Not to brag or anything, but this is totally happening (again), and it totally rules.
Origins of Lasagna
Perhaps like many of you, we were under the impression that lasagna originated in Italy. Turns out, it’s 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!
This lasagna is inspired by three things:
Sweet Potato Lasagna
The filling is my go-to tofu ricotta. It’s creamy, lemony, herby, delicious, and a convincing dupe for the real thing. Trust me on this one – you need this in your life.
And the ‘pasta noodles’ are thinly-sliced sweet potatoes, which add the perfect tender texture and sweet flavor contrast to the savory ‘ricotta.’ In other words, swoon.
How is this recipe simple? I’m so glad you asked. It requires just 9 basic ingredients, simple methods, and about 1 hour from start to finish.
While this recipe lacks a marinara sauce as in a traditional lasagna, I argue it doesn’t need it! However, if you’re a sauce-lover like me, I do include an optional (but highly recommended) basil pesto sauce that’s positively amazing (and still keeps the recipe within my 10-ingredient standard).
It not only adds a burst of vibrant green color, but also a punch of herby-garlic flavor that finishes the dish perfectly (in my humble opinion).
I think you guys are going to LOVE this lasagna! It’s:
I created this recipe with comfort food-loving folks in mind. Everyone loves a good hearty baked dish this time of year. Plus, it’ll satisfy hearty cravings with nearly 10 grams of protein per serving.
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Sweet Potato Lasagna
- 3 large (~ 450 g each) sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (organic when possible)
- 3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus more for sweet potato)
- ~1/2 tsp sea salt + black pepper (to taste)
- 2 medium lemons, juiced (2 lemons yield ~1/3 cup or 80 ml)
- 12 ounces extra-firm tofu (drained and pressed dry for 10 minutes)
- 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
PESTO SAUCE optional
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup loosely packed basil, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced (2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp or 6 g)
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese
- 1 healthy pinch each salt + pepper
- Water (to thin)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
- Peel sweet potatoes and slice thinly with a very sharp knife or mandolin. They shouldn’t be paper thin, but semi-thick and bendable – about 1/8th inch.
- In a 9×13-inch (or similar size) dish, begin laying down the sweet potatoes in a single layer, overlapping slightly.
- Top with one-third of the tofu ricotta mixture and spread using a spoon or spatula. Top with another layer of sweet potatoes, slightly overlapping. Repeat until you have three total layers of tofu ricotta, and four layers of sweet potatoes. The top layer should be sweet potatoes.
- Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.
- Then remove foil, increase oven heat to 400 degrees F (204 C), and bake uncovered for another 5-10 minutes to slightly brown up the top layer.
- While the lasagna is cooking, prepare pesto (optional), by adding olive oil, basil, and garlic to a blender or food processor. Mix on on medium-low speed to combine. Then add vegan parmesan cheese, a pinch each salt and pepper and pulse to combine again.
- Add water to thin until a pourable pesto sauce is achieved, mixing on high until only small bits of basil and garlic remain. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a bit more vegan parmesan cheese and basil.
- Let lasagna cool slightly before serving. Top entire lasagna with desired amount of pesto, or reserve for individual servings.
- Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator up to 3 days. Freeze for longer-term storage.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper for flavor, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, and lemon juice for brightness.