Vegan Lasagna with Béchamel Sauce
Servings: 12 servings
- 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)
Cashew Creamo (3 minutes)
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.
Serve with any remaining red sauce and vegan parmesan on the side. Express version: To save some time, buy your favourite red sauce and use that in place of the homemade sauce. You'll need about 5-6 cups.
Marinara Sauce: make marinara sauce in advance and store in fridge or freezer.
Filling Options: if you don't have Gardein Beefless Crumbles, sub in this cauliflower crumble or tofu crumble recipe (leave out taco seasoning!) or use Beyond Meat, Impossible Meat crumbles or veggie mince. *Cook the Beyond or Impossible crumbles when cooking onions and garlic in the recipe.
Béchamel Sauce - The thick, creamy béchamel sauce is a game changer in this lasagna. The texture and flavour combination of the white sauce and the red sauce with the tender pasta and meaty filling is going to blow your hair back. No substitutions!
Storage - Lasagna stores well the the refrigerator for several days. Freeze leftover lasagna in individual serving sizes. Slice into desired size and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pop into the freezer for an hour or two then transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheating - To reheat frozen lasagna, let it come to room temperature and heat in the microwave or pop it in the oven at 375º F (covered) for 15 - 20 minutes or until heated through.