My husband is an Italian-American who expects lasagna to be filled with meat and cheese. So I knew I had a winning recipe on my hands when I served him this vegan version and, despite his initial skepticism, he was the first to clean his plate and go back for seconds.
This easy vegan lasagna is full of savory mushrooms and flavorful herbs, and every bite is just as rich and creamy as the traditional version. Whether you’re vegan, dairy-free, or simply looking to try something new for dinner, stop what you’re doing and make this recipe immediately.
A Easy Formula for the Best Vegan Lasagna
Many vegan lasagna recipes contain a laundry list of ingredients. This one uses as few as possible without sacrificing flavor. Instead of making every component from scratch, you’ll make a homemade vegan béchamel but opt for store-bought noodles and marinara. Most dry pasta and jarred marinara sauces are naturally vegan, but double-check the ingredient lists to be sure there’s no egg in the pasta or cheese in the sauce.
Béchamel is the creamy white sauce made from butter, flour, and milk found in traditional lasagna recipes. The homemade cashew cream used in this recipe has a similar richness, making it a great vegan substitute. Remember: You’ll need to soak the cashews in water overnight to soften them before blending them into a sauce, so plan ahead.
Meaty mushrooms and earthy oregano complete the dish, packing the lasagna full of savory goodness. A bag of baby spinach adds color and an extra dose of nutrients.
For the cashew béchamel:
- 2 cups
raw, unsalted cashews
- 5 cups
- 2 cloves
garlic, crushed and peeled
- 1/4 teaspoon
For the lasagna:
- 2 tablespoons
medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 pound
cremini mushrooms, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons
chopped fresh oregano leaves, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 (5-ounce) bag
baby spinach (about 5 packed cups)
- 1 (24 to 25-ounce) jar
vegan marinara sauce (3 cups), such as Rao’s
vegan dry lasagna noodles (about 12 ounces, not no-boil), such as De Cecco
- 1 teaspoon
nutritional yeast (optional)
Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for serving (optional)
Make the cashew béchamel:
Place the cashews in a medium bowl and add 4 cups of the water. Soak uncovered at room temperature for 10 to 12 hours. The cashews are ready when they break apart when pressed between two fingers.
Drain the soaking water from the cashews. (Soaking pulls out the cashew’s phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors, making the sauce easier to digest, but leaving a less-than-tasty liquid after the long soak.)
Place the drained cashews, remaining 1 cup water, garlic, and salt in a blender or food processor. Blend on high speed or process until completely smooth, 1 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the jar or bowl and blend or process again for 1 minute. Set aside.
Make the lasagna:
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and sauté until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon of the oregano, salt, and red pepper flakes, if desired, and sauté until tender and most of the released liquid is evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the spinach and stir until just wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.
When the water is boiling, add the lasagna noodles and cook, stirring frequently, until just barely al dente, about 4 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain well.
Spread about 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Lay 4 noodles in a single layer over the sauce (it’s OK if the noodles overlap slightly). Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce over the noodles, then dollop with half the cashew béchamel sauce. Top with half of the vegetable mixture. Repeat the layers: 4 noodles, 1 cup marinara sauce, remaining cashew béchamel, and remaining vegetable mixture. Top with the remaining noodles. Spread the remaining marinara sauce over the noodles.
Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the nutritional yeast if desired, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more.
Let the lasagna cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon oregano, chopped parsley, and red pepper flakes if desired before serve.
Make ahead: The cashew sauce can be made a day ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container.
Storage: Leftovers can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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