There is ZERO skimping in this vegan lasagna with veggies. We have the best vegan cheeses, a homemade meat substitute that will blow your mind and the tons of fresh produce. Is it a little extra effort? Yes. Will you be rewarded? Absofreakinlutely.
Lasagna is the ultimate comfort food that's as perfect for a night in AND appropriate for that casual dinner party you've been wanting to throw. Lasagna and salad? Done. Tell your friends to bring the wine and dessert, and it's on.
Serve this to your meat-loving friends, and watch as their minds explode. It's that good.
Looking for more impressive vegan meals to win over your friends? I've got you. Check out this creamy mushroom risotto or this dairy-free pizza with arugula and fig jam. Or if you're on a lasagna kick, this butternut squash lasagna is perfect for Thanksgiving.
For something fast, easy and impressive, try this 30-minute spicy vodka sauce.
- onion for flavor
- garlic also for flavor
- carrots for sweetness and texture
- mushrooms for savoriness and texture
- seitan aka "wheat meat" - it's not as intimidating as you think, it's only two ingredients, plus a whole lotta flavor. Trust me, the texture will be worth it. Or, be lazy and pick up some Beyond Meat or storebought seitan crumbles.
- pasta sauce or canned tomatoes + tomato sauce for the base. Pasta sauce is a great shortcut if you're tight on time.
- Miyokos Mozzarella acts more like a savory ricotta, it's one of a kind
- vegan mozzarella shreds for that cheesy, gooey texture
- vegan parmesean shavings for looks mostly TBH
- lasagna noodles with curly edges to prevent sticking in the pot. No boil noodles are a-ok, but I like to boil mine for a few minutes...
- zucchini for texture and extra veg
Pantry (not pictured):
- salt/pepper to taste
- tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos
- neutral cooking oil
First up, we're building a solid lasagna sauce. And a key component of that sauce is seitan.
Now, before you all come at me with the usual excuses (wtf is seitan, why do I need it etc.), just know that it's two ingredients, and makes a NIGHT AND DAY difference in this lasagna. You can buy some from the store, or check out my recipe for seitan crumbles (coming very soon!).
Pulse seitan in a blender or food processor until it breaks up. If it's still sticking together, it's ok...we'll get to that in a second.
So now that we have our seitan ready to go, let's prep our veggies.
To keep our lasagna nice and thick, we need to remove some of the liquid from our zucchini. First, thinly slice zucchini, and place onto a layer of paper towels. Salt gently, then place more paper towels on top. Now put another baking sheet onto the paper towels to squeeze out the moisture. Leave the zucchini alone for 30 minutes, and up to an hour.
Before we start with the veggies, start boiling a large pot of salted water. It'll take some time. But I'll keep you busy...
Dice onions, mince garlic, grate carrots, and slice mushrooms. Promise, it's not that much work, and each ingredient pulls its weight.
To dice onion, remove bottom of onion (opposite the hairy stem), then place onto flat edge and cut in half. Now, slice parallel to the board, but not all the way to the root (see below).
Now make a few slices with the knife pointing toward the root (see below). Then slice parallel to the root, and you've diced an onion in record time!
Now let's build our sauce. Place diced onions and carrots into a large flat bottomed pan on medium heat with a drizzle of oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes until soft. Then add mushrooms and a pinch of salt, cooking for 1-2 minutes until mushrooms start to shrink.
Then add seitan crumbles. If your seitan wouldn't crumble in the blender, tear off little pieces, it'll break up like ground meat as it cooks. They may stick to the pan - that's ok. Do your best to keep them moving, and add splashes of water as needed to loosen and prevent burning.
We want the seitan to gently brown like ground beef. After 3-4 minutes, add minced garlic and spices (like oregano, dried parsley, paprika, cayenne etc.) now is the time. Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
Now add pasta sauce or diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. The liquid should loosen up any stuck seitan bits on the bottom of the pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
While the sauce simmers, cook lasagna sheets for 3-4 minutes. Do NOT overcook. I suggest cooking no more than 6 at a time to prevent sticking. Place half cooked noodles onto a baking sheet, not touching each other while you cook the rest of the noodles.
Finally, assemble the lasagna. Start with a small layer of sauce, then noodles.
On top of noodles, add more sauce, then zucchini. Finally add cheese (Miyoko's mozz or dairy-free ricotta, then mozzarella shreds, then parmesean). Repeat until you place on last layer of lasagna noodles.
On top of the last layer of noodles, add sauce, the rest of the cheese, and zucchini.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes. If using no-boil noodles (and didn't pre-cook them at all), add 10-15 additional minutes. Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Top tip: take your time with each ingredient - it really makes a difference. From drying the zucchini, to kneading the seitan and simmering the sauce, the love at every step will make your lasagna taste great. Wine helps too...
While this recipe is naturally vegan and dairy-free, it is not gluten free, and may not be soy free depending on the cheese you choose.
Since seitan is such a critical part of this sauce, this recipe is not easily made gluten free. That said, if you played with other meat/protein substitutes like tempeh or tofu, let me know in the comments! Make sure to use tamari instead of soy sauce, as soy sauce may contain gluten. A softer white bean could also work well...
If you're looking for something gluten free (aka without seitan) that's still 100% vegan and packed with flavor, check out this butternut squash lasagna. Make it with gluten free pasta...
To make this recipe soy free, I recommend Miyoko's mozzarella (made with cashews, gluten free, soy free), Violife Parmesean and Violife Mozzarella (all Violife products are nut, soy and gluten free). Use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce or tamari.
To make this recipe nut free, omit the Miyoko's mozzarella, and replace with your plant based mozzarella or vegan cheese of choice.
If you're not vegan (or looking for a vegan lasagna) and somehow found this recipe, you may also make this recipe with ground beef in place of seitan and dairy cheese, but where's the fun in that?
Finally, a note on substitutions: while one or two substitutions won't make or break the recipe, if you omit or swap everything in this recipe, it probably won't work the way I intended. Choose wisely!
While there are tons of variations on a classic lasagna, I recommend keeping it simple.
Add whatever veggies you want to this lasagna...
- wilt some spinach or de-stemmed kale into the sauce
- try yellow squash instead of zucchini, or eggplant (saute cubes with the mushrooms)
- or leave out the extra veggies if your crowd isn't into 'em...
...or play around with the spices
- add a tablespoon of nutritional yeast to the sauce for extra cheesiness
- or some paprika and cayenne for heat!
- oregano is a classic...
- and so are parsley and basil! Garnish with fresh herbs and season with dried.
Cooking is fun. Be creative. Don't take yourself too seriously. Taste often.
This recipe was created with stainless steel pots and pans (like All-Clad). Stainless steel conducts heat more efficiently than other cookware, so I use lower heat than you may need if you have other types of cookware. Add a half to a whole notch of heat if you're using other types of cookware. (e.g. low heat becomes medium-low or medium heat).
You may also need...
- Casserole dish - I recommend 9x13 inches-ish. Pyrex/glass and ceramic both work well.
- Baking sheets - incredibly useful for zucchini dehydrating and noodle cooling, also helpful to put casserole dish on when cooking, in case anything drips. Will save you a wholeeee lot of oven cleaning.
- Chef's knife & cutting board
- Prep bowls
- Microplane & grater
- Paper towels (or kitchen towels you don't mind staining) for dehydrating zucchini
- Can opener - nothing worse than making a recipe and realizing you don't have a can opener...been there.
- Foil for covering lasagna in the oven. Not needed if your casserole dish has a lid.
Store cooled lasagna in the fridge for up to 4 days, ideally in an airtight container.
You can also freeze this lasagna for up to a month. For easy access, portion into individual servings in freezer bags. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours, then reheat.
To reheat, preheat oven to 350 F. Place lasagna slice into oven-safe dish, and heat for 10-15 minutes.
You may also reheat in the microwave - start with 1-2 minutes, then 30 second increments until it's warm.
Frequently asked questions
Vegan cheese melts best when covered, not exposed. Think about a grilled cheese - the cheese melts sandwiched between two slices of bread. The same concept applies to vegan cheeses - they're best melted inside a lasagna, or quesadilla, or whatever you're into.
Most vegan cheese doesn't melt normally or brown when exposed like cheese on a pizza, so if that's your goal, look for vegan cheeses specifically made for pizza or get creative and make a cheesy pizza sauce instead.
Seitan is a meat substitute made from wheat gluten that acts a lot like ground beef when crumbled, also known as "wheat meat."
Make your own at home (you need 2 core ingredients, plus whatever veggie broth and flavors you want to add), or buy some ready-made from your local health food store. I've found it in Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, Publix, and Harris Teeter. Once it's ready, turn into crumbles using a food processor or blender.
Or be lazy and pick up some Beyond Meat crumbles...what a wonderful world we live in.
Most supermarkets do a nice job carrying a variety of cheese substitutes. Look for it near the other cheeses, or in the refrigerated section near the packaged cheese slices and shreds. Whole Foods tends to have the most variety.
If you can't find it, try order it online. It takes a little extra planning but is SO worth it when you get exactly what you want.
You can make it without cheese and double down on the veggies and sauce. I recommend doubling the sauce portions. If you don't have your heart set on lasagna, make noodles and have a bolognese instead!
Take your time with this lasagna. From making the seitan from scratch, to slicing each mushroom, these little touches add up to big flavors. Pour yourself a glass of wine, turn your favorite cooking music and enjoy the process.
Looking for more cheesy vegan eats? I got you.
There is ZERO skimping in this vegan lasagna recipe. We are going at this with everything we have. The best vegan cheeses, a homemade meat substitute that will blow your mind and the best veggies I can find.
Is it a little extra effort? Yes. Will you be rewarded? Absofreakinlutely.
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 carrots, grated
- 1 package mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups seitan, pulsed into pea-sized bites*
- 24 oz jar pasta sauce**
- 1 package Miyokos Mozzarella
- 1 package vegan mozzarella shreds
- 1 cup grated vegan parmesean
- 12-16 lasagna noodles with curly edges
- 1-2 zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1-2 Tbsp soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
- Salt/pepper to taste
- Neutral cooking oil (such as Grapeseed)
- 1 tsp oregano (optional)
- ½ tsp paprika (optional)
- ¼ tsp cayenne (optional)
- Fresh parsley (optional garnish)
- Pulse seitan in blender or food processor to create crumbles.
- Thinly slice zucchini and place onto paper towels in one layer. Salt, top with another layer of paper towels, and place something on top of them (I used a sheet pan). The goal is to dehydrate the zucchini.
- Preheat oven to 350 F, then fill a large pasta pot with water, and a generous pinch or two of salt. Bring to a boil, and cook pasta for 4-5 minutes. Place lasagna sheets onto paper towels to cool, do not overlap.
- Meanwhile, prep veggies. Then heat a oil in a flat bottomed pan on medium heat. When oil is hot, add diced onions and carrots with a pinch of salt to soften.
- Once onions are soft (2-3 mins), add minced garlic, mushrooms, seitan, and another pinch of salt. Stir often to prevent sticking. If needed, add a couple tablespoons of water to deglaze pan.
- When mushrooms release juices, add soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos. This will give your sauce a nice meaty kick.
- Add spices if desired, stir to combine, then add pasta sauce or diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.
- Cover and simmer on low heat for 5-10 mins. Taste, and adjust seasoning. Add a quarter cup of pasta water to thicken if needed.
Assemble the Lasagna:
- Start with a little pasta sauce or water to prevent sticking.
- Layer sheets of pasta, ⅓ of the sauce, ⅓ of the zucchini slices, ⅓ of the cheese.
- Repeat step 2 for your second layer.
- For the final layer, top with sauce, zucchini, mozzarella and parmesan
- Cover with foil or lid, and bake for 30-40 mins, until noodles are cooked and cheese is gooey.
- Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 mins before serving.
- Slice, and enjoy! Top with fresh parsley if you have it!
*My recipe coming soon! Or buy from Whole Foods or other health market. To get into small pieces, I pulsed it in my Vitamix, but you can also use a food processor.
**You can make your own with a 24 oz can of tomato sauce and a couple Tbsp of tomato paste, but it will take a little longer for the flavors to develop. I highly recommend adding the spices if you go this route (oregano, paprika, cayenne). If using mushrooms, add tomatoes and sauce after mushrooms release juices. Otherwise, add after onions are cooked and soft.
***I used a 9x13 dish, and it used 12 noodles - 4 on every layer. Play around with this beforehand, as noodles come in different shapes and sizes.
If you need more sauce, you can add some pasta water, ¼ cup by ¼ cup. You can also use pasta water in the bottom of your lasagna pan.
If using no-boil noodles (and didn't pre-cook them at all), add 10-15 minutes to cook time.
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