How to Make the Best Vegan Lasagne

How to Make the Best Vegan Lasagne

With interchanging layers of noodles, melty cheese, bechamel, and tomato sauce, lasagne is one of the world’s most perfect foods. You can customize it with vegetables or meaty crumbles and it’s a reliable meal for potlucks and make-ahead weeknight dinners. Here’s what you need to know to make the best vegan lasagne.

A Brief History of Lasagne

Lasagne is one of Italy’s oldest dishes. According to Italy Magazine, making pasta—boiling a simple mixture of flour and water—dates back to the Middle Ages. These flat, wide noodles, called lagana, were one of the most popular ways to eat pasta. Lasagne was an indulgent dish, even centuries ago. Italian friar Salimbene di Adam described one of his colleagues eating lasagne in 1284: “I’ve never seen anyone stuffing himself on lasagna with cheese so pleasurably and so fully as him.”

It wasn’t until the 1880s in Naples that tomato became integral to lasagne recipes. And it didn’t become the multi-layered feast that it is today until Francesco Zambrini from Bologna introduced it in the 19th century.

As ancient as lasagne is, the modern version was popularized by Italian-American immigrants. Every family had its own special way of serving lasagne, customizing it with sausage, family recipes for tomato sauce, ground beef, and vegetables. Today’s lasagne features layers of flat pasta made with eggs, ragù sauce, and béchamel baked until the top is crispy. But, again—every family has its own way of doing things. It’s part of the beauty of lasagne.

Ricotta: a lasagne staple.

What Is Ricotta Cheese?

Ricotta is a light, spongey, tangy cheese that gets between layers of savory sauce and lasagne noodles. According to Bon Appétit, ricotta is a whey cheese. In traditional cheesemaking, milk is separated into curds—the solid part—and whey, the liquid left behind. Leftover whey is repurposed to make ricotta by heating it up with a splash of whole milk and vinegar or citrus juice. The small number of curds left behind to coagulate and once big enough, are strained through a cheesecloth. The soft, crumbly cheese left is ricotta.

Ricotta is used in manicotti, lasagne, baked ziti, stuffed shells, as a spread, and on pizza. The cream filling in cannoli is usually made from ricotta. Although ricotta is made with dairy, it’s easy to make a vegan version using nuts or tofu.

Best Vegan Cheese for Lasagne

So, what’s the best dairy-free cheese for lasagne? Most lasagne recipes include ricotta, mozzarella, and a sprinkling of parmesan. There are store-bought versions available for all three. Try Tofutti or Kite Hill for vegan ricotta. You can also make your own from tofu or cashews. This recipe from Veggies Don’t Bite uses cauliflower, cashews, and almonds.

For mozzarella, try Daiya, Miyoko’s Creamery, or Follow Your Heart. Cashews—blended up with dairy-free milk, nutritional yeast, and tapioca starch—make for a stretchy dairy-free mozzarella. Greek brand Violife makes a vegan parmesan block that grates like the real thing. Go Veggie makes vegan parm that comes in a shaker. You can also use nutritional yeast or make your own, like this cashew-based recipe. Hemp seeds are good for a nut-free version, like in this hemp parmesan recipe.

Want to kick it up a notch further? Try adding vegan meat crumbles. Brands that make them include Gardein, Beyond Meat, Boca, and MorningStar Farms. You could also use textured vegetable protein (TVP), an old school plant-based protein that’s cheap and has a meaty texture. When gathering ingredients to make your own vegan lasagne, look for egg-free noodles. You can get them from brands like Whole Foods 365, Banza, Explore Cuisine, San Giorgio, and Tinkyada.

Best Vegan Lasagne Recipes

Looking to make your own vegan lasagne? Look no further. Here are seven recipes to try.

Hearty, chock full of vegetables, and delicious. | Pass the Plants

1. Vegan Lasagne With Spinach Ricotta

This vegan lasagne features noodles layered with homemade spinach cashew ricotta, savory cashew cream, and a protein-packed marinara sauce. The made-from-scratch sauce gets a boost from red lentils and sweet potato. Dairy-free cashew cream that browns in the oven replaces béchamel.

Get the recipe here.

This vegan lasagne will become a household staple. | Engine2

2. Vegan Sweet Potato Lasagne

Packed with sweet potato, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, and spinach, you won’t have trouble eating your veggies thanks to this recipe. It features layers of mashed sweet potato and homemade tofu ricotta. This recipe uses whole-grain lasagne noodles and is also oil-free.

Get the recipe here.

Gluten-free and veggie-packed. | Veggies Don’t Bite

3. Super Easy Vegan Lasagne

This gluten-free and vegan lasagna features a crispy top covered in marinara, plus cashew ricotta, plenty of vegetables, and vegan ricotta. As the dish bakes, the noodles soak up the savory sauce resulting in a hearty dish that’s as flavorful as it is delicious.

Get the recipe here.

A unique spin on vegan lasagne. | Vegan Richa

4. Creamy Mushroom Lasagne

Looking for a modern take on the Italian classic? This creamy mushroom lasagne features dairy-free garlic sauce and layers of marinated portobello mushrooms, plus plenty of spinach. According to the recipe developer, you can make this nut-free by using her cauliflower alfredo or pumpkin seed alfredo.

Get the recipe here.

This vegan lasagne recipe is a crowd-pleaser. | Nora Cooks

5. Lasagne With Red Lentil Marinara

With a protein-packed red lentil marinara sauce and dairy-free tofu-cashew ricotta, this vegan lasagne will be a hit with everyone. Be generous with the sauce and tofu-cashew ricotta.

Get the recipe here.

A great make-ahead meal. | This Savory Vegan

6. Vegan Spinach Lasagne With 10-Minute Marinara

Make this vegan lasagne a few days ahead of time for an easy heat-and-serve dinner. This hearty dish has layers of noodles, vegan ricotta, spinach, and a simple 10-minute marinara sauce. It doesn’t get better than that.

Get the recipe here.

Lasagne roll-ups are perfect for potlucks. | Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen

7. Vegan Lasagne Roll-Ups

These vegan lasagne roll-ups stuffed with tofu ricotta and baby spinach are perfect for make-ahead meals, potlucks (no mess or slicing), and date night dinners.

Get the recipe here.