Classic lasagna al forno with veggie bolognese and béchamel sauce according to mom’s traditional Italian recipe, but made vegan without meat! This meat-less lasagna is quick and easy to make ahead and tastes incredibly delicious!
The Best Vegan Lasagna alla Mama
My mom is not Italian, but we love Italian cuisine, especially pasta dishes! Also, bolognese lasagna is a favorite that not only kids love, but adults too! The pasta casserole is uncomplicated and easy to make, very versatile, absolutely delicious and convinces even picky eaters! So in other words: it’s the perfect dish for everyone!
Plus, this pasta casserole can be assembled one day ahead and baked the next day. This not only saves time when you’re busy, but also makes the dish more flavorful! Since Italian lasagna al forno has so many advantages, it often comes to the table of many families and is always a hit!
Classic meat-less lasagna
Classic lasagna al forno originates from the Italian city “Bologna”. It consists of several layers of pasta sheets, ragù alla Bolognese, béchamel sauce and parmesan cheese and is baked in the oven until golden brown.
While traditional Bolognese lasagna alla Mama’s original recipe is made with ground beef, I use a vegan meat alternative from a German brand that is made of peas in my plant-based version. The vegan mince has almost exactly the same properties, texture, and protein content as conventional ground beef, but is much healthier and contains no soy, palm fat, or chemical additives! However, feel free to use your favorite brand or another meat alternative like crumbled tofu or lentils.
I‘m sure, no one will notice that this lasagna is vegan unless you tell them! 😉
Classic béchamel sauce is traditionally made with milk, butter and flour. The preparation is also very quick and easy, because you only need to make a roux and then slowly stir in the milk until you get a creamy sauce. You can use it not only to gratinate casseroles, vegetables, potatoes and more, but also to thicken soups and sauces. For my quick vegan béchamel sauce recipe, I simply swap the dairy milk and butter for plant-based alternatives.
Ingredients for this recipe
I kept this veggie lasagna recipe original Italian without any fancy stuff. Therefore, you’ll only need a few plant-based ingredients to make it.
For the Bolognese lasagna
- Olive oil: or another oil for frying.
- Vegan mince: some recipe alternatives are mentioned below in the tips and notes.
- Vegetables: garlic cloves, onions, carrots and celery.
- Red wine: optional for more flavor and a more intense aroma.
- Tomatoes: strained and chopped tomatoes as well as tomato paste.
- Italian herbs: a mixture of oregano, basil and thyme goes very well.
- Salt and pepper: to taste.
- Lasagna sheets: no-boil or oven-ready. You can also use a gluten-free lasagna pasta brand.
- Toppings: optional vegan grated cheese or vegan parmesan or both.
For the béchamel sauce
- Vegan butter: or margarine.
- Flour: all-purpose, wheat flour or gluten-free flour.
- Soy milk: or any other unsweetened plant milk you like.
- Spices: Salt, pepper, nutmeg and optional nutritional yeast flakes or vegan parmesan for a cheesy flavor.
How to make Vegan Bolognese Lasagna al forno
As always, I recommend checking out this step-by-step instruction and the recipe video first. Then you‘ll find the full recipe with exact measurements in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Cook the bolognese sauce
First, cook the vegan ground beef according to package directions until crumbly and set aside. Next, sauté the onions, carrots, and celery. Then add garlic, tomato paste and Italian herbs and sauté for a few seconds.
Now stir in the vegan ground beef, deglaze with red wine and let it boil down briefly. Then stir in strained and chopped tomatoes, season with a little salt and pepper. Simmer the Bolognese sauce for about 15 minutes with the lid on.
Tip: The longer the bolognese simmers, the more aromatic it becomes. I usually prepare the sauce the day before so that the flavors can unfold overnight in the refrigerator.
Step 2: Cook the béchamel sauce
First, melt the vegan butter in a saucepan. Then stir in the flour and sweat for 1 minute. Now slowly add the soy milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg and nutritional yeast flakes.
Step 3: Layer the lasagna
First spread some Bolognese sauce thinly on the bottom of your baking dish. Then alternate layers of lasagna, bolognese and Béchamel on top. Finish with a thick layer of Béchamel sauce and lastly sprinkle some vegan cheese and/or vegan parmesan on top.
Bake the vegan lasagna al forno for about 45 minutes in a preheated oven at 392 °F (200 °C). Then allow to cool slightly while the lasagna becomes more sliceable. Finally, garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!
Tip: If the top browns too quickly, you can cover the casserole with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Recipe Tips and Notes
- Meal Prep: The Bolognese sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge until needed. You can also layer the veggie lasagna one day ahead and bake the next day. I find it tastes even better when it’s been sitting for a while.
- Béchamel: Instead of vegan béchamel sauce, you can make a cashew sauce if you prefer.
- Cheese alternative: Instead of vegan cheese, you can also make cashew ricotta or vegan mozzarella and use it for gratinating. Of course, you can also omit the “cheese” altogether.
- More vegetables? If you want more veggies in your lasagna, you can replace half of the vegan ground beef with roasted veggies like finely chopped mushrooms, zucchini or eggplant. You could also cook lentils or crumbled tofu and use instead.
- Low-Carb: For a low-carb lasagna, you can replace some of the pasta sheets with zucchini or eggplant slices like in my Lentil Zucchini Lasagne or Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.
How can I store leftover lasagna?
Leftover veggie lasagna can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days. Then, when you want to serve it, simply reheat it, covered, in the oven or microwave. If it is too dry, simply drizzle a little water over it. You can also freeze your pasta gratin in batches for longer storage, then thaw and reheat at any time.
This veggie lasagna is:
- Meat-free – Vegan, Vegetarian
- Dairy-free (lactose-free)
- Can be made gluten-free
- Quick and easy
- Rich in protein
- A great recipe for the while family
- Perfect for Meal Prep, lunch and dinner
- Incredibly delicious!
More Vegan Oven Recipes to try
- Pumpkin Pasta Bake
- Broccoli Mac and Cheese Casserole
- Potato Bake
- Mexican Tortilla Casserole
- Lentil Zucchini Lasagne
- Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins
- Baked Potatoes with Herb Dip
- Turkish Stuffed Eggplants
If you try this easy vegan bolognese lasagna recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you share a photo of your delicious pasta dish on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Happy cooking! 🙂
The Best Vegan LasagnaAuthor:
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lbs (500 g) vegan ground beef
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 carrots chopped
- 2 stalks of celery chopped
- ½ cup (120 ml) red wine optional
- 14 oz (400 g) strained tomatoes
- 14 oz (400 g) chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Italian herbs mixture of oregano, basil, thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- 9-12 lasagna sheets no-boil or oven-ready
*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step pictures above!
- Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan and fry the vegan ground beef according to package directions until crumbly. Then set aside.
- Heat the remaining oil in a large deep pan or pot. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent. Then add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Next, add tomato paste and Italian herbs and sauté for a few seconds.
- Now stir in the vegan ground beef. Then deglaze with red wine and let it boil down briefly. Now stir in strained and chopped tomatoes, season with a little salt and pepper and simmer the Bolognese sauce for about 15 minutes with a lid on it until it has thickened well. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed and allow to cool slightly.
- Melt the vegan butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Then whisk in the flour and sweat for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Now slowly add the soy milk and bring to a boil, continuing to stir until the sauce thickens. Season to taste with salt, pepper, nutmeg and nutritional yeast flakes. Then remove from heat and set aside.
Layer the lasagna
- Preheat the oven to 392 °F (200 °C). Brush a baking dish with a little oil.
- First spread a thin layer of Bolognese sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Then alternate layers of lasagna sheets, bolognese and béchamel on top. Finish with a thick layer of béchamel sauce. Finally, sprinkle with some vegan grated cheese and/or vegan Parmesan and bake the lasagna for about 45 minutes in the preheated oven (if the top browns too quickly, you can cover it with parchment paper or aluminum foil).
- Let the lasagna cool down a bit while it becomes more sliceable. Then garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!
- The Bolognese sauce can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- You can assemble the lasagna one day ahead, then let sit in the fridge overnight and bake the next day. I find that it tastes even better that way.
- Instead of béchamel sauce, you can also make a cashew sauce.
- Instead of vegan cheese, you can use homemade cashew ricotta or vegan mozzarella for topping, or omit the "cheese" completely.
- If you like, feel free to replace half of the vegan ground beef with 1 cup cooked lentils or sautéed vegetables such as finely chopped mushrooms, zucchini or eggplant.
- For a low carb version, you can replace some of the lasagna sheets with zucchini or eggplant slices as in my Lentil Zucchini Lasagna or Vegan Shepherd's Pie.
- More information about the recipe, including tips for storing and freezing, are mentioned in the blog post above!
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