The greatest meatless lasagna with béchamel white sauce that's rich and creamy, hearty, comforting and satisfying!
This luscious vegan lasagna is bursting with Italian flavors, packed with a meaty spinach filling, authentic marinara sauce, thick and creamy dairy-free béchamel sauce and 3 layers of tender lasagna noodles. It's decadent, super satisfying Italian comfort food at its very best - vegan style!
We are a lasagna loving family! Once I started eating vegetarian/vegan, it took me a long time and many attempts and tweaks to finally perfect vegan lasagna - one the whole family loves! Since then, I've made several more delicious, meatless lasagnas: The Best Vegan Lasagna with tofu-cashew ricotta, California style vegan Sausage and Mushroom Lasagna and spicy Tex-Mex Lasagna packed with veggies, beans, avocado and spicy sauce! Carb heaven for vegans, vegetarian, and meat eaters!!
Keep reading for everything you need to know about how to make this incredible vegan lasagna along with some shortcuts, meal prep options, storing and freezing tips!
Why this Vegan Lasagna is Epic!
- Italian comfort food - when you bite into the layers of rich red marinara sauce, creamy white béchamel sauce, meaty filling, and tender pasta, you just might need to take a minute . . . It's truly extraordinary!
- Adaptable - choose the filling, red sauce, and type of pasta (gluten free, whole wheat etc.)
- Crowd pleaser - it makes a lot so it's perfect for potlucks, family dinners, large parties and holiday celebrations.
- Leftovers - the leftovers store well in the fridge for several days and freezer for several months. That means fuss free lunches and weeknight dinners to look forward to!
- Make ahead - check out the shortcut section for tips on the express/meal-prep version.
Ingredients for Vegan Lasagna
Like any good Italian dish worth its weight, there is an investment of time; and this meatless lasagna is no different. There are 4 basic components that make it incredible, here's what you'll need.
Rich Red Marinara Sauce: This rich red sauce is one of the shining stars in this lasagna. So it's important to choose the highest quality, most flavourful tomatoes. I like San Marzano tomatoes as they impart so much flavour and 6n1 ground tomatoes for their texture and depth of flavor. Make the Rich Red Marinara Sauce ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer or use your favorite store brand.
Dairy-Free Béchamel Sauce: Rich, luxurious dairy-free béchamel sauce is like a soft, creamy cloud of decadence. It's a game changer for this lasagna - both flavour and texture wise.
For this dairy-free version of béchamel, I used homemade cashew creamo because the flavor and texture it creates is almost an exact match to traditional béchamel. I tested A LOT of 'milk' options - this is the perfect choice hands down. No substitutions please!
Funny Side Story: Starting when I was about 10 years old, making sauce was my job on Sundays either for a white sauce, cheese sauce or gravy. Mother would tell me, 'only two rules, Tracy, keep stirring and no lumps'!
Meaty Vegan Filling: This spinach, onion, Gardein beefless crumble combination is fast, easy, and a similar texture to the original recipe. For other meat-free alternatives, try Beyond Meat, Impossible Meat, Boca meatless crumbles or veggie mince crumbles.
Pasta Noodles: When I have time, I love to make my pasta from scratch (Fresh Vegan Pasta). Usually tho, I use dry lasagna noodles. I don't recommend subbing in 'no cook or oven-ready' noodles. Cooking the pasta takes very little effort as you can do other things while it's cooking.
**Check the ingredients to make sure the pasta is made without eggs or milk.
Cheese Option: You can make this lasagna without cheese because the béchamel is so rich and creamy. However, I typically add vegan cheese on each piece of lasagna!
Assembling the Lasagna
Layering the Lasagna
- Add sauce to the bottom of 8x11" lasagna pan, top with lasagna noodles (3-4).
- Next layer meaty filling and more noodles.
- Spread a thick layer of béchamel sauce and swirl of red sauce.
- Last layer of noodles and remaining marinara sauce.
- Top with mozzarella (9 or 12 pieces).
- Into the preheated oven until bubbly and golden.
Shortcuts, Tips, and Meal Prep Options
Some quick and easy, shortcuts for making the greatest meatless lasagna . . .
Use Prepared Ingredients: Buy your favourite marinara or red sauce (2 jars). I like Rao's. Buy pre-shredded mozza and store bought parmesan.
Can I make the lasagna ahead of time? Yes, make the meaty filling, lasagna noodles, cashew creamo, spinach, and red sauce (marinara sauce) ahead of time and store in refrigerator to cut down prep time the day of.
Leftovers and Freezing Tips
Storing cooked lasagna - Once cooked, the lasagna stores well in the fridge for 3-4 days without loss of texture or flavour.
Can I freeze this lasagna? Yes, freeze the leftover slices in individual portions for quick thawing and convenient lunches during the week. When ready to eat, let the lasagna thaw in fridge or on counter then gently warm in microwave or 375º F oven.
I hope you love this lasagna as much as our family does. It's so rich, filling and satisfying. It's a perfect indulgent meal to serve to your vegan, vegetarian, and meat-eating family and friends - they'll never believe it's vegan!
More Hearty Vegan Dinner Recipes
Fast, Fresh, Tomato and Spinach Fettuccine - most popular pasta recipe on the blog
Creamy Rosé Veggie Pasta - fast, easy and super delicious
Slow Roasted Tomato Pasta - a super flavourful roasted fresh tomato pasta with feta cheese
Did you try this luscious Vegan Lasagna with Béchamel recipe?
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Vegan Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce
- High Powder Blender
- 5-6 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store bought
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked if no high-speed blender
- 2 cups boiled water
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 9-12 lasagna noodles, cooked***
MEATY SPINACH FILLING
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil (if oil free, use a splash of broth)
- 1 cup onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp dry oregano
- 1 tsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 300 gram packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
- 1 package Gardein Beefless Crumbles
VEGAN BECHAMEL WHITE SAUCE
- 2 tbsp butter, dairy-free
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2-3 cups cashew milk (creamo)
- salt (to taste)
- 9-12 vegan mozzarella, squares or shredded
- parsley-basil, chopped
- hot pepper flakes, optional
If making the marinara sauce from scratch, start it now so it can simmer while you prepare the other components.
RICH RED MARINARA SAUCE (~40 minutes from scratch, 0 minutes store bought)
- Make Marinara Sauce or use store bought.
- Time saver - buy 2 jars (approximately 6 cups) of your favorite marinara or red sauce. I like the Rao brand.
Cashew Creamo (3 minutes)
- In a high-speed blender add 1 cup raw cashews and 2 cups hot water, 1 large garlic clove, ½ tsp sea/Kosher salt.
- Blend until smooth ~ 1 minute. Should be the consistency of whipping cream (thick milk).
- Thaw frozen spinach by placing the packages in a sink of hot water or follow instructions on package.
- Once thawed, remove from package and squeeze all water from the spinach. Set aside.
Lasagna Noodles (~10 minutes)
- Make the lasagna noodles as per package directions (but undercook by 3-4 minutes of recommended time).
- Drain, rinse, and lay flat to cool. Pro Tip: if the noodles stick, curl or get hard before you use them, rinse them in warm water and pat dry.
- Make 12 noodles (slight overlap) or 9 noodles (just touching) in an 8x11" lasagna pan.
MEATY SPINACH FILLING (8-10 minutes)
- Sauté onion and garlic in oil (or a splash of broth if oil-free) in a large skillet over medium-high heat until soft and fragrant (5-8 minutes).
- Season with oregano, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Add the drained spinach, and the Gardein beefless crumbles - mix well to incorporate.
- Stir in ½ - ¾ cup of marinara sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Remove remove from heat.
- No need to cook the beefless crumbles through as they will cook in the oven.
BECHAMEL WHITE SAUCE (4-6 minutes)
- Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the flour and stir for 2 minutes which will form a thick paste (roux) and cook off the raw flour taste.
- Gradually add in cashew milk (creamo) stirring the whole time so it doesn't get lumpy or scorch.
- Stir in ½ tsp of salt.
- The sauce will start to thicken quickly (reduce heat if necessary). Continue stirring until the consistency of custard. Remove from heat.
- Pro Tip: this is not the time to multi-task. The sauce goes fast and can scorch easily!
LAYERING THE LASAGNA - Preheat oven to 375º F (5 minutes)
- To assemble, spread 1 cup red sauce around the bottom of the 9x11" lasagna pan.
- Add a layer of cooked lasagna noodles (3-4).
- Spread the meaty-spinach filling over the noodles - pressing down with the back of a spoon.
- Add a sprinkle (2 tbsp) of grated mozzarella or parmesan (optional).
- Add another layer of noodles.
- Spread béchamel evenly over the noodles then swirl with 1 cup of red sauce.
- Top with the last layer of noodles and cover with about 2 cups of red sauce.
- Evenly space 9-12 mozzarella squares or small piles of shredded mozza cheese.
BAKING THE LASAGNA (40 - 45 minutes)
- Cover with foil (tented) and place in preheated 375º F oven (center rack) for ~40 minutes (until hot and bubbly).
- Remove the foil and turn heat to broil for five minutes to brown the cheese.
- Let cool for 15 minutes to set before cutting.
- Sprinkle with chopped basil-parsley and hot pepper flakes.
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