Even though I’m not vegan, I decided to take a chance and try this lasagna because it’s a light, lactose-free option with plenty of vegetables (I try to get my vegetables in my diet every day because eating your vegetables + drinking water are the fountain of youth – but that’s for another post…). Let me tell you. I’m not kidding…this vegan lasagna was better than regular lasagna, and it was all because of the cashew sauce. I PROMISE YOU!
This recipe is so creamy and delicious, and I NEVER would have thought that this would have taste THIS good. I served this dish with roasted chicken and it was the perfect comfort meal for a cold winter evening. The best part was that it didn’t feel like I just ate a brick – I felt light and well-nourished and my taste buds were very happy.
Below is the modified recipe using the Cookie and Kate Best Vegan Lasagna recipe as a base – check out their page for all of the pictures, videos and tips. I’ve also listed the recipe below for your convenience with my notes.
- 2 Cans of whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano if possible)
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 2 heaping Tbs pitted black olives (if you don’t like olives, you can’t really taste them – they just add a salty flavor and “umami” to the sauce)
- 1/2 cup Vidalia onion (diced)
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbs dried marjoram
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 Tbs granulated Sugar
- 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly cracked pepper to taste
- 2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours if you do not have a high-powered blender (If you have a Vitamix or Ninja, you don’t have to soak)
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium-to-large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large or 3 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 8 ounces Baby Bella mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 5 to 6 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- *You can use whatever vegetables you have on-hand – I also added some orange bell pepper.
- 2 ½ cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought (I strongly recommend homemade)
- 9 no-boil lasagna noodles
Make the Sauce:
Start by making your sauce (you can use canned to save time, but once you make your own sauce, it’s hard to go back) This sauce is from Chef Jason London of Boe Love Personal Chef: (It’s delicious and makes more sauce than you need for the lasagna, and it gives you extra for serving later)
Remove the tomatoes from the can and place in a large bowl. Squeeze the tomatoes with your hands until there are no large chunks remaining. Set aside.
Peel the garlic cloves, dice and set aside. Dice the onion. Give the olives a rough chop.
Pour the olive oil in a saucepan and heat over medium low heat. Once the oil is warm, add the garlic, onion and olives then sweat until the mixture become aromatic. Do not brown the garlic. Maybe 2 -3 minutes.
Pour in the squeezed tomatoes and mix well. Add the dried spices, sugar, and balsamic vinegar. Cover the saucepan partially and simmer until the sauce reduces by about 15% and looks velvety and rich. Add kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. If you soaked your cashews, drain and rinse them until the water runs clear.
Make the Cashew Cream:
In a blender, combine the cashews, water, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and mustard. Blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. If you’re having trouble blending the mixture, slowly blend in up to ½ cup additional water, using only as much as necessary. Set aside.
Prepare the Vegetables:
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Once shimmering, add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, salt and several twists of black pepper. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until most of the moisture is gone and the vegetables are tender and turning golden on the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add another splash of olive oil if necessary to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Add a few large handfuls of spinach to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted. Repeat with remaining spinach and cook until all of the spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds. Remove the skillet from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Assemble the Lasagna:
Spread ¾ cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9” by 9” baking dish. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top (snap off their ends to fit, and/or overlap their edges as necessary). Spread 1 cup of the cashew cream evenly over the noodles. Top with half of the veggies. Top with ¾ cup tomato sauce.
Top with 3 more noodles, followed by another 1 cup cashew cream (save the leftover cream). Then add the remaining veggies.
Top with 3 more noodles, then spread ¾ cup tomato sauce over the top to evenly cover the noodles.
Wrap a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil around the top of the lasagna, making sure it’s taut so it doesn’t touch the top. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes, then remove the cover, rotate the pan by 180° and continue cooking for about 5 to 10 more minutes, until it’s steaming and lightly bubbling at the corners.
Remove the pan from the oven and let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes, so it has time to set and cool down to a reasonable temperature. Drizzle leftover cashew cream on top (if it’s too thick to drizzle, thin it out with a small amount of water first).
SO GOOD! Enjoy it – it makes a small pan so if you are feeding more than 2 people, you might want to double the recipe. Bon Appetit!