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Jun 5, 2010 11:19 AM

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.

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  1. Looks delicious, cathyeats. Mind sharing the recipe? Thanks!

    4 Replies
    1. re: kermit

      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.

      1. re: cathyeats

        I can't wait to try this! Looks fantastic. Thanks again for sharing the recipe!

        1. re: cathyeats

          This is an awesome recipe--I made it shortly after it was posted and forgot to update. YUM!

          1. re: cathyeats

            Thank you so much--can't wait to try!

        2. 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.

          5 Replies
          1. re: John E.

            Thanks John. I stand corrected! I did some more research and I do see that "Lasagna al Forno" contains cheese, but often just parmagiano reggiano, not mozzarella or ricotta. It also varies from region to region, or even town to town. Interesting.

            1. re: John E.

              including both bechamel and cheese would be a northern italian thing.

              please put the brakes on calling anything"real italian" when dishes vary so widely from region to region and village to village.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Yeah, we're all guilty of making claims like that from time to time. I'm still going to defer to the experiences I described in the post to which you replied.

                1. re: John E.

                  it only means it was traditional in your wife's family. my italian family, from naples, did not use a bechamel in the lasagne.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    My point really was not so much about the bechamel, but the cheese. She didn't always use a bechamel, that came in later by some other relative to make the lasagna more 'creamy'. I've never heard of lasagna without parmesan.

            2. That looks like a delicious recipe, thank you. It is also possible to make good raw food vegan lasagna. Here is the recipe I use:


              1. 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.

                3 Replies
                1. re: eviemichael

                  In general, dried pasta has no egg, so you should be fine with that!

                  1. re: cathyeats

                    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.

                    1. re: eviemichael

                      Most store-bought lasagna noodles don't have egg in them, but I'm pretty sure Barilla's do.

                      Cathy, the recipe sounds terrific. I'll definitely keep it for when I need a yummy vegan dish.

                2. Thanks. This looks great and I can not wait to try it!