Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna | Dairy-Free

Going out for Valentine’s Day can be…a lot. Between finding a restaurant, making reservations, realizing the only two time slots left are 4:45 or 9 pm, figuring out what to do with the kids, rushing around to make it on time, being ushered through your dinner in a hurry so your table will be free for the next reservation, and somehow being charged more for less food than if it were a regular Wednesday, you don’t even get to really connect with your valentine. Not this year! We’ve got the perfect recipe so you can stay home, enjoy a delicious dinner, and, most importantly, actually spend some time with your special someone. Our Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna will have you both falling in love all over again.

This plant based lasagna is as wholesome as it is delightful. Layers of velvety eggplant, sautéed veggies, vibrant homemade marinara sauce, and simple dairy-free ricotta cheese all come together for a dish that’s fancy enough for date night but satisfying enough to please any omnivore. No valentine? No problem. This incredibly yummy lasagna is great as a dinner for one (no need to share the leftovers!) or any time of year.

wfpb eggplant lasagna

What’s inside 

Eggplant: Seems obvious, right? Not only does it lend a meaty texture to the lasagna, but it also serves as a tasty, toothsome, and nutritious gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta. If you don’t typically like eggplant, we think this might be the dish that changes your mind.

plant based gluten free eggplant lasagna

Extra firm tofu: The base of our dairy-free ricotta. Its crumbly texture and mild flavor make it perfect for seasoning to perfection and layering between oven-roasted eggplant and robust marinara sauce.

Nutritional yeast: Also known lovingly as “nooch,” this is a non-active yeast used in tons of plant based recipes due to its nutty, subtle cheesy flavor. It’s usually easily found in health food stores and some conventional grocery stores.

easy tofu ricotta

Apple cider vinegar: Another darling of plant based eaters, apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice. We prefer unfiltered, organic vinegar with “the mother.” The mother is what’s left of the good bacteria used to ferment the apple juice. It contains probiotic cultures that are good for digestion as well as other things.

How to make Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna 

We’re going to prepare the elements we’ll be layering later:

  1. Marinara Sauce
  2. Roasted eggplant slices
  3. Dairy-free ricotta cheese
  4. Sautéed veggies
easy eggplant lasagna

You can do all of these up to one day in advance and store them separately in the fridge. Pull everything out to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour before assembling your lasagna. 

First, whip up a batch of Marinara Sauce. The recipe makes 3½ cups, which is how much you’ll need for the lasagna.

Next, rinse your tofu and get it pressed. If you don’t have a fancy tofu press, our go-to is the very technical put the tofu on a plate, place a cutting board on top, then put something heavy on top of the cutting board method.

plant based ricotta

You don’t want a lot of height stacked on top, so go with something relatively squat and heavy, like your grandmother’s prized copy of Joy of Cooking or a large cast iron skillet. Let the excess liquid drain from the pressed tofu for 10 to 15 minutes. Once it’s done, remove the cutting board and weights, and set aside.

While your tofu does its thing, preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and slice your eggplant. Long, thin slices about ¼-inch thick work best. A sharp chef’s knife is good for this, or you can use a mandolin for quick, even slices. Just be sure to use the hand guard that came with it, or you’ll make a romantic trip to the ER. 

noodle free eggplant lasagna

Now, let’s roast your eggplant. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, place your eggplant slices on it in a single layer, and season with salt and pepper. If your slices don’t fit on a single pan, use two and rotate them midway through baking. Pop into the oven for 10 minutes. Then, remove the baking sheet(s) and set aside. You can leave the oven on if you’re making everything on the same day. If preparing ahead of time, turn off the oven, and allow the eggplant to cool completely before storing in the fridge. 

vegan gluten free eggplant lasagna

It’s dairy-free ricotta time, baby! Crumble your pressed tofu into a mixing bowl using clean hands. How finely you crumble it is up to you. We like the pieces to be pea-sized or smaller. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, dried dill, salt, apple cider vinegar, and water. Stir until well combined, taste for seasoning, and set aside.

vegan ricotta

To sauté the veggies, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add your chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the pieces start to soften and go slightly translucent at the edges, about 3 minutes. Add a splash of water if anything starts to stick.

veggie mix

Next, dump in the mushrooms, salt, and parsley. Sauté for another 3 minutes, then add the spinach, turn off the heat, and stir until the spinach is wilted and combined. 

eggplant lasagna sautéed

Let’s assemble our Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna 

Now that we’ve got all of our individual elements prepared, we’re ready to layer! Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC) if you haven’t already, and grab a 9×13-inch casserole dish.

First, spread about ½ cup of marinara sauce evenly on the bottom of the dish. Then, follow with a single layer of eggplant slices and half of the veggie mixture.

Spread another ½ cup of marinara sauce on top of the veggies, then layer on another single layer of eggplant slices, and follow with the remaining veggie mixture.

Put another ½ cup of marinara sauce on top, followed by the remaining eggplant, then spread all of the dairy-free ricotta evenly on top. Cover everything with the remaining 2 cups of marinara sauce. 

Bake uncovered until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow it to settle for 5-10 minutes, then slice it up and serve. If you want to spice things up, sprinkle crushed red pepper on the top. 

dairy free eggplant lasagna
vegan eggplant lasagna

Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna

Serves 8-10

Author: Molly Patrick

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Dairy-free ricotta cheese

Bake the eggplant

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Place the eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes; Take out and set aside.

Make the dairy-free ricotta cheese

  • Remove the block of tofu from the package and rinse with water. Place it on a plate and set a cutting board on top of the tofu. Place something heavy on top of the cutting board, like a big cookbook or a heavy skillet. Set aside for 10–15 minutes. 

  • Crumble the tofu in a mixing bowl until there are no big pieces, and then add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, dried dill, salt, apple cider vinegar, and water. Stir until everything is combined and set aside. 

Make the sautéed veggies

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently so they don’t stick. Add a splash of water if they start to stick. 

  • Add the mushrooms, salt, and parsley and saute for an additional 3 minutes. Add the spinach, turn off heat, and stir until the spinach is combined. Set aside.

Assemble your lasagna

  • Make sure the oven is preheated to 350°F (175°C).

  • Evenly spread ½ cup of Marinara Sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. Follow with a single layer of roasted eggplant slices over the sauce. Then, spread ½ of the sautéed veggies on top.

  • Layer another ½ cup of Marinara Sauce over the veggies, followed by another layer of roasted eggplant slices, and all of the remaining veggies.

  • Spread another ½ cup of Marinara Sauce on top, then the remaining eggplant, all of the dairy-free ricotta, and the final 2 cups of the Marinara Sauce.

  • Place your lasagna in the oven uncovered and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 5–10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Serving suggestions 

This sweetheart of a recipe makes one 9×13-inch Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna, enough to serve eight to 10 people. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. 

This yummy, filling lasagna is great on its own, but you can dress up your meal by serving it with a side salad. We like these: 

Not feeling leafy? Serve it up with this incredible Pan con Tomate, or keep it simple with sliced whole grain bread. You really can’t go wrong.

Room for dessert? You’ll be ending the night with mouthgasms after enjoying this Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake or these Dark Chocolate Almond Truffles

whole food plant based eggplant lasagna

Have you started your love affair with our Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna? Tell us all about the meet-cute in the comments below.

Whether you’re enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner for two, treating yourself to a quiet plant based gluten-free dinner alone, or feeding the neighborhood, we hope you’ll savor the simple act of love that is cooking and eating plants. 

Here’s to good food and great company!

Xo 
Team Dirty

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