Vegan Lasagna Recipe
This recipe is built around my mom’s lasagna (which was not vegan) — cooking with her taught me so much about the principles of great home cooking. One thing she taught me about lasagna, she used to say “make each layer delicious enough to eat on its own.” Very important in any dish that involved multiple components.
This recipe is for TWO pans of lasagna! Its a lot of prep work so why not make two while you’re at it. After assembling, I put one in the freezer for later. Prep all of your layers first so that you’re ready to assemble.
2 jars of marinara sauce (or other pre made tomato sauce of your choice)
2 packets of daiya mozzarella shreds (or vegan cheese of your choice)
2 packages of firm tofu
1 1/2 boxes of lasagna noodles
2 bags/2lbs of frozen spinach
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
1 bunch of basil leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
Put a large pot of salted water on high and bring to a boil. Meanwhile you can start to prep other layers.
Making the PESTO:
Pluck the basil leaves off the hard stems and wash and pat dry the leaves. Place 3 peeled garlic cloves in the food processor, along with about 1/2 cup of nuts, pulse together. Add the basil leaves, add salt, and drizzle olive oil into the mixture, pulse until blended together. Don’t over process, it will bruise and brown the pesto.
Making the RICOTTA:
Blend together tofu, juice of both lemons, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. I like to do this quickly with an immersion blender. Bingo, “ricotta”!
Making the SPINACH LAYER:
Heat oil in a pan on the stovetop, add onions and salt. Stir and sauce until the onions are starting to soften and turn translucent. Add spinach and cook until warmed through.
When the pot of water boils, put the lasagna noodles in, stir so they don’t stick together and cook for only 4 minutes or so (they will continue cooking in the oven so they don’t need to be all the way done. Drain the noodles and immediately rinse them thoroughly with cold water — this will prevent the noodles sticking together.
While you are assembling, preheat the oven to 375. drizzle a small amount of tomato sauce in the bottom of each lasagna pan, spread around with a spoon. Place one layer of noodles down in the pans, lightly overlapping so that there’s full coverage. Spread a layer of ricotta down, then a layer of cheese, then a layer of spinach, then coat with tomato sauce. Start over again with the noodles, (here’s where i add a layer of pesto in) then repeat ricotta, cheese, spinach, tomato sauce. Cover with a layer of noodles, coat with tomato sauce - get all the corners so that the noodles don’t dry out on the top - add a sprinkle of cheese and a dusting of nutritional yeast over the top.
Cover one with plastic wrap and foil and put it in the freezer. Cover one of the pans in aluminum foil and cook for 40 minutes covered, then uncover and cook for another 15 minutes or so to give the top a little color.