Guess what? This delicious lasagna is not only protein packed. It is also gluten-free, vegan, and has an extra serving of veggies. Guess what else? My dairy loving husband thinks it tastes just like the dairy ricotta filled version! This high-protein vegan lasagna has it all.
I’ve already discussed how lasagna is a family tradition on Christmas Eve. My grandmother would make it from scratch and I’m lucky enough to have her pasta machine and host Christmas Eve with my family.
Now with a toddler though, rolling out that dough is much more daunting than opening up a box. I’m still undecided as to how I’ll prep our lasagna this year for the holiday, but with how easy this version is, I can make it any time of year for a satisfying vegan version that doesn’t skimp on nutrients needed to support a busy, physically active lifestyle.
You can buy any no boil lasagna noodles, really, but to amp up nutrients I like to grab either whole wheat or lentil lasagna noodles. The benefit to the latter is a bit more iron and the benefits of high fiber legumes as well as a gluten free option. Legumes certainly pack in protein, but don’t let that make you think wheat doesn’t. A 2 ounce serving of pasta (1 cup cooked) offers 8 grams of protein as well.
My tofu ricotta is more than a staple around here. We use it for lasagna and pasta bakes, but also to stuff into calzones and add to the top of pizza. My in-laws were totally fooled by the tofu calzones, and they lived in Italy for a few years, so I promise this stuff is the real deal.
If you want the gooey mozzarella feel, you can certainly pick up a vegan shredded cheese. On a more regular basis, I aim for nut-based vegan cheeses. You can find some specialty markets in cities these days or a couple of brands at natural food stores that have cashew mozzarella options. Many shred well as long as they are cold so you can shred on top of the lasagna!
I like to use a mix of cashews and marcona almonds for a vegan Parmesan. Just add 1/4 cup of each into a bullet blender or small food processor and pulse until you have a floury texture. Be sure not to overdo it, or they’ll stick together. Add to the top of the lasagna and finish off each piece after you slice and plate, too.
How To Build Vegan Lasagna
If you’re not used to lasagna making, start by placing sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. Then layer noodles, then filling, then noodles, sauce, filling, noodles, and generous amounts of sauce on top.
Depending on the size of your baking dish, you may break noodles to cover the surface, but remember they’ll expand so a little extra space is good. Above is what my second layer looked like before the last noodle topping. You can also add a bolognese filling if you enjoy that kind of texture. You can keep it plant-based if you’d like with my easy lentil bolognese sauce!
High-Protein Vegan Lasagna
- 8 oz package no boil lentil lasagna noodles (or other no boil noodle)
- 1 batch tofu ricotta recipe: https://kellyjonesnutrition.com/easy-tofu-ricotta-recipe/
- 32 oz jar no sugar added marinara
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 4 cups fresh chopped vegetables, such as bell peppers, mushrooms and eggplant
- 2 cups frozen spinach
- ¼ cup water
- 3 tbsp cashews
- 8 oz package cashew mozzarella alternative
- Heat 2 tbsp olive oil over a sautee pan before adding your chopped vegetables. Stir and cover, letting cook for 10 minutes over low to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Add all tofu ricotta ingredients to a food processor or high quality blender and pulse for 10-15 seconds, or until smooth.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on the bottom of a 8x12 or similar sized baking dish. Spread one 1/4 cup of the marinara sauce onto the bottom of the dish before adding lasagna noodles. If you are also using a cashew mozzarella, add half at this time.
- Spread half of the tofu ricotta mixture on top of the noodles before sprinkling half of the cooked vegetables and frozen spinach. Add a second layer of noodles, 1 ¼ additional cups of sauce, the remaining tofu and vegetables and the optional cashew mozzarella before topping with a third and final layer of noodles. Add the remaining 1 ½ cups of sauce over the noodles, as well as ¼ cup of water.
- Bake, covered, for 35 minutes at 400. While lasagna is baking, pulse the cashews in a small food processor or blender. Sprinkle over top of the lasagna after 35 minutes and place back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes, uncovered.
What is your favorite family holiday meal tradition?