This is the Best Vegan Lasagna recipe with zucchini, red lentil tomato sauce, and creamy cashew béchamel sauce, and it’s so delicious! Serve this healthy and protein-rich pasta casserole for lunch or dinner if you want a plant-based meal that is sure to satisfy vegans and non-vegans alike!
The Best Vegan Lasagna
You guys asked for a super tasty but also healthy veggie Lasagna recipe so here it is! Honestly, it’s not a brand new recipe that I created because I’ve made this Zucchini Lentil Lasagna a couple of times already. Actually, it’s one of my favorite recipes since childhood and everyone loves it! And it doesn’t matter if they’re vegan, vegetarian or non-vegan because this pasta casserole recipe is perfect for all eaters!
Healthy Vegan Lasagna
The classic Lasagna you may know from your childhood or from a restaurant is often not that healthy in my opinion. It usually contains meat, lots of cheese and heavy cream. And after eating that calorie bomb most people feel very tired and lazy which is not, as we know, the best feeling. That’s why I prefer making my recipes healthier so you can eat more of your meal until you feel satisfied while having more energy!
This Best Vegan Lasagna is just made of healthy ingredients, such as zucchini, red lentils, tomato sauce, vegan cashew béchamel sauce, and some noodles. In summer I totally love to fill my Lentil Lasagna with more zucchini than pasta but you can also use more noodles if you prefer. Anyway, if you’re not into zucchini, you can also substitute another vegetable, such as eggplant, sweet potato or carrots. However, any kind of veggie is a great addition to this Lasagna. Also, mushrooms, spinach or Mexican veggies are some of my favorite add-ins to vegan lasagna so feel free to be creative.
Why lentils instead of meat?
I find that lentils make a great meatless substitute because they create a kind of “meaty texture”. Especially, for no-meat balls, they’re perfect or for pasta sauce like this lentil bolognese. Anyway, the reason why I prefer using red lentils is because unlike green or brown lentils, the red ones not only have a shorter cooking time but they create also kind of “mushy texture” what I really like for saucy recipes like this pasta casserole.
How to make Vegan Lasagna
First of all, prepare the red lentil tomato sauce and the vegan cashew cream sauce as written in the recipe. To assemble your lasagna, place 1/4 portion of the red lentil tomato sauce on the bottom of your casserole dish. Then place zucchini slices over the sauce, overlapping as pictured. Spread 1/3 portion of the vegan cashew sauce over the zucchini and lay 3-4 lasagna sheets on top, depending on how many noodles fit in your dish.
Now add another layer of lentil sauce, followed by another layer of zucchini slices and another drizzle of cashew sauce. Repeat this process for the next layer, (one layer of pasta sheets, then lentil sauce and lastly dollop on remaining cashew cream). I topped my casserole finally with some tomato slices drizzled with a little oil but this is just an optional garnish.
How to bake vegan Lasagna
Once you’ve layered your vegan lasagna, you can put it in your preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes. When you notice your lentil lasagna starts browning too fast during baking you can cover the dish with foil.
Creamy Cashew Sauce
The cashew cream sauce thickens up perfectly as the lasagna bakes and creates these crispy brown spots on top which remind of real cheese! Anyway, if you want your vegan lasagna even more cheesy you could also add some cashew ricotta or tofu ricotta or vegan mozzarella or any other non-dairy cheese that you like on top of your pasta casserole after around 25 minutes baking time. Then bake for another 10 minutes or until vegan cheese is melted and your lasagna looks delicious!
Can I substitute the Cashews?
If you want to make a nut-free lasagne without cashews, you can also make a vegan béchamel sauce. Simply melt 2.5 tbsp (35g) vegan butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Gradually, whisk in 2 tablespoons (30g) of flour. Cook for a minute until thickened while whisking constantly. Then, pour in 1.5 cups soy milk (360ml) (or other non-dairy milk). Add the spices, bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes over low heat. Then remove from the heat and set aside.
This Best Vegan Lasagna recipe is
- Super Easy
- Perfect to make ahead
- So Delicious!
Which noodles for Vegan Lasagna?
I prefer using no-cook lasagna noodles because you don’t have to pre-cook them. Sometimes I use the regular lasagna sheets made of wheat flour and on other days I use wholegrain lasagna sheets which work well in this recipe too. There are also gluten-free lasagna noodles available that you could use if you’re a gluten-free eater.
Meal Prep Recipe
What I also love about this recipe is that you can do anything else while your casserole is baking. So it’s the perfect weeknight dinner recipe that you can make after work when having still things to be done in your household. You can also prepare the red lentil tomato sauce and the cashew cream ahead of time. Simply store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it. Then you just have to layer your healthy vegan lasagna and bake!
More hearty vegan recipes to try
Mexican Tortilla Casserole
Vegan Potato Bake
If you try this Vegan Lasagna Recipe, please leave me a comment below sharing how it turned out for you! And if you take a photo of your casserole and share it on Instagram, please make sure to tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka , so I won’t miss your post! Happy cooking!
Vegan Lasagna with Lentils and ZucchiniAuthor:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 carrots peeled, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 3/4 cup red lentils 150g
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/4 cup vegetable broth 300ml
- 17,6 oz strained tomatoes 500g, or sub marinara sauce
- 6-8 lasagne sheets no-ccok, or sub gluten-free (*read my blogpost for details)
- 1 large zucchini sliced
Cashew Sauce (or sub Vegan Béchamel Sauce *see recipe notes)
- 1 cup raw cashews* heaped, 160g
- 1 cup water 240ml
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast optional for cheesy flavor
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper or to taste
- 2 tsp dried herbs optional
- 2 medium tomatoes sliced
- 1 tsp olive oil to drizzle
- vegan cheese *see optional step in the instructions
- toasted pine nuts
- vegan parmesan
- fresh basil
Lentil Tomato Sauce
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Sauté the onion and carrot, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant while stirring.
- Add the tomato paste, vegetable broth, tomato passata and red lentils. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until mixture thickens. Set aside to cool slightly. (If your sauce seems too thick, add a little more vegetable broth or tomato passata but please do not add more than 100ml or your casserole may get too soupy.)
- Preheat oven to 355ºF (180ºC). Lightly grease a baking dish with oil.
- Blend all ingredients for the cashew cream in a high-speed blender (or food processor*) until creamy and smooth.
Assemble the Lasagna
- Place 1/4 portion of red lentil tomato sauce on the bottom of your dish (as pictured in the step-by-step pictures in my blogpost). Top with zucchini slices, drizzle on 1/3 portion of cashew cream sauce, then place 3-4 lasagna noodles on top. Continue layering with another layer of lentil sauce, followed by another layer of zucchini slices and another drizzle of cashew sauce. Repeat this process for the next layer, finishing with lentil sauce and drizzle on remaining cashew cream. Optionally, top with some tomato slices and drizzle with a little olive oil to avoid they get dry during baking.
- Bake for about 30-40 minutes (cover with foil when the top of your casserole starts browning too fast during baking).
- Optional: I didn’t top my lasagna with any additional vegan cheese, but if you want it cheesier, you could add some cashew ricotta or vegan mozzarella or another non-dairy cheese of your choice on top after around 25 minutes baking time. Then bake for another 10 minutes or until vegan cheese is melted and lightly browned.
- Let your lasagna cool slightly after baking to set. Top with toasted pine nuts, vegan parmesan, fresh basil or other toppings you like.
- Serve with a fresh salad or enjoy how it is!
- If not using a high-speed blender, I recommend soaking the cashews in hot water for about 1 hour to soften. Or to speed up the soaking process you could also cook the cashews for 15 minutes. Then drain and proceed with the recipe. (If you skip this step your sauce may get chunky instead of smooth and creamy).
- If you want to make a nut-free lasagne without cashews, you can also make a vegan béchamel sauce. Simply melt 2.5 tbsp (35g) vegan butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Gradually, whisk in 2 tablespoons (30g) of flour. Cook for a minute until thickened while whisking constantly. Then, pour in 1.5 cups soy milk (360ml) (or other non-dairy milk). Add the spices, bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes over low heat. Then remove from the heat and set aside
- Please read my blogpost for additional information about this recipe.
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