It's a vegan lasagna! I'm sure Italians would kill me for putting vegan and lasagna in the same sentence. But so be it. This is delicious and it's very easy to make. It is. It looks like a lot but the only thing that needs to take any time is the baking of the lasagna, everything else is just some prep and you'll do it in 25 minutes. If you plan ahead you could make both sauces and the tofu ricotta ahead of time and keep them in the fridge until your ready to assemble and bake the lasagna for dinner.
tomato sauce ingredients:
1 x 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp light vegetable oil (sunflower or grapeseed oil)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp each of fresh chopped basil & parsley
1 tbsp fresh or dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground pepper
In a heavy sauce pan, sauté onion in oil for 1 to 2 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for another 2 mins. Add tomato paste and herbs and stir into the onions and garlic sautéing for another 2 mins. Then add the crushed tomatoes, sea salt, and ground pepper. Simmer on low heat for 30 to 45 minutes while you prep the rest of the components for the lasagna.
NOTE: while we prefer you make your own tomato sauce you could also just buy a jar of your favourite pasta sauce and use that. You'll need 1 jar (about 640 ml) or about 1 3/4 cups total for this recipe
tofu ricotta ingredients:
1 block extra firm tofu, crumbled
1/4 C nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 C fresh basil, finely chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Crumble the tofu into small pieces resembling ricotta cheese with your hands. Add in the remaining ingredients and combine with a fork. Keep in the fridge until you're ready to assemble the lasagna.
NOTE: tofu ricotta is optional. Alternatively you could use only vegan mozzarella shreds in the layers which means you'll just need double the amount the recipe calls for.
1/2 C soft tofu
1/2 C unsweetened soy milk
1/2 C vegetable stock
2 tbsp tahini
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp sea salt
Put all these ingredients in a blender and combine until very smooth. Set aside while you prepare the vegetables.
tomato sauce (homemade recipe from above or 1 x 640 ml jar or 1 3/4 cups)
1 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
1 C carrot ribbons
4 C fresh baby spinach
1 pack of ready bake lasagna noodles (you'll use approx. 200g)
1 1/3 C vegan mozzarella shreds
1 tbsp vegan parmesan (optional)
You can make carrot ribbons using a vegetable peeler or you can shred the carrot with a grater. Partially cook the zucchini and carrot in a pan over low to medium heat with 1 tsp of olive oil. Set them aside on a dish and use the same pan to cook the spinach. Get it wilted and soft but don't over cook it. It should still be bright green. If you want to use frozen spinach just make sure you thaw and drain out the water.
Once all your ingredients are prepped and ready, use a deep 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish to assemble the lasagna in. Lightly coat the inside of the dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil using your hand.
The lasagna can be assembled however you want, but here's what I did:
1) Pour about a 1/2 cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of the dish and spread out an even layer with a spatula or spoon.
2) Add one layer of noodles across. You might need to break them to fit in the dish, but you can overlap the noodles if they don't fit perfectly in the dish.
3) Then take half the amount of tofu ricotta and spread it evenly over the noodles.
4) Take 1/3 cup of shredded mozzarella and sprinkle over top.
5) Add all the spinach on top of the mozzarella.
6) Pour half the béchamel evenly over the top being sure to get some of it down the sides of the dish.
7) Add 3/4 cup of the tomato sauce on top, spreading out to the edges.
8) Then add another noodle layer, turning the noodles the opposite direction from the first layer.
9) Use the other half of the tofu ricotta as the next layer.
10) Take another 1/3 cup of shredded mozzarella and sprinkle over top of the tofu ricotta.
11) Add the zucchini and carrots in an alternating fashion as one layer.
12) Pour the remaining béchamel evenly over top.
13) Add another ½ cup of the tomato sauce on top and spread out to the edges of the baking dish.
14) Then add one more layer of noodles and the remaining tomato sauce on top.
15) Sprinkle 2/3 cup of shredded mozzarella as the topping. Also add vegan parmesan on top if using.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400°F covered with foil for 50 minutes. Then remove the foil and turn the broiler to high and bake for 10 minutes or until the top is crispier and golden. Allow the lasagna to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving so it doesn't ooze too much!