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Italian Lasagna Vegan-Style!

Italian Lasagna Vegan-Style! post image

This is a recipe we reserve for special occasions, such as when we’re in celebratory mode, or when we’re trying to impress people who are skeptical about vegan food. It’s fairly time-intensive, but the end result is well worthwhile.

If you like the concept, but are keen on the idea of an easier version, scroll down to where we have shared a great variation – Quick and Easy ‘Almost Lasagna’! It’s a simplified version we invented when we didn’t have the time to make the real thing, and it ended up becoming one of our favorite dishes.

If you have access to some good gluten-free pasta, such as the Tinkyada Brown Rice variety (they even make lasagna noodles, found at health food stores), you can make either of these recipes gluten-free, by either skipping on the ‘no-meat’ layer, or using tempeh instead of seitan… For those who can’t tolerate gluten, being able to enjoy a home-made lasagna is quite a rare treat.

For something a little more fun and interesting, and something the kids might enjoy, check out our ‘Easy Lasagna Roll-Ups’.

At the end is a recipe for a home-made Marinara Sauce… If you want to save time, feel free to use a store-bought sauce, but make sure you have plenty of it… This recipe is best when guests can help themselves to more sauce at the table.

Gourmet Italian Lasagna

yields one 9″ x 12″ deep casserole
5 or more cups Marinara Sauce (see below)
10 oz. package lasagna noodles

‘No-Meat’ Layer
1-2 cakes tempeh or 1-2 lbs. seitan
1 tsp. onion powder
2-3 Tbsp. oil
tamari, to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

Tofu ‘Uncheese’ Layer
2 cups soft organic tofu, rinsed & drained
2 cups firm organic tofu, rinsed & drained
1 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. tamari or substitute
1/4-1/2 tsp. black pepper
5-6 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. dried oregano
4 tsp. oil

‘Cheesy’ Topping
1 cup soft organic tofu, rinsed & drained
1 Tbsp. tamari or substitute
4 Tbsp. oil
5-6 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. sea salt

1. Partially cook the lasagna noodles in boiling water for 6-8 minutes. (Cook in a flat pan, if you have one.) Rinse noodles, separate, flatten out and set aside in cold water.

2. In a food processor, grind tempeh or seitan with the “S” shaped blade, into tiny chunks. Pan-fry the ground tempeh/seitan until slightly crisp with 2 Tbsp. oil and tamari. Add remaining spices and yeast. Mix in one cup tomato sauce and cook for 5-10 minutes.

3. In a bowl, mash all Tofu ‘Uncheese’ ingredients together. Chill.

4. In a food processor, blend the ‘Cheesy’ Topping ingredients. Set aside.

5. Spread one cup of tomato sauce over the bottom of an oiled 9″ x 12″ pan. Lay four noodles down and spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce over them. Flatten in the “no-meat” layer and pour another 3/4 cup of sauce over it.

6. Place another layer of four noodles, then spread another 1/2 cup of sauce over the noodles. Mash and flatten in the tofu layer and then another noodle layer. Spread one cup of tomato sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with oregano (optional).

7. Spread and swirl the ‘Cheesy’ Topping over the top. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 40-50 minutes at 350°. Cool somewhat before slicing. Serve with sauce on top.

Easy Lasagna Roll–Ups
yields 12 rolls

12 lasagna noodles

Filling
3 cups medium-firm organic tofu
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup Marinara Sauce (see below)
3 Tbsp. tahini or oil
1 Tbsp. parsley or dill

Sauce
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste

3 cups Marinara Sauce (see below)

1. Partially cook noodles so you can roll them. Rinse with cold water and drain.

2. Rinse and drain tofu.

3. In a bowl, mash tofu and mix with other filling ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine sauce ingredients.

4. Spread a layer of sauce on the bottom of a casserole. Lay out noodles and spread two tablespoons of filling on each. Roll up tightly and place seam side down in casserole. Pour remaining sauce over roll-ups. Pre-heat oven to 350°.

5. Sprinkle with additional nutritional yeast. Bake for 25–30 minutes.

Almost Lasagna (Quick & Easy)
yields one 9″ x 12″ deep casserole

5 or more cups Marinara Sauce (see below)
16 oz. package pasta spirals, shells or macaroni
sautéed veggies such as onions, mushrooms, bell pepper, zucchini (optional)

‘Cheesy’ Topping
1 cup soft organic tofu, rinsed & drained
1 Tbsp. tamari or substitute
4 Tbsp. oil
5-6 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp. sea salt

1. Cook pasta according to the instructions on the package. Rinse, drain, and toss with a little olive oil.

2. In a food processor, blend the ‘Cheesy’ Topping ingredients. Set aside.

3. Mix three cups of Marinara sauce with pasta and sautéed veggies, and pour this mixture into the pan.

4. Spread and swirl the ‘Cheesy’ Topping over the top. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes at 350°. Cool somewhat before serving. Serve with additional sauce.

Tasty Marinara Sauce
yields 10 cups

1–2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 cloves garlic, diced
1 onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
8–16 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 (12 oz.) cans tomato paste
2 1/2 cups water
1 (16 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. dried basil
3 Tbsp. unrefined sweetener such as Rapadura
2 tsp. herb salt such as Herbamare
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1–2 Tbsp. tamari
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1. In a large pot, sauté garlic in a little oil and a dash of water.

2. While it is simmering, add onion, peppers then sliced mushrooms. (Be sure to tip the stems of the mushrooms and clean them well).

3. When all vegetables are soft, add tomato paste, water, tomato sauce and remaining seasonings. Simmer and stir frequently for 30 minutes or longer.

These recipes have been reproduced from Incredibly Delicious: Recipes for a New Paradigm, which includes all sorts of tips to help make the transition to veganism easy and delicious.