Lasagna is one of those meals that can require some time, but the pay-off is that is can be done ahead of time. It is a great dish to prepare during the kids’ nap or quiet time, then place in the refrigerator until an hour before dinner time. Or make it one day and freeze it for another. Since it can be kept frozen, it is also a great meal to gift a family with a new baby. Those early weeks can be exhausting for the family to juggle a newborn, children, pets, household chores, sleep, and not to mention the person who carried/labored the baby needs to recover. A freezable meal to offer someone is (in my opinion) one of the best gifts to give. It takes grocery shopping, meal prep, cooking, and some dirty dishes off their plate. If you happen to be the person preparing to have a baby, you can treat your future self and family to an amazing meal, by freezing a lasagna.
Lasagna is very easy to make plant-based. With all of the vegan cheese and imitation options found on the market, one can simply substitute and make a traditional red sauce, meaty, and cheese lasagna completely vegan. But, if you are trying for a whole food plant based option there are easy substitutes that don’t require processed foods.
Considering a vegetable lasagna for a moment- you will need to decide which veggies you and your family would like to eat in their red sauce lasagna. You can really grab whichever produce needs to be consumed, but my favorites are mushroom, spinach (or kale), green peas, carrots, and zucchini. Next comes the herbs- basil, Italian seasoning, oregano, pepper. While my pot of water is boiling for the lasagna noodles, I quickly prep the veggies. Cutting the vegetable to be similar in size will help them cook evenly. I saute them in a pan using only a tablespoon or two of water and my herb mixture.
While my lasagna past is cooking I also make the “ricotta”. There are a couple different ways to make vegan ricotta. One recipe I have shared before, by Brandi Doming at TheVegan8.com, would work great. However, I tend to use a different recipe. There are variations of this vegan ricotta recipe all over the Pinterest boards, but the recipe I like to use is posted below. Once the ricotta is made, the noodles are al dente and the veggies are sauteed, layer all the ingredients as you would normally for the lasagna. As far as the marinara- some people will decide to make their own from scratch, which is a great idea if you have an overzealous tomato plant. I typically go with store bought marinara. Sauce, pasta, ricotta, veggies, sauce, pasta, ricotta, veggies, sauce, pasta. I like to add a light layer of sauce and a dusting of nutritional yeast on top. Then I cover with foil (here’s where you can save it for later) and bake at 350F for 40 minutes. I remove the foil and cook for another 30 minutes, until bubbling.
Raising Vegan Tip- When shopping for a vegan marinara be sure to check the ingredients. Look out for added sugars, chemicals, or oil. I prefer to use organic marinaras which omit unnecessary sugars. Currently, my favorite brand is Organico Bello Pasta Sauce and the ingredients listed are tomatoes, onions, evoo, sea salt, basil, garlic, white pepper, black pepper. I love that is says Vegan on the jar!
1 10 oz package Plain organic garlic chickpea hummus
1 block of super firm tofu
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 tbsp of dried basil
Mix all ingredients together in medium sized bowl until well combined. May need to use hands or masher to break up tofu. Refrigerate or use immediately.
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