I don’t say this lightly… This is the BEST and EASIEST vegan lasagna recipe! Layered with a rich marinara, creamy ricotta, spinach, noodles and topped with ooey-gooey vegan mozzarella cheese. No need to pre-cook the noodles!
After 400+ 5-star reviews, it’s safe to say that this is the BEST vegan lasagna recipe ever!
I’ve tried so many different recipes for vegan lasagna; some with veggies throughout and others made with vegan meat. Finally, I came up with this winning version that emphasizes comforting and ultra-satisfying bites using healthy, nourishing ingredients, like cashews, red lentils, and spinach. It’s also easy to put together and make ahead of time, so you can add it to your weekly dinner menu!
My vegan lentil lasagna layers red lentil marinara sauce, vegan ricotta cheese, and spinach in between tender lasagna noodles. Pour my homemade Vegan Mozzarella Cheese on top for extra cheesy bites, then bake until bubbly.
Why is this vegan lasagna the best?
- The ultimate comfort food: Despite its healthy and nourishing ingredients, this lasagna has comfort written all over it. Every bite is creamy, rich, and so satisfying.
- Make it ahead of time: Assemble the lasagna or bake it the day before serving! It even freezes well for months.
- Kid-friendly: I love vegan lasagna with zucchini, greens, and extra veggies. But my kids? Not so much. That’s why this meaty and hearty version hides the veggies so well. You can feel good about feeding your family a healthy meal while indulging in an ultra-comforting dinner!
- Packed with protein: The red lentils help to pack 26 grams of protein into every serving.
- Deceptively vegan! Vegan lasagna with cashew ricotta may be healthier than the traditional recipe, but you’d never know it. The cheesy and meaty bites are too good to pass up and are sure to fool the meat eaters in your life!
What kind of noodles are best for lasagna?
You don’t have to use no boil noodles for this lasagna even though we aren’t cooking them beforehand! I usually find no boil noodles have eggs in them anyhow. Regular lasagna noodles are what I typically use, and I have used many different shapes and brands over the years. They all work well. Gluten free lasagna noodles as well as whole wheat/whole grain work too! And trust me, you don’t have to pre-cook them!
I use extra sauce and layer it in strategically. With a longer baking time, the noodles cook up perfectly.
If you insist on using no boil noodles, that’s fine, but you won’t need to cook it for as long.
How to make vegan lasagna
Find the complete recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.
First, cook the red lentils. Add the lentils and water to a saucepan on the stove and bring the water up to a boil. Simmer until the lentils are soft.
Drain the water and transfer the cooked lentils to a large bowl.
Pour the jars of marinara sauce into the bowl, then stir to combine.
Meanwhile, make the cashew-tofu ricotta by blending the cashews in a food processor until crumbly. Add the ripped tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, basil, oregano, and garlic powder. Pulse again until the “ricotta” is smooth. Or use my almond based Vegan Ricotta instead.
To start assembling the lasagna, pour 1 cup of the red lentil tomato sauce into the bottom of a large casserole dish. Spread it out to the edges with a spatula or spoon.
Next, add the first layer of uncooked lasagna noodles.
Spread half of the cashew ricotta cheese on top, then add half of the spinach.
Pour more of the marinara sauce over the spinach.
Add a second layer of lasagna noodles on top, then add the rest of the “ricotta” and spinach.
To finish, add the third and final layer of lasagna noodles on top of the spinach, then pour the rest of the sauce over top.
Cover the casserole dish with a layer of foil and bake the lasagna for 1 hour. After it’s done, let the lasagna cool before slicing and serving.
Alternatively, you can top the lasagna with Vegan Mozzarella Cheese at the 40-minute mark. Take the lasagna out of the oven, remove and discard the foil, and spoon the mozzarella (or vegan shredded cheese) all over the top. Place the lasagna back in the oven until it’s bubbly and gooey (about 20 minutes).
Let it cool for 15 minutes or so before slicing and serving.
Tips for success
- Use a marinara sauce that you enjoy the flavor of, or make your own from scratch like my Vegan Spaghetti Sauce.
- If the vegan ricotta isn’t as smooth as you like, blend in a splash of water at a time until it’s smooth and creamy.
- Are you adding more veggies to this lasagna? Hearty or watery vegetables, like mushrooms, potatoes, squash, zucchini, broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower, will need to be cooked ahead of time.
- Let the lasagna cool for at least 15 minutes out of the oven. This gives it time to firm up and set, which prevents the lasagna slices from falling apart and making a mess.
Vegan lasagna variations
Use these ideas to customize the lasagna for your taste buds or dietary restrictions:
- Meaty lasagna – I often substitute vegan ground beef for the lentils, such as Beyond or Impossible Meat. To do this, simply cook the vegan ground beef in a pan until it’s browned and cooked through, then stir in the marinara sauce and continue the recipe as normal.
- Veggie lasagna – Feel free to add even more veggies to the lasagna. My favorites are roasted zucchini, yellow squash, and red onion, but butternut squash, cauliflower, mushrooms, and sweet potato are delicious as well. Just layer in the veggies at the same time as the spinach.
- Nut free lasagna – To make this vegan lasagna nut free, use a nut free brand of store-bought vegan shredded cheese instead of my homemade mozzarella. For the cashew ricotta, omit the cashews and use another block of tofu in its place. Add extra salt or seasonings to taste, and perhaps a little water if needed to blend.
Frequently asked questions
For sure! Brown or green lentils don’t get as soft or creamy when they’re cooked, which means they’ll be more noticeable in the sauce. It will still be delicious, though!
Yes. All you need to do is replace the noodles! I’ve tested this lasagna with gluten free lasagna noodles and it worked out really well.
First and foremost, vegan garlic bread! The buttery, garlicky bread is the perfect complement to every hearty bite of lasagna. Dutch oven bread is also a good choice. Otherwise, keep the side dishes simple with vegan Caesar salad and cooked vegetables, like roasted brussels sprouts or air fryer asparagus.
Yes, you could assemble the lasagna, cover it, and keep it in the fridge overnight before baking the next day. You can also cook the lasagna, then wait for it to cool and keep it in the fridge overnight. Reheat and serve the next day.
The leftover lasagna or slices can be stored in the covered casserole dish or an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat it in a 350ºF oven for about 30 minutes or until the cheese and sauce are bubbly again, or simply microwave until warm.
Yes, the lasagna and individual slices freeze very well before or after baking. Once the lasagna is assembled or finished baking, wait for it to cool, then cover it with a layer of plastic and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Or assemble the lasagna and freeze before baking.
Before serving, thaw the lasagna overnight in the fridge. Bake the next day in a 350ºF oven until warm and bubbly.
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The Best Vegan Lasagna
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- (2) 25-ounce jars marinara sauce
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 14.5 ounce firm tofu patted dry
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice from about 2 lemons
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 1 box lasagna noodles (about 12 noodles) regular, gluten free or whole grain
- Double recipe Easy Vegan Mozzarella Cheese or 2-3 cups shredded vegan mozzarella
- Cook the red lentils. Add 1 cup dried red lentils and 3 cups of water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for about 20 minutes. Drain the lentils in a fine strainer, and then add back to the pot and stir in the marinara sauce. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Make the Cashew-Tofu Ricotta: Add the cashews to a food processor and process until fine and crumbly. Then add the tofu in chunks, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, basil, oregano and garlic powder to the food processor. Pulse until well combined and pretty smooth. If it's too thick, add a few tablespoons of water to blend. Set aside.
- Assembling the lasagna: Add about 1 cup of lentil marinara to the bottom of a large 9×13 inch casserole dish. Spread it around evenly. Next add 4-5 lasagna noodles (uncooked). Spread half of the ricotta on top of the noodles. Top with half of the spinach. Add about 1 cup of the marinara sauce over the spinach, then place 4-5 lasagna noodles on top. Spread the rest of the ricotta over the noodles, then the rest of the spinach. Place 4-5 more noodles on top of the spinach, and then pour the rest of the sauce over the top, evenly.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- While the lasagna is cooking, make your Vegan Mozzarella Cheese, if using. Alternatively, use 2-3 cups store bought vegan mozzarella cheese.
- After 40 minutes, remove the foil and spoon on the mozzarella (or sprinkle the cheese all over). Place the lasagna back in the oven and bake for 20 more minutes, uncovered. Remove from oven, let cool for at least 15 minutes and serve.
- Leftover lasagna will keep for about 4 days in the refrigerator. See notes for freezing instructions.
- Meaty Lasagna – Often I substitute vegan ground beef such as Beyond or Impossible for the lentils. To do this, simply cook the vegan ground beef in a pan until cooked, then stir in the marinara and proceed with the recipe.
- Veggie Lasagna – Feel free to add some veggies in addition to the spinach if you want. I like to roast a few zucchini/yellow squash/red onion and perhaps butternut squash, cauliflower or sweet potato. Then layer in the lasagna with the spinach layer.
- Nut Free Lasagna – To make the lasagna nut free, use store bought vegan cheese shreds for the top layer (and ensure it’s a nut free brand!). For the ricotta, omit the cashews and add another block of tofu. Add extra salt or seasonings to taste, and perhaps a little water if needed to blend.
- Lasagna noodles – You don’t need to use no boil lasagna noodles for this recipe. The noodles will cook in the oven because of the extra sauce. I’ve tested it with gluten free, whole wheat and regular noodles. They all work well. If you want to use no boil noodles or cook the noodles beforehand, you can, but I would recommend using a bit less marinara sauce and you could cut the cook time down to 30-40 minutes.
- Freezer Lasagna – Assemble the lasagna, but instead of baking, let cool, cover and wrap well and freeze. Alternatively, you can freeze it after baking and cooling. Either way will work fine. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bake in a 350 degrees F oven until warm throughout. Individual slices also freeze well.