Lasagna is the ULTIMATE comfort food!
Origins of Lasagna
Perhaps like many of you, we were under the impression that lasagna originated in Italy. Turns out, its origin history is 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 in 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)
But it wasn’t until the 16th century that tomato-based versions were recorded that more closely resembles today’s lasagna. Those versions came from Italy. So to everyone who ever contributed to the invention of lasagna, we’re forever grateful!
How to Make Vegan Lasagna
This simple 10-ingredient lasagna is our plant-based take on classic lasagna. And dare I say, it’s AMAZING!
It all starts with sautéing protein-rich tempeh or mushrooms — your choice!
Next come coconut aminos and spices to give the sauce extra flavor. Add in homemade or store-bought marinara and you’ve got yourself some seriously good lasagna sauce.
Then it’s time for the cheese layer — made with macadamia nuts and ready in just 5 minutes with a little help from the food processor.
Once you’ve got your sauce, cheese, and noodles, it’s time to start layering. Can we start a little jingle?
Sauce, Noodles, Cheese. (Repeat x2)
And then on the fourth repetition, let’s change it up a bit:
Sauce, Noodles, SAUCE!
Sprinkle with our homemade vegan parmesan cheese and fresh parsley for even more flavor.
We hope you love this vegan lasagna! It’s:
Protein-packed (15.9 grams/serving)
What To Serve with Lasagna
This lasagna would be a great make-ahead meal for the work week or a simple and filling dinner for the whole family. It’s delicious on its own but would also pair well with our Simple Green Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette or Apple Pecan Arugula Salad.
If you try this recipe, let us know! We love seeing your comments, ratings, and photos tagged #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
Easy Vegan Lasagna
- 1 Tbsp avocado or olive oil
- 8 oz tempeh*, finely chopped (ensure gluten-free friendly as needed)
- 2 Tbsp coconut aminos (or sub tamari or vegan worcestershire sauce, but slightly reduce amount)
- 1/2 tsp fennel seed (optional)
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flake (optional)
- 2 25-oz jars favorite marinara sauce (or DIY*)
- 2 ¼ cups raw macadamia nuts (or raw cashews, soaked for 1 hour in hot water, then drained)
- 3 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
- 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast (plus more to taste)
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/3 scant tsp sea salt
- 1/3 – 3/4 cup water
- 1 10-oz box vegan-friendly lasagna noodles (gluten-free as needed*)
FOR SERVING (optional)
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Fresh herbs (such as Basil or Parsley)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Set out a large baking dish (9×13 inch or similar size) and lightly grease.
- Begin by preparing/warming your sauce. Heat a large pot or rimmed 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil and tempeh (or mushrooms — we used a mixture of both) and begin sautéing, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes.
- Add coconut aminos (or worcestershire sauce), fennel (optional), and red pepper flake (optional) and continue sautéing for another 5 minutes. The mixture should be golden brown and well cooked.
- In the meantime, if using noodles that require boiling, bring a large pot of water to a boil (otherwise skip this step). Once boiling, add a healthy pinch of salt and your lasagna noodles (or other pasta shape). Cook according to package instructions to achieve an al dente texture — tender with a little bite. Then drain and set aside. Optional: Drizzle pasta with a little oil to prevent sticking.
- To the tempeh and/or mushrooms: Add your marinara sauce and stir to combine. Cook on low for about 5 minutes to marry the flavors. Then taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding salt to taste or red pepper flake for heat. Turn off heat and set aside.
- Add lesser amount of water (1/3 cup or 60 ml as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size). Continue mixing, scraping down sides as needed. Then add more water — 1 Tbsp (15 ml) at a time — until a thick paste forms. I find I get the best texture results with a food processor, but a blender can work, too. It just generally requires more scraping and more liquid. For texture, you’re looking for a thick, spreadable soft “cheese.”
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor, salt for saltiness, lemon juice for acidity/brightness, or garlic powder for garlic flavor. Blend again to combine.
- To begin assembly, add a thin layer of marinara sauce to your baking dish. Spread to ensure even distribution. Then add a layer of the cooked pasta noodles (or uncooked noodles if using no-boil). Top with 1/3 of your cheese mixture and spread into an even layer.
- Add another layer of marinara sauce and use a spoon to spread over the cheese layer to coat. Then add another layer of noodles. Top with 1/3 of the cheese and spread into an even layer.
- Add another layer of marinara sauce and spread into an even layer. Then top with another layer of noodles and remaining 1/3 of the cheese, and spread into an even layer. Top with another layer of marinara sauce and spread into an even layer.
- Top with another layer of noodles and top with remaining sauce. Optional: Top with a sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese.
- Transfer to the middle rack of your preheated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes uncovered, or until the sauce is bubbly and/or the edges are browned.
- Carefully remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Then slice, serve, and enjoy. We recommend garnishing with additional vegan parmesan cheese and fresh chopped basil or parsley. See notes for freezing instructions*!
*To make this recipe freezer friendly, prepare as instructed. Once assembled, cover well and freeze up to 1 month. To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C), cover with foil, and bake for 30 minutes (if thawed) or up to 45 minutes – 1 hour (if frozen). Then remove foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and hot.
*Though not vegan, we have used Cappello’s gluten free lasagna noodles and really enjoyed the texture and flavor! However, it does contain eggs so avoid if vegan or sensitive.
*DIY Marinara Recipe.
Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with all of the marinara sauce, all tempeh (no mushrooms), and whole wheat lasagna noodles, without optional ingredients.