even thaw them, just sprinkled them on top of the ricotta layers! The next few batches contained sliced zucchini from my garden, chopped mushrooms, and more frozen spinach. If you want to add slices of tomatoes, I’m sure those would be delicious too.
What I’ve found with making lasagna is that it’s crucial to use copious amounts of tomato sauce to ensure that there’s enough moisture to cook the noodles. You also may have to adjust the cooking time depending on the type of noodle you choose. Be sure to check out the box’s recommendations and add a few more minutes to that if using frozen veggies.
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in warm water about 1 hr
- 1 can hearts of palm, drained
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- ¼ tsp. onion powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Black pepper
- 1 package oven-ready lasagna noodles*
- 2 cups frozen spinach
- 2-3 cups veggies of choice: frozen butternut squash, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, tomato, mushrooms, etc.
- Optional: chopped fresh basil
- 1½ - 2 jars spaghetti sauce, pref. low sodium (I like Walnut Acres brand)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Make the ricotta. In a food processor, pulse together the cashews, hearts of palm, lemon juice, onion powder, salt and pepper, scraping down the sides as necessary, until you reach a ricotta-like texture. Taste for seasoning.
- In a 9x9 casserole dish, start by spreading about ¾ cup spaghetti sauce in the bottom. Then add a single layer of lasagna noodles, top with half of the ricotta, then sprinkle half of the spinach and other veggies (and fresh basil, if using) on top of the ricotta. Cover veggies with a generous amount of sauce, then repeat layers with more noodles and the rest of the ricotta, spinach, and veggies. Finally, top with another layer of noodles and a generous amount of sauce. Cover with foil and bake 35-40 mins, or according to the noodle package instructions. Poke noodles with a fork to make sure they are cooked thoroughly before serving.
I recommend making this in the morning, keeping it in the fridge, then popping it into the oven to cook for dinner. It makes your day seem much easier!
This dish keeps in the fridge about 4 days and in the freezer 2-3 months.
This vegan lasagna is so simple and tasty, I’m adding it to our regular dinner rotation! I like to serve it with a green salad to have something raw with it, but it really could stand alone as a one-dish meal. The cashews in the ricotta make it extra filling with their protein and healthy fats, and you get your greens from the spinach. Use lentil, quinoa, or bean-based lasagna noodles for extra protein, if needed.
If you try this vegan lasagna, let me know what you think!
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Also try my Spaghetti Squash Pie!