I have been having so much fun lately with a bunch of new cookbooks, like this one from America’s Test Kitchen, called “Vegan for Everybody.” I was fortunate enough to hear Jack Bishop, ATK’s Editor and Chief Creative Officer, present this book at my local bookstore, Pages. I am fascinated by testing recipes and making the subtle tweaks towards perfection. There’s no one in this space who does it more rigorously or better than America’s Test Kitchen.
You may have seen me write about their new vegan cookbook on a recent Five Friday Favorites, but I finally found the recipe I want to share with you. This Hearty Vegetable (and vegan) Lasagna is as good, if not better, than any lasagna I’ve had with meat or cheese for that matter. Lasagna is a favorite comfort food, but it can be very heavy and hard to digest. I personally am not a fan of a super cheesy, meat-filled dish, so I had a feeling I would be smitten with this recipe.
Basically, this what makes this lasagna vegan is the lack of any dairy products. But just because a dish is vegan doesn’t necessarily imply nutritious (you could eat a vegan potato chip and Tofutti popsicle diet, for example.) But before you assume that ATK subbed in some pasty, tofu ricotta and a processed non-dairy cheese that doesn’t really melt, think again. They actually did the work and came up with a genius puree of boiled raw cashews, cauliflower, olive oil and water. The result is an ethereally light “ricotta” that rivals the real thing. Once again, I ask “is there anything cauliflower cannot do?” A bonus is that this filling contains high quality protein so you don’t have to worry about adding any to complete the meal.
Eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini are included for great flavor and substance. I imagine sautéed dark green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard would also be nice here. And gluten-free lasagna noodles are easy to find, so this can be made gluten-free and vegan. Is it your lucky day, or what?
The true test came when I served this lasagna to my family. Mr. Picky actually tried it because he doesn’t eat cheese, so this was “safe” and he really liked it. My husband lives for a traditional lasagna, and he apologized for rolling his eyes when I told him this was vegan. He loved it! This lasagna proved that a good vegan recipe can be had with a balance of flavors, textures and substance. I can’t wait to try more recipes from this book. Stay tuned!
- For the Tomato Sauce:
- 1(28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon organic sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- For the filling:
- 8 ounces cauliflower florets, cut into ½-inch pieces (21/4 cups)
- 11/2 cups raw cashews, chopped
- Salt and peppers
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- For the vegetables:
- 1 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 pound white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin
- 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 pound zucchini, cut into ½-inch pieces
- For the Lasagne:
- 12 no-boil lasagne noodles
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
- For the tomato sauce: Process tomatoes, basil, oil, garlic, sugar, salt and red pepper flakes in food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 30 seconds. Transfer sauce to a bowl and set aside. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
- For the filling: Bring 3 quarts water to boil in a large saucepan. Add cauliflower florets, cashews, and 2 teaspoons salt and cook until cauliflower is very soft and falls apart easily when poked with fork, about 20 minutes. Drain cauliflower mixture in colander and let cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
- Process cauliflower mixture, 3 Tablespoons oil, and ¼ cup water in clean, dry food processor until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed, about 2 minutes (mixture will be slightly grainy). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer ¼ cup mixture to bowl and stir in remaining 1 Tablespoon oil and basil; set aside for topping. (Mixtures can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
- For the vegetables: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss eggplant and mushrooms with 2 Tablespoons oil, garlic and ½ teaspoon salt in bowl, then spread on rimmed baking sheet. Toss zucchini with remaining 1 Tablespoon oil, and ¼ teaspoon salt in now-empty bowl. Roast eggplant-mushroom mixture until beginning to wilt, about 15 minutes. Remove sheet from oven, stir zucchini into vegetables, and continue to roast, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are lightly browned, eggplant and zucchini are tender, and most of the juices have evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside. (Cooked vegetables can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
- For the lasagne: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Spread 11/3 cups tomato sauce over bottom of dish. Arrange 4 noodles on top. Spread half the cauliflower filling over noodles, followed by half of vegetables. Spread 11/3 cups tomato sauce over vegetables. Repeat layering with 4 noodles, remaining cauliflower filling, and remaining vegetables. Arrange remaining 4 noodles on top, and cover completely with remaining tomato sauce.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake until edges are bubbling, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating dish halfway through baking. Dollop lasagne evenly with 8 to 10 spoonfuls of reserves cauliflower topping, and let cool for 25 minutes. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with remaining 1 Tablespoon basil, and serve.
Hold it. Have you guys TRIED THIS? It’s delicious. I have been putting off making this for months because it looked like a Project. But wow. I have been missing out. This lasagna is creamy, filling but not heavy. I followed the recipe as instructed except I used jarred sauce (Rao’s – duh). Phenomenal.
I love your enthusiasm, Kim! I could not have said it better myself 🙂
Ugh! I just finished prepping everything ahead of time and totally forgot to boil the cauliflower and nuts before I blended it together with the rest of the filling items. Yikes. Any recommendations to fix this or should I just use the mix as is an hope for the best.
Oh no. I would try steaming the filling mixture to help it soften and try blending again.
SO GOOD! Loved this lasagne! Really just so, so good! I’m DF and GF and my partner is not, we bother loved this. It’s so nice to eat a creamy lasagne again! I will also add,it I’ve named this “all day lasagne” because it does take a while to put together. But it’s totally worth it. I’m sure I could break up the cooking/prep over a few days and that would help.
That’s so great to hear! The cashew-cauliflower filling is a family favorite and you can use it in other dishes to provide creaminess. I’m glad you gave this a try!
Looks great! If substituting cashews with cashew butter, how much should I use? Also, my husband doesn’t like mushrooms. Any suggestions on what to substitute and the quantity?
To substitute with cashew butter, start with half the amount (3/4 cup) of cashews the recipe calls for and add more, if needed to achieve desired consistency. Any vegetable (about 4-5 cups) would work well in this recipe. Swiss chard, asparagus, broccoli florets, and sweet bell pepper, to name a few.
I’m allergic to everything nuts except coconuts. What should I use to substitute the cashews?
For the cashew-cauliflower filling, you can try using cooked white beans in place of the cashews. Another option is to try a tofu ricotta recipe.
I tried the no boil noodles & the top layer of noodles shriveled up & did not cook. Wanted to try making & boiling noodles. Anything to change with the cooking time do I still cover? And can I make the lasagna & cook the following day. Thank you
Sorry that happened, but it should not have! I’ve made this dish at least 40 times. If it was well covered and the noodles were covered in sauce and the temperature was correct, the top layer of noodles should have been tender. I would refer to the package directions on the box of noodles that you have to boil in advance, just to be safe. You can assemble the day before and put in fridge, covered.
Pamela I assume I can use frozen cauliflower rice ? Defrost first ? Also If I use frozen cauliflower how long do I need to cook the cashews? Same amount of time ? Thanks !!!
I assume so, but go by weight and not by volume. I would add the frozen cauliflower rice in for the last 5 minutes. Cashew will take the time listed in the recipe.
Went husband is vegan but allergic to nuts. Do you have a good cheese substitute that you can use or make without nuts?
Laura, I haven’t tried this but I think you could give this a go with cooked white beans and boiled cauliflower and blend those together. Try the recipe with the same amount of cooked white beans as cashews. No need to boil with the cauliflower. I haven’t done it, but it’s worth a try. Another option is blending tofu with the cauliflower.
Thank you. I’ll let you know how it is when I give it a try.
Excellent recipe in healthfulness and flavor…unfortunately, it takes 4-1/4 hours to make. This preparation time is one of the longest of the more than 450 recipes from Cook’s Country/America’s Test Kitchen that I have made. ATK should continue to develop this recipe to shorten the prep time. Your suggestion regarding the use of frozen cauliflower might be a first step…
You can also use prepared marinara sauce and defrosted/frozen vegetables instead of roasted.
YUM! Slim pickings on our veggies so I made this with spinach and broccoli and roasted peppers. I was lazy (due to home schooling) and used Rao’s. Hubs had turkey bolognese with his and I used palmini hearst of palm lasagna for mine. SO GOOD! You are my hero! XO
I think those veggies sound totally amazing! The whole meal – outstanding!
I’ve made this so many times and it is DELICIOUS!!! I have a Magimix with various cutters and wondered if the recipe could be adapted where the vegetables filling could be grated (using a large grated) or sliced (4mm) to cut down on preparation time? Any other time saving ideas would be great!
Thank you for bringing us delicious healthy nutrient rich family meals!
You can do whatever size vegetables you want, as long as you cook them prior to adding them to the filling. 🙂
if we are gifting this for a new mama, would you recommend freezing before baking or baking the lasagna through and then freezing? thanks!
I personally like freezing then baking. But if you were to bake, then freeze, I would not bake all the way through. Cut it short by 10 minutes.
I doubled the cashew and cauliflower and didn’t end up using it all. Any recommendations for storing/what else to use it for?
You can use it as a base for roasted vegetables like carrots + some toasted hazelnuts and herbs. Or on toast with savory toppings like sautéed mushrooms. I don’t know if you eat eggs, but you can likely combine it with beaten eggs and sautéed veggies and bake like a frittata.
I love making this lasagna. We are trying very hard to go plant based I haven’t bought or made lasagna with meat sauce in 10 years, this is by far the best recipe I ever introduced my family to. Everything about this site is a YES!
Thanks, Kellie! I agree about this lasagna. It is a staple for us, especially with my vegan hubby.
This was amazing! And just like traditional lasagna, even better the next day!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it! I have eaten this cold out of the fridge the next day and thought it was still terrific.
Hi can you freeze this and how long does it last in fridge?
Yes, you can freeze it. It lasts up to 5 days in the fridge after baking.
Can I freeze this dish before I bake it? Then put in oven directly out of freezer?
I have never frozen unbaked lasagne with no-boil noodles, only pre-cooked noodles. You may want to do a quick google search to find out or email the pasta manufacturer and ask. 🙂
Can frozen cauli be subbed and if so what changes in timing would you make? Also if jovial gf says you can make without pre cooking or you can par cook would you try no cook? Last time I did par. Have you done gf without par boiling?
I don’t see why you couldn’t use frozen cauliflower. Start the cashews in water and after 10 minutes add the cauliflower and boil for another 10 minutes. If the jovial box says you can make without pre-cooking, I would believe them. They’ve never steered me wrong.
Thank you as always!
Could you substitute cashew butter for raw cashews and if so when would you recommend incorporating?
Yes, you would add it in Step 3, in the food processor. The only reason I didn’t include it as a substitute is that it’s much more expensive and it calls for a lot of cashews.
This is so yummy! I also purschased the cookbook recently and I didn’t have very high hopes for this lasagna. I’m gluten free, so I made some noddles from zucchini with a ribbon slicer attachment for my kitchen aide, but that was the only major change I made. I loved the texture of the cashew and cauliflower “cheese”, it really had a ricotta like texture. We are working toward a more plant based household, and even my bf (a dedicated carnivore) said “it tastes like lasagna but it probably won’t my my stomach hurt” I think we have a new plant based staple dish! Thank you for sharing!!
Believe me, I didn’t have high hopes for this lasagna either, but wow! We are all obsessed! I have tried it with GF lasagne noodles and it turned out great!
Can vegan mac n cheese be frozen after baking
2. Shredded Almond cheese from trader joe Can it be added to same dish?
Gosh, I haven’t tried doing either. I don’t see why you couldn’t add the almond cheese. I don’t think it’s totally dairy-free, if I’m not mistaken. Not sure about freezing. I should try to do it so everyone knows.
For Gf lasagne noodles that are not no bake we should cook first?
Yes. Noodles that do not say NO BOIL should be boiled first. Follow the package directions for time.
OMG! Made it last night and just had some left overs. So delicious! I did notice the Jovial GF lasagne said it could be used as no bake or par cooked 4 min. I went with the latter but good to know. Have you ever tried freezing any left overs of this?
Isn’t it delish??? I have not tried freezing it, but I imagine it would freeze well.
Hi! If allergic to eggplant just up the other veggies? Looks so good! FYI Manini’s also makes a good GF lasagna noodle.
Totally! Thanks for the tip about Manini’s. Haven’t seen that brand around here, but go for East Coasters to know!
Looks amazing! What GF option(s) would you rec? Thank you.
Try Tinkyada which is a brown-rice lasagne or Cappello’s for grain-free sheets.