about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    EmilyBMalone@gmail.com

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    A Look Back.



Summer Vegetable Vegan Lasagna.

I’ve recently been on a kick where I’m trying to prepare meals that I can prep ahead of time and then just cook to the right temp when we are ready to eat.  It gives me more time in the evenings to hang out with Casey doing other things, instead of spending all night in the kitchen.

The latest creation was made on an evening where I really wanted something filling and hearty, but not something that was too rich or dense.  So often lasagna is all about the cheese, but in this version I wanted the vegetables to shine.  This vegan cheese-less creation could fool anyone into thinking the ricotta is real, and the lightness of the tofu filling means you can keep going back for more and more.

Summer Vegetable Vegan Lasagna

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Print this recipe!

Ingredients: (serves 6)

  • 2 medium zucchini squash
  • 2 medium yellow squash
  • 1 pint crimini mushrooms
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 package frozen spinach, drained
  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 1 jar marinara sauce

Instructions:  I made mine using summer squash and mushrooms, but feel free to sub in your favorite veggies!  Dice vegetables into bite sized pieces and then sauté over medium heat until soft and browning.  Pre-cooking the vegetables is key so that your lasagna doesn’t end up watery!

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Defrost and drain the spinach – make sure to use paper towels to blot up any excess water.  Frozen spinach holds a LOT of water, and you don’t want all of that leaking out into your casserole.  Again – we are avoiding watery lasagna here at all costs!

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I used a mixture similar to Jenna’s stuffed shells (one of my favorites!) for the ricotta filling.  Combine tofu, olive oil, nutritional yeast, oregano, salt, and spinach in a food processor and then process until smooth.  Yum.  Season with additional salt if needed.

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At this point, if you need to cook your lasagna noodles, now is the time.  I highly recommend the no-cook-oven-ready noodles if you can find them.  (I got mine at Trader Joe’s, and am hoping to find a whole wheat or brown rice pasta option for next time I made this.)

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Now that your vegetables are cooked, add them to a saucepan with your favorite jar of marinara sauce.  Or if you are feeling super ambitious, you can make your own sauce from scratch.  Since my main incentive for this lasagna was convenience, jarred sauce won.

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Now it is time for lasagna assembly!  Cover the bottom of a 9×13 casserole dish with a few spoonfuls of sauce.  Next add a layer of lasagna noodles.  Don’t be scared of the no-cook noodles – they are hard and seem like they won’t cook.  Trust me, they will.

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Add a large dollop of tofu ricotta on top of the noodles and spread evenly.

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And then continue layering pasta, ricotta, and sauce.  The order doesn’t really matter, as long as the noodles have sauce either on top or bottom of them (so they can soak up the liquid!). 

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Finish with a top layer of sauce and veggies.  YUM.  At this point, if you used the no-cook noodles, you need to let the lasagna sit for at least 30 minutes so that the pasta can soak up some liquid.  (If your noodles are cooked, you can bake right away.)  Cover with foil and set aside until ready for baking. 

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While you wait, please notice how ridiculous my apron looks around a 33 week belly.  But it still does the trick!

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When you are ready to eat, pop the lasagna into the oven at 375 degrees and bake (covered with foil) for 40-45 minutes.  Uncover, slice, and serve. 

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I know it’s just lasagna, but this is one of my favorite things that I’ve made.  The filling is so creamy and cheese-like – you would never know there was no real dairy!

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And you don’t miss the cheese that is usually on top of lasagna, because the top is covered in delicious summer vegetables.  Nothing else needed.

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One of the major benefits of swapping in tofu for cheese is that this version is much lighter and lower in calories and fat than traditional lasagna.  We may or may not have eaten the entire thing in two days. 

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I think I’ll use my leftover noodles to make another one of these to pop into our freezer so that we have it on hand when the baby comes.  Because honestly, there can never be too much lasagna. 

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Enjoy!

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107 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Devon     at 5:15 pm

Yum! Those no-bake pasta noodles sound so convenient. Go TJ’s! Definitely making this soon. Lovely recipe and photos, Emily!

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Michelle     at 5:20 pm

You should start making meals now to freeze for when Baby Garnish arrives! I’m telling you, not having to cook will be a lifesaver!

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Rebecca     at 5:20 pm

Wow, this looks delicious! I love lasagna and am always looking for ways to make it healthier – no cheese is perfect. I’ve never thought of whizzing up tofu before, can’t wait to try it!

Thank you for the recipe!

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Tricia     at 5:20 pm

im Italian so yes lasagna is a must!

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen     at 5:22 pm

I’ve seen so many recipes recently using tofu like this, I really want to try it out! This looks great!

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Amy     at 5:23 pm

Yum! I’ve been craving (vegan) lasagna this week, and I think this is the version I will make!

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Lauren     at 5:34 pm

Love making veggie lasagnas! I usually save lasagna for fall/winter but I think it may have to come a little earlier this year after seeing your recipe. :)

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Candy @ Healthy In Candy Land     at 5:38 pm

This sounds so good right now. I even have all the ingredients on hand except for the pasta…TJ’s stop will be priority #1 tomorrow!

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Reading (and chickens)     at 5:43 pm

I was about to say, “Lasagna! WHY have I not made that lately?” and then I looked over at my two boys and went, “Oh, RIGHT.” What I’m trying to say is: enjoy your vegetables! Because when baby C has a say, he may just choose to eat an entire watermelon before dinner and then refuse your beautiful lentil burger. Sigh.

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Emily Malone Reply:

Gaaah I so hope that I can get my kids to eat vegetables. Wishful thinking!

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Nadia Jaber     at 5:44 pm

I have a soy allergy but that looks great! Is there anything other than dairy that you feel would work?

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Emily Malone Reply:

You could do cashews, but it would be much more rich and heavy.

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sarah     at 5:44 pm

Indy in the background is my favorite part. “Mom? Can I have some? Mom? Mom?”

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Lauren @ Lawfully Wedded Wife     at 5:55 pm

I love veggie lasagna so much! It was a great idea to do the tofu filling, ricotta definitely has the ability to make lasagna too heavy. Definitely bookmarking this recipe!

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Ash @ Good Taste Healthy Me     at 5:56 pm

I’ve heard a tip that you can use regular noodles (uncooked) and cook for ten additional minutes that it comes out delish and you don’t need to worry about it. I have yet to try it out though!

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Summer Reply:

I was about to offer this up as a fun fact! My mom makes lasagna all the time without baking the noodles, which means you can use the whole wheat kind if you like. She adds a little water around the edges and bakes a little longer; it always comes out perfectly! I do stuffed shells and manicotti like this, too, and just make sure any exposed pasta gets covered with sauce or a little water.

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Emily Malone Reply:

That is great to know! I’ll try it with whole wheat next time. :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

That’s awesome – I’ll have to try it!

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Alayna @ Thyme Bombe     at 6:35 pm

I am totally going to make this and not tell my husband it’s cheeseless. I bet he can’t tell.

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mi-an d.     at 6:44 pm

this looks soo goood!!! def will be making this!!! and i like that it’s cheeseless as i’m lactose intolerant!

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Trainer Kjirsten @ Balanced Healthy Life     at 7:11 pm

That is a fantastic looking recipe! I love lasagna and this is the perfect way to lighten it up especially when the weather is still 95 degrees out each day! I love all the vegetables you used it in! They look like they all pair really well together!

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Army Amy*     at 7:11 pm

Lasagna is great for freezing. (Thus a good meal for those of us flying solo.) this looks like a deelish, healthy take on lasagna! Can’t wait to try it!*

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Emily     at 7:13 pm

Thanks, Emily! What kind of firm tofu did you use? Do you find that you prefer different brands depending on what you make–whether you are pureeing/making creamy filling or going for a crispy result?

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Emily Malone Reply:

I used firm from Trader Joe’s! My actual favorite tofu is Nasoya Lite, but I have a hard time finding it here in Seattle.

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Marie Lange     at 7:13 pm

I love your recipies and have tried many since I started reading your blog.
I was wondering if you can put toether some meal plans with some of your recipes.
For example, what would you serve for a Labor Day ‘BBQ’ at your house if you invited 20-30 people?
Or for a dinner party with 10 people. I can do 1-2 dishes when I just eat with my husband, but I would love some ideas about how to put dishes together for parties.
Thanks Emily!!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Ahh meal planning is actually not my strong suit. I get so stressed out by cooking for big groups! Usually I do a lot of make ahead grain and vegetable salads, and then have one main thing I’ll cook up at the event – like black bean burgers. And then a few different dessert options.

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Kelly     at 7:18 pm

Looks delicious!! Any recommendations for veggies other than squash variety? I WANT to love them, but I am just not a fan of zucchini, squash, etc… :-P

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Emily Malone Reply:

Mushrooms, onions, eggplant, broccoli – any of those would be good!

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Meagan     at 7:22 pm

This veggie-fest looks really good :)

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Emily     at 7:27 pm

Yummm this looks so comforting and delicious!! I have been meaning to try the tofu ricotta but I am worried I will be eating the whole thing by myself since my family is pretty anti-tofu. You looks so great by the way with your 33-week belly!! I have a friend who’s pregnant and when she tells me what week she’s on I always think about you and your veggies!

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Emily Malone Reply:

But you CAN eat the whole thing yourself because it’s so healthy! :)

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Jane     at 7:29 pm

mmm! My mouth is watering-I think I’ll try this recipe over the weekend! I agree with Kelly (we’re not big squash and mushroom fans). What other vegetables would you recommend?

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Emily Malone Reply:

Onions, eggplant, broccoli, carrots… Any of those would be good!

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Deva (Voracious Vorilee)     at 8:32 pm

I DID NOT know to let the no-cook noodle dish stand for 30 mins to soak up liquid – I’ll have to remember that next time we make lasagna! I normally make a cheesey lasagna, but may make this one in the coming weeks – it looks amazing!

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lee Reply:

I think it depends on the brand of the noodle and the recipe. I have a traditional cheese lasagna recipe that doesn’t require standing/soaking…but I also bake it for an hour. But when I try this recipe that Emily has posted, I’ll let the noodles stand/soak. =)

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Brittany     at 8:46 pm

I can’t wait to try this. I have some lasagna noodles that I’ve been wanting to use but was waiting for a recipe that sounded great. This is it!
The apron looks adorable… and 33 weeks!? I feel like it was just a few weeks ago you were holding up a lemon and other various small fruits. He will be here in no time! : )

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Ami@dashofcurry.com     at 4:27 am

Wow– this is definitely my kind of recipe! I love how fresh and summery it is! I am on the same page with you about prepping dinners ahead of time– the last thing I want to do at 6 or 7 at night is make something. It’s much less stressful if you can just take something out of the freezer or fridge and heat it up!

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Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}     at 4:27 am

This would probably freeze well, right? Cook, and then freeze? I’ve been looking for meals I can make ahead and freeze for after I deliver #2 (I’m 24 weeks). This looks great and I definitely need to use up the overload of zucchini I have. Thanks!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I think it will freeze well! Yep, cook then freeze. We’re trying to stock our kitchen too. :)

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Gabby @Gabby's Gluten-free     at 5:01 am

This looks so yummy! I made something very similar a few weeks ago. http://gabbysgfree.wordpress.com/2011/08/11/gluten-free-vegan-vegetable-lasagna/#entry

I love the tofu ricotta – I think I am full on addicted. I would love to try this version and see how it freezes.

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Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday     at 5:43 am

Bookmarked! I’m definitely going to make this.

I prefer not to use the oven ready lasagna. I’ve never found a brand I like. They all seem to come out a little too firm (even crisp sometimes) I’ve never tried TJs though.

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Emily Malone Reply:

These were definitely not firm. If anything they were maybe even over-cooked! But still delicious.

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Dorsa     at 6:08 am

That looks superb :)

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Heather @ girlyeverafter     at 6:43 am

I’ve always been so intimidated to use no cook noodles for lasagna but I trust you so I’ll head to TJ’s! Super cute apron!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I promise they really do work! :)

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sarah@spinach and spice     at 6:46 am

I have a box of those noodles in my pantry waiting to be used! This looks great, as do you! Good luck with the remainder of your pregnancy
Sarah

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Rofomom     at 7:03 am

I think I might have to make this SOON!! I have found that the whole wheat lasagna noodles I get at the grocery store work VERY well in lasagna without being cooked first even though they dont say that on the label. Success every time as long as I let it sit like you did and bake long enough. Thanks for the inspiration!!

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Julie (A Case of the Runs)     at 7:27 am

OMG, I’ve been craving pizza/lasagna this whole week, and this literally made me drool. I have a similar recipe for veggie lasagna, with a couple more spices (basil, rosemary, and thyme). Anyway, great job! One of my fave foods!

P.S. Maybe you can make a bunch and freeze it in preparation for Baby C?

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Kristen @ Chocolate Covered Kristen     at 8:00 am

Your dinners keep showing up on my table… and it looks like this one will be next!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Yum – glad to hear it!

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Emilia @ Namaste Gurl     at 8:54 am

I’ve been wanting to make lasagna recently before all the summer produce says goodbye- super timely! :) I love how you don’t try to use faux or mock meats or cheeses in your recipes- all very natural and wholesome. I’ve found so many vegan lasagna recipes that use mock cheeses and tofu cream cheese (yuck). When I eat cheese, I enjoy it but when I eat tofu I also enjoy it full force. But trying to mimic cheese is just not my thing. Sometimes a nice vegan lasagna without all the unnecessary ingredients is perfect :)

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Emily Malone Reply:

I’m with you – all the fake stuff upsets my stomach and just ends up feeling as heavy and greasy as the real thing. Occasionally I will use them for baking here and there (like Tofutti), but I try to just keep it natural.

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lee     at 9:37 am

Aren’t no-cook lasagna noodles great? I discovered them many years ago, and have never considered using the regular noodles again. Such a great convenience…and they turn out wonderfully.

Thanks for the delicious-sounding recipe! As much as I love my recipe for traditional cheese lasagna, this sounds tempting. Guess a taste comparison test is in order!

Happy Friday! =)

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Erin     at 10:24 am

This looks so delicious! I loooove lasagna with tofu filling and veggies.

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Hayley @ Oat Couture     at 10:45 am

I feel exactly the same about wanting lasagna to be a little lighter sometimes and your version looks perfect!! I have lasagna sheets in the cupboard so this may be on the menu sometime this week! :)

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Jen Lilley     at 11:19 am

I actually like the texture of the no-cook noodles better than the regular noodles…not sure why.
This looks delish! must try!

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Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef     at 11:56 am

looks so yummy! but i must have to say… i can’t do no-cook noodles. i’m old-fashioned or something, probably cause my mom never use(d/s) them. :)

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Christina     at 12:03 pm

Perfect to freeze for when the baby comes as well!

Honestly though, this looks amazing! I still have yet to sub tofu for ricotta. I may have to put on my big girl pants and try it out ;)

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Kim     at 2:42 pm

Yummy! I’ve been wanting to make a good vegan lasagna! I like the tofu+nutritional yeast idea! Will have to make it next week. =)

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com     at 3:05 pm

Mmmm.. That looks delish! I’ve never made or tasted lasagna before. This sure tempts me to try some day :)

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Christine     at 1:47 pm

It’s in the oven now! Yes it may be sunny out but I have been craving this since you posted and what a great way to get veggies… some days I am just “salad-ed” out. Question about your nutritional yeast… I have engevita and red star flake yeast, what kind do you use? I asked the difference at the health food store once and they didn’t know. Made it today with rice noodles too. Can’t wait! Enjoy your long weekend.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I always get the kind from the bulk bins wherever I am shopping, so I’m not sure what brand it is. I’m sorry!

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Nancy@triathletestrials     at 6:29 pm

That recipe looks AMAZING!! I cannot wait to try it out. I’m always looking for new ways/ideas for how to cook tofu.

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Melodie     at 4:11 am

I made this last night for my hubby, 2 sons and SIL, and everyone LOVED it :) We have been eating quite a few vegan meals lately. I told my husband last night that a year and 1/2 ago he was making fun of my eating habits… and now he has given up meat!!!

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Emily Malone Reply:

That is awesome!

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Kat @ Big Apple Little Kitchen     at 8:28 am

I love the tofu ricotta in this; looks delish!

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jamie hayworth-chin     at 8:34 am

I’m making this tonight and I CAN’T WAIT!

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Jenny     at 5:53 pm

Made this for dinner tonight – I’m not vegan, or even vegetarian, but just trying to be healthy and it was delicious. I made it just as you did with local squash, but I made my own sauce with Muir Glen Fire Roasted tomatoes. Totally awesome.

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Emily Malone Reply:

I am so glad you liked it! :)

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Erica     at 2:58 pm

I just made this for dinner tonight exactly as written, SO DELICIOUS! I like the idea you posted above about using eggplant, I think that would be great as well. I pressed my tofu to get the water out, thinking that it would make the filling too thin but I wish I hadn’t. Next time I make it (and there definitely will be a next time) I won’t do that. My hubby and I were saying we could probably fool our families if we served this without telling them it was tofu, because it didn’t taste like it at all!

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Elizabeth     at 7:37 am

I just made your veggie lasagna this weekend – it was delicious, everyone loved it and couldn’t believe it was vegan!

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Margaret     at 9:56 am

Hi Emily! My husband and I made this last night for our lunches this week and it’s AWESOME! I’ve been watching Jenna’s ricotta recipe get passed around the web and drooling over it for a few weeks now. I had no trouble convincing my husband we really needed to finally buy Nutritional Yeast and give this lasagna recipe a try. We’re both so happy with it. The whole thing is tasty, filling, satisfying, and reheats at the office well. This really will be the perfect recipe for you in just a few weeks!!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I’m so glad you liked it! It’s definitely a favorite here.

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Gab     at 10:41 pm

Hi Emily!

I wanted to check, what are actual volume of tofu and spinach? Not living in the US, I don’t imagine we have the same package sizes for things…

Thanks!

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Emily Malone Reply:

14 oz of tofu, and 10 oz of spinach (are what I used). Hope that helps!!

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Anna     at 5:04 am

This looks delicious! I am always on the lookout for quick ‘casserole’ type recipes that make use of all the fresh produce of the summer. I will be making this next time I have company over!

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Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed     at 9:17 am

This looks delicious. I think this could be the ticket to breaking my cheese addiction!

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Samantha     at 6:56 am

Hey Emily, this looks amazing! I made it today and my tofu ricotta mixture doesn’t come out looking quite as creamy as yours. I’m using firm tofu… any suggestions how to make it more creamy? More oil, less tofu, etc?

Thanks!

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Emily Malone Reply:

Really? I wonder if your tofu is super firm. Maybe add a little extra water?

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“Wait, that cheeze looks like cheese.” | hummusapien     at 7:59 pm

[...] also made vegan summer vegetable lasagna using whole wheat lasagna noodles. It was great, approved by both Ally and our [...]

sal     at 4:04 pm

I’m not typically a big pasta fan, but my husband could live off of spaghetti alone so I decided to try this recipe for dinner tonight – I am a total convert, the lasagna was so delicious! We both loved it.

Quick question: do you recommend pressing the tofu before adding it to the food processor?

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Emily Malone Reply:

I didn’t press the tofu, just drained it.

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Lia     at 4:30 pm

Emily, this recipe is A M A Z I N G! I diced up yellow squash, zucchini, red bell pepper, and portabellas.. also used whole wheat lasagna noodles. I still can’t get over how good the “ricotta” filling tasted. Being Italian, I’ve missed so many of my favorite pasta dishes since I’ve become vegan. This was the perfect substitute. Even better – plenty of leftovers. Thank you so much!

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Emily Malone Reply:

I’m so glad you liked it! :) I want to make it again.

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Aimee     at 11:56 am

I made this last week and froze it before going away for the weekend. I couldn’t wait to try it. My husband and I polished off the entire thing in two nights. It was delicious. I had a few tastes of the tofu/spinach “ricotta” while making it and I was just blown away by how tasty it was. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for sharing.

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Lyndsay     at 11:52 am

I also made this last night. Better than cheesy lasagna in my opinion. I’m so pleased to read you recipes and your blog!

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Laura     at 8:04 pm

I was really surprised how good this tofu/spinach/ricotta stuff is. I kept eating it before I could put it in the lasagna.

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Laura     at 8:06 pm

Oh BTW this recipe is a great way to use up a CSA box.

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Emily Malone Reply:

That is a great idea!!

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Debbie     at 8:19 am

Emily,
I made your lasagna recipe Friday night. It was FABULOUS! I almost Kath’s Best Vegetable Lasagna, but then looked at all the cheese and thought, “I’ll give Emily’s a try.” I didn’t miss the cheese at all. Thanks for a great recipe.
Deb

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

I’m so glad you liked it!

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Lia     at 11:34 am

I’ve decided to rename this fall vegetable lasagna for now… then winter vegetable lasagna next month ;) I had frozen my leftovers and enjoyed them this week. Can’t wait to make this again tonight. LOVE this recipe!

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Heather     at 8:27 am

Hi Emily! I can’t wait to try this recipe tonight. I am fairly new to cooking with Tofu and was wondering if you squeeze the water out before mixing. Thanks.

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Amber     at 3:16 pm

I took this to my friend’s house for an Italian themed Christmas dinner so I would have something to eat. It honestly disappeared faster than the animal versions of all the dishes, everyone LOVED it! This is now our “go-to” lasagna dish, thanks so much!!

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Christina     at 12:00 pm

I just made this lasagna over the weekend and I was so impressed with it! My parents (who aren’t vegan) loved it! My mom even said that adding any cheese to the lasagna would ruin it. We’re fighting over the leftovers, so I guess I’ll have to make it again soon. I have several more of your recipes that I’m looking forward to making. Keep them coming Emily. :)

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RR     at 7:14 am

Do you have to use nutritional yeast? I do not have any. Would it be OK to just leave it out?

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Mari     at 4:44 pm

This was on exceptional dinner for my husband and I. We are going Vegan and this will be on our list. 5 stars!!!!!

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Tamara     at 12:22 pm

Emily! This was so delicious. (by “so delicious” I mean one of the top 5 recipes I have ever tried)

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Emily Malone Reply:

Oh yay! I really like that one too! :)

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Alice     at 1:08 pm

I just made this and my non vegan husband loved it and had 2 servings! The tofu ricotta is GENIUS!I didn’t have enough sauce though and had to get another jar – how big should the block of tofu or jar of sauce be please?

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Cynthia     at 7:59 pm

Made this recipe for friends today using some fresh tarragon and thyme with the sautéed veggies. My husband, who recently went vegan, insisted on some soy mozzarella sprinkled on top (certainly optional). This will be my go-to recipe for summer lasagna. Thanks Emily!

[Reply]

tammi k.     at 9:24 am

looks delish, but have to tell you there’s egg in those TJ lasagne noodles…….i am making vegan lasagne for a wedding tomorrow, and I reached for those noodles and saw egg on the ingredient list…..so I went with the traditional cook before you assemble noodles…p.s. I’ll be making your spinach/tofu mixture to go in my lasagne as well =)

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sally     at 9:06 am

I love this lasagna and your website! The recipes are awesome and are helping me make a vegan diet more palatable for my family. Thanks so much for sharing! Sally

[Reply]

Emily Malone Reply:

You are most welcome!

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Sarah     at 10:58 pm

Just made this and came straight on here to comment because this is AMAZING!!! I was unable to get nutritional yeast (I am in Australia and health foods don’t stock it – but I have ordered it in for next time) so I used ground pine nuts as I’d seen somewhere this can be used as a substitute and it seemed to work really well!!! Great recipe and would also work amazing as a cannelloni ! Thanks x

[Reply]

Easy vegan comfort foods? - VeggieBoards - A Vegetarian Community     at 9:37 pm

[...] (or almost anything and peanut butter). For lasagne, I've taken this recipe and run with it: http://www.dailygarnish.com/2011/09/…n-lasagna.html I've done it entirely from scratch, and I've done it where I bought pre-sliced squash and [...]

Sylvia     at 3:55 pm

Hi Emily I absolutely love that apron, can you tell me where you bought it from? Thanks

[Reply]

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