Wicked Healthy Vegan Lasagna

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Here’s my famous lasagna made plant-based, whole-food, no oil, high-protein, and gluten free if you swing that way. Like any lasagna, this recipe does have several steps. But they’re sooo worth it. This is a good weekend dish to feed a crowd. I use no-boil lasagna sheets to simplify things a bit. You can also make the sauces ahead. You can even bake the whole lasagna ahead of time then reheat it. Baked dishes like lasagna tend to taste better the next day anyway. Either way, this heart-warming, healthy, and satisfying vegan lasagna will become a staple of your home cooking.

  • Author: Derek Sarno
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan



Lemon, Garlic and Herb Seasoning Paste

  • 1 Tbsp black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 810 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili flakes, optional

Lentil Bolognese

  • 1 coffee cup (1 1/2 measuring cups/350 ml) green lentils
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 810 garlic cloves
  • One 15-ounce/400 g can whole peeled plum tomatoes with juice
  • 3 coffee cups (4 1/2 measuring cups/1 L) water
  • 5 Tbsp tomato paste

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 a 16-ounce/450 g jar of roasted red peppers with the liquid
  • Four 15-ounce/400 g cans whole peeled plum tomatoes with juice

Cheesy Cauliflower Mornay

  • 2 whole cloves or a pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 1 medium potato
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • About 3 cups (710 ml) water
  • 1/2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 5 to 6 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp granulated onion powder
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) oat milk or soy milk

Pasta and More Veg

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 onion
  • About 12 ounces/340 g regular or gluten-free no-boil lasagna sheets


  1. For the Seasoning Paste: Toast the peppercorns and fennel seeds in a dry pan over medium-high heat until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan a few times. Transfer the toasted spices to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  2. Toast the whole unpeeled garlic in the same pan over medium-high heat until it smells a little caramelized like roasted garlic, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool. Then peel and add the garlic cloves to the spices. 
  3. Grate the zest from the entire lemon with a microplane and add the zest to the toasted spices. Then add the rosemary, parsley, sage, and salt. Pound or grind the spice paste until it’s pretty finely ground, like what you might see under a lawn mower. Remove the seasoning paste to a bowl, then add a couple tablespoons water to the mortar or spice grinder and swirl it around to capture all the flavor. Pour that liquid into the seasoning paste then stir in the smoked paprika and chili flakes (if using).
  4. For the Lentil Bolognese: soak the lentils in enough water to cover for 1 hour.
  5. Meanwhile, make the Tomato Sauce. Dice up the onion, carrots, and celery. Chop up the garlic too. The sauce will get pureed later so don’t worry about chopping too fine or evenly, unless you want to practice precision. Which I always do! 
  6. Scrape the veggies into a big sauce pot then turn on the heat to about medium. We’re not using any oil, so we’ll steam-saute instead. Pour the half-jar of roasted peppers with the bottling liquid into the pot. That’s about 1 cup roasted peppers and 1 cup/230 ml bottling liquid. Then fill the now-empty jar to the top with water. That’s about 2 cups/460 ml water. Pour the water into the pot. Then stir in about 2 Tbsp of the seasoning paste. Let the veggies simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. 
  7. Meanwhile, empty the cans of tomatoes into a bowl and use your (clean) hands to crush up the tomatoes in the bowl. You want the tomatoes in bite-size chunks. 
  8. Puree the simmered veggies and their liquid in an upright blender or with a stick blender along with a few scoops of tomato juice from the bowl. Return the puree to the pot (if you used an upright blender), then the crushed tomatoes into the pot. Cover and simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring now and then. I like to use a flame tamer under the pot to help prevent any burning. 
  9. Now, back to the Bolognese. Dice up the onions, carrots, and celery. Here you do want a nice even dice on everything since these veggies will not be pureed. Mince the garlic too. Add the veggies to another big sauce pot and turn the heat to medium. We’ll use the same steam-saute method here. You want the veggies to caramelize a bit so add just a few tablespoons liquid at a time. Open the can of tomatoes and start pouring some of the canning liquid into the pot. Pour a couple tomatoes into your hand and crush them in your hand, then add them to the pot. Repeat that until the whole can of tomatoes and juice is in the pot. Fill the can with water and add the tomato-y water to the pot. Then add 3 coffee cups (4 1/2 measuring cups/1 L of water to the pot). Stir in the tomato paste along with about 1 Tbsp of the seasoning paste. Bring to a boil, then cut the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender and the sauce thickens up a bit, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. 
  10. For the Cauliflower Mornay, grind the whole cloves to a powder in a mortar and pestle then add to a medium sauce pot. 
  11. Remove the green leaves from the cauliflower then cut the whole head into quarters and add that to the pot. Peel the potato, cut that into chunks, and add to the pot. Add the garlic and salt to the pot, then pour in enough water to cover the veg by about half. Bring to a boil then cut the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the veg is very tender, about 15 minutes.
  12. Meanwhile, toast the white peppercorns in a dry pan over medium heat then grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. 
  13. Use tongs and or a spider strainer to transfer the cooked veg to a blender. Discard the cooking water. To the blender, add the ground white pepper, nutritional yeast, onion powder, cornstarch, nutmeg, and plant milk. Blend until the sauce is super-smooth, about 3 minutes. The consistency should be creamy yet pourable.
  14. Return the sauce to the pot then simmer it over medium-low heat until it’s slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  15. For the lasagna, preheat your oven to 350ºF (180ºC). 
  16. Steam the kale in a steamer over simmering water until the greens are wilted and tender, about 5 minutes. Remove to a cutting board and coarsely chop.
  17. Cut the onion lengthwise into strips (julienne). Spread the onion out over the bottom of two 8 x 5-inch (1.5 liter) loaf pans, two 11 x 7-inch (1.5 liter) lasagna pans or one 13 x 9-inch (3 liter) lasagna pan. I like the loaf pans because they make a taller lasagna. The onions on the bottom of the pan are there to help prevent sticking. Ladle a couple scoops of tomato sauce over the onions then add a layer of pasta sheets, fitting them in and breaking up the sheets if necessary to make an even layer across the pan. Next, spread some tomato sauce over the pasta, then ladle on a layer of Bolognese. Add another layer of pasta, then a layer of sauce, a layer of kale (use all the kale in a single layer), and then a layer of Mornay. Next, add a layer of pasta, a layer of sauce, a layer of Bolognese and a final layer of pasta. Spread some tomato sauce over the pasta, then top with an even and thickish layer of Mornay. At this point, you should have used up all the sauces and veg. 
  18. Cover the pan(s) with parchment paper and seal with aluminum foil over that. This will help it all steam-cook and bake inside without burning on top.  
  19. Bake the lasagna until the pasta is tender and everything is hot-hot-hot, 45 to 60 minutes. Take off the wraps, then bake an additional 15 mins to tighten the top.
  20. Remove the lasagna from oven and let it rest for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour so it can firm up. After it’s cooled, cut it into slices or put the foil back on, and refrigerate it overnight. If you can wait until the next day, it’ll cut even more cleanly and you can reheat it that way. Either way, it’s gonna be your new favorite lasagna.

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