This amazing whole food plant based lasagna boasts a beautiful fresh tasting red sauce and a lovely white bean and spinach béchamel sauce. Vegan, Oil free, sugar free, no highly processed ingredients, and gluten free.
Red Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 large yellow onion, fine dice
- 3 – [ 26.5 oz boxes ] Pomi strained tomatoes *
- 1 cup dry red wine (vegan) *
- 1 Tablespoons dried minced onions
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt (+/-)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (+/- )
- Pinch red pepper flake
Béchamel Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 large yellow onion, fine dice
- 2 Tablespoons GF flour *
- 3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth *
- 2 cups water
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon dried crushed thyme leaves *
- 3 Tablespoons dried minced onions
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt (+/-)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper (+/-)
Cashew Cream Ingredients for Béchamel Sauce:
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 ¼ cup unsweetened plain plant milk
- 2 – [ 15.5 oz. cans ] cannellini beans, roughly smashed
- 2 – [ 1 pound boxes ] no-cook lasagna noodles *
- 1 to 3 cups frozen chopped spinach (or fresh chopped spinach) *
- Fresh basil
Vegan “Parmesan Cheese” Ingredients (optional):
- ¼ cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup blanched slivered amonds
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (+/- )
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Place 1 cup of cashews in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Make the red sauce: In a large ceramic/enamel lined Dutch oven or similar stock pot, add the finely diced onions and sauté until they begin to soften, approx. 7 to 9 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if the onions start to stick to the pan.
- Add all the other remaining ingredients, including pouring 1/3 cup of water into each strained tomato box to rinse them out to obtain all the tomatoes. Stir well to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Bring the red sauce to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for one hour; taste test the flavor, add more spices as needed. Stir occasionally to allow the flavors to marry and the sauce to thicken.
- In the meantime, make the Béchamel sauce. Over medium heat, sauté the minced onion in a ceramic/enamel coated skillet until soft, approx. 5 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if the onions start to stick to the pan.
- Sprinkle the flour over the sautéed onions and then sauté the flour with the onions for 2-3 minutes. They will look like flour covered clumps, that is fine.
- Add the vegetable broth and water to the skillet, stirring to thicken. Add the onion powder, garlic powder, sweet paprika, thyme, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Stir well to combine.
- Make the cashew cream. Drain the water from the cashews, discard this water. Place the cashews in a high-speed blender, add the unsweetened plain plant milk in the high-speed blender. Blend on high until very smooth.
- Add the cashew cream to the Béchamel sauce and heat until smooth and creamy. Allow to cook for 5 minutes on low.
- Microwave the frozen spinach until warm, squeeze all the water out of the spinach and then add to the Béchamel sauce. If using fresh spinach, chop it and add it to the Béchamel sauce, heat until wilted in the sauce.
- Drain and rinse 2 cans of cannellini beans and place them into a bowl. Using a potato masher, fork or wooden spoon, roughly mash them, leaving ½ mashed and the other half slightly mashed. Add to the Béchamel sauce. Cook for a few minutes.
- Keep the Béchamel sauce warm and stir occasionally until you are ready to assemble the lasagna. When you are ready to begin turn off the heat on the red sauce and Béchamel sauce.
- To assemble the lasagna, preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Spread a generous even layer of red sauce to coat the bottom of a 10 x 13 x 3 inch deep lasagna pan or deep baking dish. Layer uncooked lasagna noodles lengthwise in the pan. Break a few in half in order to line the entire bottom of the pan. Press the lasagna noodles into the sauce, then add another layer of red sauce on top of the noodles to ensure that the noodles are covered in red sauce.
- Next divide your Béchamel sauce in half in the skillet. Use half of the Béchamel sauce and cover the red sauce coated lasagna noodles by very carefully dolloping it onto of the red sauce in 8 or more large spoonfuls in sections. Then using the back of a spoon, gently spread it out into an even layer. Try not to mix the red sauce and the Béchamel together. You want the Béchamel to be its own distinct layer.
- Next place down another layer of uncooked lasagna noodles lengthwise in the pan. Break a few in half, if needed, to complete a layer.
- Next spoon a generous layer of red sauce to completely cover the uncooked noodles.
- Use the remaining Béchamel sauce left in the skillet and cover the lasagna noodles by dolloping it onto of the red sauce in 8 or more large spoonfuls in sections. Then using the back of a spoon, gently spread it out into an even layer. Try not to mix the red sauce and the Béchamel together. You want the Béchamel to be its own distinct layer.
- Now place down the last layer uncooked lasagna noodles lengthwise in the pan. Break a few in half, if needed, to complete a layer.
- Cover the last layer of uncooked lasagna noodles with a layer of red sauce that covers all the noodles. (You may have approx. 2 cups of red sauce left over, store in the fridge or freeze for another recipe.) Or if you are like us, you may wish to serve the lasagna with an additional side of sauce.
- Cover the pan tightly with foil and place in the oven. Put a cookie sheet on the rack below the pan in order to catch bubble overs. Bake for 35 minutes.
- After 35 minutes, carefully remove the foil. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, make the vegan “Parmesan cheese” by adding all the ingredients into a high-speed blender and pulsing for one minute.
- After the lasagna has baked uncovered for 15 minutes, carefully remove from the oven and sprinkle a light layer of the vegan “Parmesan cheese” (about ¼ cup) over the top and return to the oven for 5 minutes. (Save the remainder “Parmesan cheese” for individual servings.
- Remove from the oven and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Chiffonade several fresh basil leaves and scatter across the top of the lasagna.
*Pomi Strained Tomatoes: These tomatoes are perfect for this recipe. They have a beautiful fresh taste of a garden ripe tomato. You can substitute an equal amount of tomato sauce if you wish; however, you may need to compensate with some additional seasonings. Taste test as you go. Note: Pomi Strained Tomatoes are very fresh tasting and are low in acidity. If you don’t use Pomi, then consider adding 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to help reduce the acidity. Again, we highly recommend using Pomi Strained Tomatoes. They are available in most grocery stores. They come in a 26.46 oz. box (carton-style box container).
*Lasagna Noodles: If making with gluten free lasagna noodles, we have found Tinkyada Pasta Joy Organic Brown Rice Pasta Lasagne noodles works well. If you do not have a gluten allergy, then you can use the lasagna noodle of choice. This recipe calls for 1 ½ boxes of lasagna noodles. Don’t worry, we have another recipe keyed up for broken and left over lasagna noodles.
*Lasagna Pan: We can’t stress the importance of using a good lasagna pan. We use a 10-inch width by 13-inch length by 3-inch height. Those measurements work perfectly with this recipe. If your pan isn’t deep enough, you won’t get 3 layers and could potentially have a lot of bubble over in your oven.
*Spinach: The spinach is optional. If you love spinach, use 3 cups. If you enjoy spinach, use 1 cup.
*Vegetable Stock: We use Pacific Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Stock. We love this brand because it is Whole Food Plant Based compliant, as it does not contain MSG, has no oil, and does not contain any highly-processed ingredients.
*Dried Crushed Thyme Leaves: We use Penzeys French Thyme. Dried and crushed thyme leaves are not the same as ground thyme. Ground thyme has a powdery consistency. Whereas dried and crushed thyme leaves have texture. You can use either in this recipe. We used dried and crushed thyme leaves, so if you are using ground thyme, scale back to half of the amount indicated in the recipe and check for flavor consistency.
*Vegan Red Wine: The red wine flavor makes a difference. It totally makes this recipe by adding dimension. The alcohol burns off/reduces and you are left with this beautiful nuance of flavor. You do not have to add the red wine. We tried it with and without the wine and the flavor is very good without it, but the red wine just takes this dish to the next level of deliciousness. We used Vegan Honoro Vera Red Wine or any Vegan red wine will work equally well. (Note: Most of the WFPB doctors cook with wine as the alcohol evaporates and you are left with beautiful flavor). If you decide to leave the wine out, then compensate with about 1/2 cup of veggie broth or water with the understanding that the sauce may need some extra seasoning and will not have the full depth of flavor.
*Sea Salt: Please adjust the sea salt based upon your family’s sea salt preferences and/or based upon dietary needs.