One of our all-time favorite fall vegetables is the ever-versatile butternut squash! And after you try this lasagna, you’ll see why. What started as an attempt at gluten-free ravioli turned into something even more AMAZING! This new twist on classic lasagna swaps tomato sauce for a savory, creamy, butternut squash cashew sauce that pairs perfectly with lasagna noodles and sautéed kale and mushrooms.
This plant-based (and gluten-free optional) entreé is undeniably comforting and crowd-pleasing and will make an excellent addition to holiday dinner tables or as meal prep for the week’s lunches! Did we mention just 10 ingredients are required? Let us show you how it’s done!
Origins of Lasagna
Perhaps like many of you, we were under the impression that lasagna originated in Italy. Turns out, its origins are a bit more complicated!
Some say the concept originated in ancient Greece where layered dough sheets (called laganon) were cut into strips and baked. Others claim it resembles a Roman dish recorded in a cookbook from the 1st century AD. And still others place its origin in England or Italy in the 14th century, where cookbooks describe the concept of layering cheese and pasta in a dish and baking it. (Source)
The following is a plant-based twist on the soul-satisfying concept of layering “cheese” and pasta and baking in a casserole dish.
How to Make Butternut Squash Lasagna
The butternut squash component of this lasagna is the sauce! Butternut squash is roasted with garlic until both become tender and caramelized, then they’re blended with creamy cashews, lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast (optional), and water.
The result is a smooth, balanced, rich sauce that takes the place of both the “cheese” and “sauce” layers of a classic lasagna.
For the noodles, you can go with any type you enjoy — regular, whole wheat, gluten-free (we like Tinkyada), grain-free. Or, if you’re feeling extra trendy and adventurous, we hear there are even chickpea lasagna noodles out there these days (let us know how they are in the comments if you try them)!
The final component is the sautéed onion, mushroom, and kale filling seasoned simply with salt, pepper, and (optional) dried thyme.
Layer it between comforting noodles and creamy sauce.
Then bake to bubbly perfection and garnish with vegan parmesan cheese and fresh basil for even more flavor!
We hope you LOVE this butternut squash lasagna! It’s:
It’s the perfect entrée for your holiday table, feeding a crowd, meal prep, and enjoying all fall and winter long! While plenty worthy as a standalone meal, it would also be delicious served with our Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken, Easy 1-Pot Tomato Soup, or Lemony Arugula Salad with Crispy Shallot.
More Delicious Lasagna Recipes
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Butternut Squash Lasagna (Vegan, GF Optional)
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SAUCE
- 1 small butternut squash (1 small squash yields ~2 cups or 480 g purée)
- 10-12 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
- 1 ¼ cup raw cashews
- 3 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 ½ cups water (plus more as needed to blend)
- 10 ounces dry lasagna noodles (gluten-free as needed // we used Tinkyada)
- 1 Tbsp salt (for salting pasta water)
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced (1 onion yields ~3 cups chopped)
- 6 cups roughly chopped cremini mushrooms
- 8 cups finely chopped kale (1 bundle yields ~8 cups)
- 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme (optional)
FOR SERVING optional
- Freshly chopped basil
- Vegan parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 F (218 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice your squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds, but leave the skin on. Rub squash flesh with a bit of oil. Place garlic cloves on the prepared baking sheet and top with squash cut side down (the scooped-out squash should cover the garlic so it doesn’t burn). Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the skin is blistered and golden brown and a knife inserted into the squash comes out very easily.
- While the squash is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the lasagna noodles in the salted water according to package instructions or until al dente. Then drain, set aside, and gently toss with a little olive oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together.
- Heat a large rimmed skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the olive oil and onion and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until softened, then add the mushrooms and sauté another 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Then add kale, salt, pepper, and thyme (optional) and sauté for another 5-7 minutes or until tender.
- Once the squash is tender and cool enough to handle, scoop 2 cups (~480 g) roasted squash (adjust amount if altering number of servings) into a high-speed blender. Add roasted garlic cloves, cashews, lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast (optional), and water and blend until smooth, adding more water and scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. It should be thick, creamy, and scoopable. Taste and adjust as needed, adding more salt for overall flavor, lemon for brightness, garlic for savory flavor, or nutritional yeast for cheesiness.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 F (177 C).
- Assemble the lasagna in a 9 x 13 (or similar size) glass or ceramic baking dish. Add 1/2 cup (120 ml) sauce to the bottom of the pan and spread it evenly. Then add a layer of noodles followed by 1/3 of the filling. Repeat with two more layers of sauce, noodles, and filling. Then finish with a layer of noodles and the remaining sauce as the top layer (it should be a thicker layer fully coating the noodles).
- Bake lasagna at 350 F (177 C) for 30 minutes or until the top layer is slightly dry and a little darker in color.
- Carefully remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Then slice, serve, and enjoy. We recommend garnishing with freshly chopped basil and vegan parmesan cheese. See notes below for freezing instructions.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with 1/4 tsp of the salt in the pasta water (since the full tablespoon isn’t absorbed into the pasta) and without optional ingredients.