This vegan dairy free lasagna is so tasty, you won’t miss the meat and cheese of a traditional lasagna. Thanks to a few tricks create plant-based, dairy free swaps for the béchamel and ricotta cheese it still tastes rich and indulgent.
When you go plant-based, it can be hard to give up some classic comfort food dishes like lasagna. It’s difficult to replicate the rich, gooey layers of a traditional lasagna without dairy cheese. However, we used a few tricks to create plant-based, dairy free swaps for the béchamel and ricotta cheese. You’re not going to feel like you are missing out anymore once you try this vegan dairy free lasagna!
Vegan Lasagna Ingredients
- No-Boil Lasagna Noodles: Save yourself from washing an extra pot and use no-boil lasagna noodles! (Some brands call them ‘oven ready’. Either one will work well.) Just double check the label as some no-boil noodles contain eggs.
- Mushrooms and Fresh Spinach: I love this combo of veggies in lasagna. You’ll cook the mushrooms and spinach together in a pan with onion, garlic, red wine, and oregano to really pack it with flavor before layering it into the lasagna.
- Tofu: You’ll need firm tofu for the vegan ricotta cheese in this vegan lasagna.
- Nutritional Yeast: This is the secret ingredient that adds cheesy flavor to the ricotta and the cashew cream sauce without the cheese, of course! Don’t have nutritional yeast on hand? Here’s a list of nutritional yeast substitutes you can try.
- Cashews: use raw, unsalted cashews in this lasagna for a creamy cashew sauce that adds delicious richness.
- Tomato Sauce: Since you are already making a ricotta and cashew cream sauce, I just buy a store-bought pasta sauce for the red sauce in this vegan lasagna.
How to Make Vegan Lasagna
Cook the Mushrooms and Spinach: add the olive oil, mushrooms, and onion to a skillet and cook until tender. Stir in garlic, red wine, oregano, and chili flakes. Sauté until the wine is cooked off then add the spinach and cook until wilted.
Make the Dairy Free Ricotta: add all the ricotta ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Break tofu apart with a fork until it resembles ricotta. Stir in the yeast, basil, and parsley. Set aside.
Make the Cashew Cream: puree all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth.
Assemble the Lasagna: layer the marinara sauce, noodles, mushroom/spinach mixture, tofu ricotta, and chase cream in an 8×8 inch baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Take foil off and cook for another 10 minutes. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting. Garnish with fresh basil or chopped parsley.
How to Make Cashew Cream Sauce
For an extra creamy vegan lasagna, we added this yummy (but simple to make!) cashew cream sauce. It mimics the texture and richness of a béchamel. To create the cashew cream sauce (ie. dairy free béchamel), puree raw cashews in a blender with vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce until smooth. **If you don’t have a higher powered blender, it can be helpful to soak the cashews in hot water for 30 minutes to soften them.**
How to Make Tofu Ricotta
Instead of ricotta cheese, this dairy free lasagna has a simple tofu ricotta sandwiched between the layers of pasta and sauce. The texture of firm tofu is best for ricotta. You’ll drain the excess water from the tofu package and then add it to a bowl with nutritional yeast, basil, parsley salt, and pepper. Use a fork to mash it well until creamy like a ricotta or add it to a small food processor and blitz until it becomes a ricotta-like texture.
Tips for the Best Vegan Lasagna
- Use a Good Marinara: Splurge on a higher quality marinara sauce so you can make the best vegan lasagna. You can also make your own from scratch like my small batch tomato sauce.
- Switch up Your Veggies: Feel free to use other veggies in the filling of this lasagna like butternut squash, zucchini, peppers, or cauliflower. Just make sure to chop into small bite size pieces and pre-cook to remove excess moisture.
- Add More Protein: Want a meaty lasagna? Add 3/4 cup of plant-based ground beef crumbles like Gardein or Beyond Meat to the sauce before layering your lasagna. If a ground beef alternative isn’t your thing – you could also add 1 can of drained white beans to this lasagna.
- Cool Before Cutting: Allow the lasagna to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting because this gives it time to firm up and set for cleaner slices. (Otherwise it may fall apart when cutting!)
What to Serve with Dairy Free Lasagna
I love serving this vegan mushroom and spinach lasagna with a big salad. If you want a salad recipe, this simple white bean pesto salad with arugula or this vegan chopped Italian salad would be a great options for pairing with this lasagna.
Can you freeze this lasagna recipe?
Yes, you can freeze this lasagna and reheat it later! You can either assemble the recipe until the baking step and then cover and freeze to bake it later. If freezing after baking, I would suggest cutting it into singe serving pieces and then freezing those separately in containers.
You’ll find a lot of the same ingredients from a traditional lasagna in a vegan one – pasta, marinara, and veggies. If you like a meaty lasagna, substitute with a plant-based option. For cheese, buy a plant-based cheese from the store make your own like we did in this recipe.
For this dairy free lasagna, we used a simple homemade tofu ricotta in place of the ricotta cheese. You could also buy a dairy free ricotta from the store. I like the from Kite Hill brand.
Excess moisture is the reason for soggy lasagna! Avoid it by making sure that any extra water is cooked out of any veggies you add (like the spinach and mushrooms in this recipe). You’l also want to make sure to drain your tofu well for the tofu ricotta layer so it doesn’t make your lasagna soggy. We like using no-boil noodles for veggie lasagnas since it helps soak up some of the extra moisture as the lasagna bakes.
Not always – some lasagna noodles are made with eggs so make sure to double check the label before purchasing to make sure it doesn’t contain any animal-based ingredients.
Yes! This lasagna can easily be made gluten free by using gluten free pasta noodles and substituting the soy sauce in the cashew cream with tamari.
Barilla’s traditional wavy lasagna noodles are vegan, but the Barilla oven-ready lasagna noodles are not vegan as they contain eggs.
More Vegan Comfort Food Recipes
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Dairy Free Lasagna (Vegan)
This vegan lasagna with tofu ricotta is so tasty, you won’t miss the meat and cheese of a traditional lasagna. I’m sure your whole family is going to love it!
Prevent your screen from going dark
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large non-stick skillet, heat the olive oil for 1 minute. Stir in the mushrooms and onion. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until onion is tender and translucent. Stir in the garlic, red wine, oregano, and red chili flakes. Cook another 1-2 minutes until some of the wine has cooked off. Stir in the spinach and cook another 2-3 minutes until wilted. Set aside.
To make the vegan ricotta, add all the ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Break tofu apart with a fork until it resembles ricotta. Stir in the yeast, basil, and parsley. Set aside.
To make the cashew cream, puree all the ingredients together in a blender.
To assemble the lasagna, spread 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce in an even layer onto the bottom of an 8″x 8″ baking dish. Top with 3 lasagna noodles then 1/2 of the mushroom spinach mixture, then 1/2 the tofu ricotta, then 1/3 of the cashew cream, and 1/3 of the marinara. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles, the other 1/2 of the mushrooms, the last 1/2 of the tofu ricotta, another 1/3 of the cashew cream and another 1/3 of the marinara. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles. Spread the last of the cashew cream and marinara over the top noodles. Sprinkle with additional nutritional yeast and chopped parsley if desired.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Take foil off and cook for another 10 minutes.
Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before cutting. Garnish with fresh basil and store-bought vegan parmesan if desired.
This lasagna freezes very well if you want to make it ahead. To freeze, either cut into individual servings and store in separate airtight containers and then thaw in the microwave when ready to eat.
Serving: 1serving | Calories: 495kcal | Carbohydrates: 54.5g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g | Sodium: 215mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 6g