Lentil Lasagna – The Almond Eater


Easy vegan Lentil Lasagna uses french lentils instead of meat, making it a hearty plant-based option. In addition, it’s filled with veggies, tomato sauce, a vegan “cheese” sauce and topped with dairy-free cheese, making it a go-to comfort food meal.

a piece of lasagna on a plate with a fork

Lasagna is my love language, specifically this lentil lasagna!

See, I’m always looking for ways to use lentils. My go-to’s are my lentil bolognese and my chickpea lentil curry, but this lasagna may just be the coziest meal of them all.

The lentils mimic meat, and the whole dish is so flavorful, meat eaters and vegans alike will devour this recipe. 

Recipe features

  • Filled with vegetables like carrots, onion, zucchini, and garlic, along with a vegan béchamel sauce instead of ricotta.
  • Made quite similarly to traditional lasagna, but with lentils instead of beef.
  • The filling can be prepped ahead of time to speed up this recipe, making this doable for weeknight meals. 
a baking dish of lasagna topped with shredded cheese and fresh basil

Ingredients

  • Lasagna noodles – I used traditional noodles, which I recommend. I tested this using gluten free noodles, and it didn’t hold together quite as well, so if you want to go that route, keep that in mind.
  • Vegetables – A combination of carrots, onion, zucchini, and garlic works wonderfully and helps amp up the flavor of the entire dish. 
  • Lentils – I like using french lentils because they have a little bite to them, and closely resemble meat. However, you can use brown or green lentils if you’re unable to find french lentils, just note that the texture may be slightly different.
  • Tomato sauce – A combination of canned tomato sauce and jarred marinara sauce works well. The tomato sauce should be plain, or have a few Italian spices in the ingredients, and the marinara sauce can be whatever kind you’d like (I used tomato basil).
  • Basil – Fresh basil works best, but you can use dried basil in a pinch. I’d use one teaspoon to start and increase it to taste. 
  • Nutritional yeast – To be used in the “cheese sauce”/béchamel sauce and helps to give a cheesy flavor. No substitutions! 
  • Vegan cheese – Vegan mozzarella or vegan parmesan work well. Try to find a meltable cheese if you can.

Step-by-step instructions 

Step 1: Sauté the veggies. Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion and zucchini and sauté until soft. Then, add the garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes.

Step 2: Make the filling. To that same skillet, add the lentils, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, marinara sauce, water, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and simmer for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally until the lentils are cooked.

lentil mixture with veggies and tomato sauce in a skillet

Step 3: Cook the noodles. While the filling is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions. Drain, then lay them all out on a clean work surface to prevent them from sticking/breaking. 

Step 4: Make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the flour and whisk for 30 seconds. Pour in the milk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and whisk until the sauce has thickened a bit and is smooth. Remove from the heat.

Step 5: Assemble. Next, make the lasagna. Spread marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, then place 3 noodles on top. Spread HALF of the lentil mixture on top, followed by HALF of the cheese sauce and ⅓ of the shredded vegan cheese. Repeat this same process for the second layer. 

For the final layer, add the remaining 3 noodles, followed by the rest of the marinara sauce and shredded vegan cheese.

lasagna being assembled in a rectangle baking dish

Step 6: Bake. Cover the dish with foil, then bake the lasagna for 15 minutes. Uncover, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the cheese on top has melted. Remove, then wait at least 10 minutes before slicing. 

Tips and tricks

  • The cheese sauce is similar to my healthy alfredo sauce; if you’re not vegan, you can (and should!) make the alfredo sauce to use.
  • Substitutions: You could add diced butternut squash or yellow squash to the vegetable mixture if you’d like. 

Do you have to boil lasagna noodles? 

If you’re using traditional noodles, then yes. If you don’t want to boil them beforehand, make sure to purchase no boil noodles. They may also be called oven-ready noodles.

Can I make lentil lasagna in advance?

Yes! To make this recipe a bit quicker, you can make the lentil mixture up to 2 days in advance. Simply prep it, then store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. I don’t recommend cooking the noodles in advance.

Storage

Refrigerator: Store lasagna in smaller containers, making sure they’re sealed tightly. Or, store it in the 9×13 baking dish as long as it has a proper lid, for up to 5 days.

Freezer: Wait for the lasagna to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in foil and place it in the freezer (it’s ok to freeze in the baking dish). Freeze lasagna for up to 3 months.

Want to freeze uncooked lasagna? Check out this article all about how to freeze lasagna.

Reheating: If frozen, be sure to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake the lasagna at 375° until it’s warmed through. 

a piece of lasagna on a plate with a fork

More vegan dinner recipes

If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!

a piece of lasagna on a plate with a fork

Lentil Lasagna

Easy vegan Lentil Lasagna uses french lentils instead of meat, making it a hearty plant-based option. In addition, it’s filled with veggies, tomato sauce, a vegan “cheese” sauce and topped with dairy-free cheese, making it a go-to comfort food meal.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Servings: 12 slices

Ingredients

  • 9 lasagna noodles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 1 cup yellow onion diced
  • 1 zucchini diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ cup french lentils (see notes for substitutions)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 14 oz. tomato sauce (1 can)
  • 2 ½ cups marinara sauce divided
  • 1 cup water
  • cup fresh basil chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 8 oz. shredded mozzarella or parmesan vegan

for the cheese/béchamel sauce:

  • 2 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1 ½ tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup almond milk or milk of choice
  • 1 ½ tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion and zucchini and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Then, add the garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.

  • To that same skillet, add the lentils, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, ½ cup of the marinara sauce, water, basil, and red pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer the mixture for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are cooked.

  • While the lentil mixture is cooking, cook the lasagna noodles: bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the noodles according to the package instructions. Drain, then lay each noodle out flat on a clean surface to prevent them from sticking or tearing.

  • Next, make the cheese sauce: melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, then add the flour and whisk continuously for 30 seconds. Pour in the milk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Bring to a low simmer, stirring occasionally until the sauce has thickened and is smooth; remove from the heat. Now, preheat the oven to 400°.

  • Once the lentils are soft, it’s time to assemble the lasagna: Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish, then top it with 3 lasagna noodles. Spread HALF of the lentil mixture overtop, using the back of a spoon to smooth it out, then add HALF of the cheese sauce on top, followed by ⅔ cup of the shredded vegan cheese. Next, layer 3 more lasagna noodles, followed by the remaining lentil mixture and the remaining cheese sauce, and ⅔ cup of shredded cheese. Last, top with the final 3 lasagna noodles, 1 cup of marinara sauce and the remaining shredded cheese.

  • Cover the dish with foil, then bake the lasagna for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the cheese has melted, 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and wait at least 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!

Notes

*Calories are per slice and are an estimation
*Lentils: you can substitute brown or green lentils if you prefer, but the texture will be slightly different. I would NOT use red lentils!

Nutrition

Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 651mg | Potassium: 433mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2414IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 2mg

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