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Vegan Lasagna with Spinach & Mushrooms

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Layered with vegan spinach ricotta, cheese sauce, and veggie-packed marinara, this vegan lasagna is packed with 29 grams of protein and loads of flavor.

vegan lasagna topped with cashew cheese close up with salad and bread in background

Lasagna is such a hearty and filling meal, and it feeds a pretty big crowd! It takes a little bit of work but is so worth the effort. I remember when I used to do in-home cooking lessons, this lasagna is one recipe that always received the best reviews.

We love this vegan lasagna because it’s…

  • Hearty
  • Feeds a crowd
  • Packed with veggies
  • Comforting
  • Simply delicious

Who says a plant-based lifestyle has to taste bland? They obviously haven’t tried this spinach lasagna!

How to make meatless lasagna

Though this recipe is a little more in-depth and requires some time and work, I promise it’s going to be worth the effort.

vegan lasagna topped with dairy free cheese being scooped out

This vegan lasagna recipe includes delicious whole food ingredients like fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans, onion, garlic, bulgur, vegan cheese sauce, vegan ricotta, and so much more.

It’s kind of like a 3-in-1 deal because included are recipes for Tofu Ricotta and Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce. We love this stuff with other recipes as well!

Making tofu ricotta

The Tofu Ricotta is a layer of this vegan lasagna that you definitely don’t want to leave out. It’s is made with only 8 simple ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes for a deliciously healthy plant-based cheese alternative.

Simply drain the water from the block of tofu and press. Then add it and all of the ricotta ingredients EXCEPT the spinach to a blender and process until nice and smooth.

blender filled with tofu, cashews, spices, and basil

Once the ricotta is blended, place it in a mixing bowl and add previously frozen spinach that has been defrosted and drained. You’ll need to squeeze out all the excess water by placing it in paper towels and squeezing it over a bowl or sink. This is VERY important so the spinach will not add water to the ricotta.

vegan ricotta in a bowl with spinach and red spoon

Now it can be added to the mixing bowl with the ricotta. Be prepared to stir this well for up to a couple of minutes. It takes a bit of work to get the spinach worked in well with the ricotta.

Once it’s mixed well, set it to the side or in the refrigerator for a few minutes while working on the cheese sauce.

Making the cheese sauce

Normally, I have some of this vegan cheese already on hand because we use it with so many other dishes. If I don’t happen to have some in the refrigerator, there’s likely some in my freezer.

Making the cheese sauce is as simple as boiling a pot of potatoes, onions, and carrots, adding them to a blender with spices, and blending until smooth.

I have a Vitamix blender, so it can cream this cheese sauce up in just about a minute. Set this sauce to the side until it’s time to add it to the fries.

vegan cheese sauce poured from white gravy boat into white bowl

This recipe makes approximately 1 quart and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks to be used on baked potatoes, tacos, pizza, and so much more!

The meatless sauce

In a large saucepan or stockpot, sauté the minced garlic and onion in 3-4 Tbps. of veggie broth, approximately 5 minutes.

Add more veggie broth as needed to lightly brown them, then toss in mushrooms and saute for another 5 minutes.

onions and mushrooms being sauteed in pot

Add the dry uncooked bulgur, fire-roasted tomatoes, marinara, and black beans and allow to cook another 5 minutes.

What is bulgur?

Bulgur is a whole wheat grain that is cooked exactly like rice in about 15 minutes. This amazing grain adds a ground beef texture and soaks up the flavors of the dish you’re preparing.

I like to make a big batch of bulgur in my rice cooker and freeze it for use in other recipes like spaghetti and nachos.

Healthy oil-free marinara

Believe it or not, the Aldi discount grocery store has a marinara brand that is Dr. John McDougall compliant, with no oil. It’s called Simply Nature and is organic. Here in North Carolina, it sells for about $2 for 25 oz.

Make sure to read the labels, because some variations do contain oil or animal products. Aldi stores often carry different products, so do a quick check of the ingredient list. 

pot with marinara, beans, and bulgur

Another great oil-free marinara is the DeLallo Fat-Free Brand. It can be ordered on Amazon and delivered straight to your door. I actually love this particular brand.

If you would rather, you can make your own marinara. Check out Will, from Potato Strong’s Marina Sauce.

Do you have to cook the lasagna noodles?

I like to buy whole grain, oven-ready lasagna noodles because they don’t have to be cooked, so I’m able to skip a step of cooking in this recipe. However, you can definitely use traditional lasagna noodles.

If using the traditional pasta, barely cook the noodles in boiling water, approximately 5 minutes, then remove from water and set to the side. If these are cooked any longer, they fall apart while you handle them.

vegan lasagna being layered in baking dish

Layering the lasagna

Cover bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish with a THIN layer of tomato black bean sauce, then a layer of noodles. This keeps the noodles from touching the bottom of a baking dish and sticking.

Next, add another thicker layer of tomato black bean sauce. Then a layer of Tofu Ricotta. You’ll use 1/2 of the entire ricotta mixture here. Plop tablespoons on top of noodles, like this.

lasagna in casserole dish with vegan ricotta

Then take a fork or spoon and smear it around on the top a little bit to even it out over the whole dish.

Next, drizzle the creamy cheese sauce over the top. It won’t be pretty but that doesn’t matter because no one will see this part, and it’s going to be delicious.

layering process for vegan spinach lasagna

Continue the same order of layers, starting with another layer of noodles, then using 1/2 of the remaining tomato black bean sauce, and all the remaining Tofu Ricotta, Lightly drizzle with cheese sauce.

The last layer will begin with the remaining noodles, topped by the remaining tomato black bean sauce, and then drizzled with cheese sauce.

Bake in the oven at 350°F for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle a little more cheese sauce on top. Serve!

overhead view of vegan lasagna topped with dairy free cheese

*Originally published March 2015.

Tips for making vegan lasagna

I highly recommend making double-batches of the cheese sauce and ricotta to use in other recipes.

The cheese sauce freezes well for using later.

When I reheat the cheese sauce, I like to place it back in the blender after defrosting for a quick blend to make it nice a smooth again, just like freshly made.

The whole lasagna freezes well too. Cooking more than I need is standard practice for me because I love being able to pull a meal out of the freezer on those hurried crazy days.

close up of serving of vegan lasagna on white plate

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vegan lasagna topped with cashew cheese close up with salad and bread in background

Vegan Lasagna with Spinach & Mushrooms

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Lasagna is such a hearty and filling meal, and it feeds a pretty big crowd! It takes a little bit of work but is so worth the effort. I remember when I used to do in-home cooking lessons, this vegan lasagna is one recipe that always received the best reviews.

Ingredients

Lasagna & Sauce

  • 10 oz. package whole-grain lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup dry uncooked bulgur
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • veggie broth
  • 4-6 cups marinara sauce, your favorite
  • 15 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, leave UNDRAINED
  • 1 recipe Tofu Ricotta, (recipe follows)
  • 1-2 cups Vegan Creamy Cheese Sauce, (recipe below)

Tofu Ricotta

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, (or 1/4 cup white beans)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 16 oz. firm tofu, pressed to drain
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, dry
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 10 oz. pkg. frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained

Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce

  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled and diced (I use Russet, red skin, yellow, or sweet potatoes)
  • 1/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup broth from cooked veggies
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, or 1/2 cup cooked white beans
  • 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch paprika
  • 1/2 pinch cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Though this recipe is a little more in-depth and requires some time and work, I promise it’s going to be worth the effort.
  2. Begin by making the spinach ricotta and cheese sauces as explained in the recipes below. Set them to the side and begin to work on the veggie and sauce mixture.
  3. In a large saucepan or stockpot, sauté the minced garlic and onion in 3-4 Tbps. of veggie broth, approximately 5 minutes. Add more veggie broth as needed to lightly brown them, then toss in mushrooms and saute for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the dry uncooked bulgur, fire-roasted tomatoes, marinara, and black beans and allow to cook another 5 minutes. I have included lots of options for oil-free marinara in the article above as well as information about bulgur.
  5. If using the traditional pasta, barely cook the noodles in boiling water, approximately 5 minutes, then remove from water and set to the side. If these are cooked any longer, they fall apart while you handle them. I like to buy whole grain, oven-ready lasagna noodles because they don't have to be cooked, so I'm able to skip a step of cooking in this recipe. However, you can definitely use traditional lasagna noodles.
  6. Cover bottom of 9 x 13 baking dish with a THIN layer of tomato black bean sauce, then a layer of noodles. This keeps the noodles from touching the bottom of a baking dish and sticking.
  7. Next, add another thicker layer of tomato black bean sauce. Then a layer of Tofu Ricotta. You'll use 1/2 of the entire ricotta mixture here. Plop tablespoons on top of noodles. I've included photos of this process above.
  8. Then take a fork or spoon and smear it around on the top a little bit to even it out over the whole dish.
  9. Next, drizzle the creamy cheese sauce over the top. It won't be pretty but that doesn't matter because no one will see this part, and it's going to be delicious.
  10. Continue the same order of layers, starting with another layer of noodles, then using 1/2 of the remaining tomato black bean sauce, and all the remaining Tofu Ricotta, Lightly drizzle with cheese sauce.
  11. The last layer will begin with the remaining noodles, topped by the remaining tomato black bean sauce, and then drizzled with cheese sauce.
  12. Bake in the oven at 350°F for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle a little more cheese sauce on top. Serve!

Tofu Ricotta

  1. The Tofu Ricotta is a layer of this vegan lasagna that you definitely don't want to leave out. It's is made with only 8 simple ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes for a deliciously healthy plant-based cheese alternative.
  2. Simply drain the water from the block of tofu and press. Then add it and all of the ricotta ingredients EXCEPT THE SPINACH to a blender and process until nice and smooth.
  3. Once the ricotta is blended, place it in a mixing bowl and add previously frozen spinach that has been defrosted and drained. You'll need to squeeze out all the excess water by placing it in paper towels and squeezing it over a bowl or sink. This is VERY important so the spinach will not add water to the ricotta.
  4. Now it can be added to the mixing bowl with the ricotta. Be prepared to stir this well for up to a couple of minutes. It takes a bit of work to get the spinach worked in well with the ricotta.
  5. Once it's mixed well. set it to the side or in the refrigerator for a few minutes while working on the cheese sauce.

Creamy Vegan Cheese Sauce

  1. In a medium pot, bring about 3 cups of water to a boil. Place potatoes, carrots, and onion in the pot and allow to cook until veggies are tender approximately 15 minutes. Cooking time will vary based on how small the veggies are diced.
  2. When veggies are tender, drain and place them in a blender. NOTE: reserve 1 cup of the broth, and add to blender. Add all the remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth.
  3. This recipe makes approximately 1 quart and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks to be used on baked potatoes, tacos, pizza, and so much more!

Notes

Detailed instructions, in-process photos, and my personal helpful tips can be found in the article above.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 409Total Fat: 6.7gCarbohydrates: 77.4gFiber: 17.7gProtein: 29.5g

To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator. You are solely responsible for ensuring that any nutritional information provided is accurate, complete, and useful.

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