Believe it or not, great vegan lasagna is possible!
I've struggled for years to make a heart healthy version of lasagna. Tofu lasanga? Blech. Then I found out that real Italian lasagna isn't made with cheese, it's made with bechamel. So I made a vegan bechamel sauce (made with almond milk!), and put together a lasagna with my favorite combination, mushrooms and swiss chard. YUM. Take a look at the photo - although it's hard to tell how creamy it is from the picture.
The recipe is a bit complicated, so I wasn't sure about posting it here, but since you asked, I'll be glad to. It's also on my blog.
Vegan Lasagna with Bechamel Sauce
For the marinara sauce (or use 4 1/2 c. of your favorite marinara sauce)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz can plum tomatoes in puree (undrained), chopped or squeezed with your hands
1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil
For the vegetables:
2 T. Extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. mushrooms (I used a mixture of cremini, oyster and shiitake), sliced
1 large bunch of green Swiss chard, center stems removed and leaves well chopped
For béchamel sauce:
5 T. organic canola oil
8 T. all-purpose flour
4 c. unsweetened almond milk (make sure it’s unsweetened – you can find this in a non-refrigerated carton)
1 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly grated nutmeg
Black pepper to taste
12 whole wheat lasagna noodles (or 16 if you’re using the smaller variety, such as Bionaturae brand)
To make the marinara sauce, heat the 2 T. oil in a large pot. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add all the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add the basil and remove from heat.
To prepare the vegetables, heat 2 T. oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl. Add the Swiss chard to the pan and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. (You can add a little additional oil to the pan if it seems dry after removing the mushrooms.) Combine the mushrooms and chard and set aside.
Prepare the béchamel sauce soon before assembling the lasagna. First, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon, and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. You don’t want it to turn a color. Remove the pan from the heat and add a cup of the almond milk. Use a whisk to make it smooth, then return the pan to the burner and add the rest of the almond milk gradually, whisking with each addition. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, whisking constantly, until thick and velvety. Remove from the heat and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions and drain. Place 1/2 c. of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 13 x 9″ pan. Cover with 3 lasagna noodles, and top with 1 cup of béchamel sauce, 1 cup of marinara and a third of the vegetable mixture. Repeat with a second and third layer of noodles, sauces and vegetables. Finish with a final layer of noodles, and top with a cup of marinara and carefully spread about 3/4 c. of béchamel over the top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Actually, real Italian lasagna is made with both bechamel and cheese, definitely parmasean and ricotta. My wife's Italian grandmother came off a boat from Emilia–Romagna and her lasagna always had cheese but didn't always have meat.
Good for you to find a substitute you like.
Hello! I am making a rotolo for a dinner party but I need a vegan alternative for one of the guests. I do not have a problem with the filling, but I do with the pasta. The rotolo pasta has egg in it,
Are storebought lasagna sheets vegan? Or can I make a vegan pasta dough without eggs?
Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Thanks a lot! I wanted to make my own pasta dough without egg, but if I don't have time I will defer to the dried. I tried to make a menu where I wouldnt need too many alternative dishes for my vegan guest. Also found a vegan bechamel sauce on zucchini and chocolate blog site that looks good.