This article was originally published on CBD Seniors. To view the original article and recipe, click here.
Plant-Based Lasagna with layers of Pasta, Spinach, Sautéed Zucchini & Onions, Black Truffle Paté, Vegan Cheeses and Hemp Hearts, with an Heirloom Tomato & Sweet Bell Pepper Sauce
Total: 1 hour and 20 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 70 minutes
Allergens: tree nuts, wheat
This vegetable forward spin on an Italian classic is the closest thing you’ll get to the real thing. This recipe uses plant-based cheeses that imitate the ooey gooey texture and creamy richness of regular cheese, as well as hemp hearts and farmer’s market vegetables that make this dish so irresistible! This recipe can be enjoyed by everyone in your family or served at your next dinner party, regardless if you are a meat eater or not!
I’ve eaten a lot of mock cheeses in my life and I find that these three are the perfect combination for this recipe. Use these products in place of its original counterparts in other applications as well. Kite hill is a brand that makes alternative cheese from almond milk. Their ricotta adds airiness and the cream cheese adds silkiness. Violife mozzarella is made from coconut oil and vegetable starches and acts as a binder between the layers of this lasagna.
- ½ of a medium sized red OR white onion, peeled, then diced
- 1 medium sized zucchini, diced
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 4 bundles of fresh spinach, washed OR 1lb of frozen spinach, thawed and drained of all excess water
- ¼ cup of hemp hearts
- 8 oz (1 tub) of kite hill ricotta
- 4 oz (½ tub) of kite hill cream cheese
- 4 oz (½ bag) of violife mozzarella shreds
- ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper
- Optional: 2 oz of black truffle paté
- 1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and chopped
- ¼ of a red OR white onion, peeled and chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 4 medium sized heirloom tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of hemp oil
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (I used aged)
- ½ cup of vegetable stock/broth
- ½ teaspoon each of salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon of fresh basil, chopped
- 1 9”x9”x2” square baking pan lined with parchment paper or non-stick foil, then sprayed with oil
- 12 uncooked lasagna sheets + oil spray
- 2 oz of violife mozzarella shreds
- Optional: A dash of fresh chives and hemp hearts for garnish
- Gather all the ingredients. Break down all the vegetables and start working on your lasagna filling by cooking (on medium low) the onions and zucchini in a large saucepan with the olive oil for about 4 minutes.
2.) If you are using fresh spinach, add them in the pan, cover it with a lid and steam the spinach for about 2 minutes or until all of the greens are wilted. Complete the filling by combining in a large bowl the cooked onions and zucchini, spinach, hemp hearts, kite hill ricotta, kite hill cream cheese, violife mozzarella shreds, salt, pepper and black truffles. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge while you work on the sauce.
3.) For the sauce, start by sautéing in the hemp and olive oils the bell pepper, garlic and onion in a medium pot for 3 minutes on medium low heat. Add the chopped tomatoes, italian seasoning, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, vegetable stock, salt and pepper, bring to a boil then lower the sauce to a simmer with the lid on for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, add the parsley and basil, then pureé everything using a hand blender. Set aside.
4.) Bring to a boil a wide saucepan of salted water and par-cook the lasagna sheets for 5 minutes, cooking 4-5 sheets at a time to prevent them from sticking. Once the pasta is partially cooked, place them on a parchment paper lined tray sprayed with oil. Continue cooking the rest and transferring them onto the tray, sprayed with oil and layered with more sheets of parchment paper.
5.) Preheat an oven to 375F. Line a 9”x9”x2” square baking pan with parchment paper or non-stick foil, then spray it with oil. This will help your lasagna come out picture perfect.
6.) Now it’s time to assemble! Begin by ladling some sauce on the bottom then adding 3 lasagna sheets with the excess length of the pasta coming up the sides, then add ⅓ of the filling, ¼ cup of the sauce, 1 oz of mozzarella shreds. Repeat this process until everything is layered to the top. You will have leftover sauce that you can serve on the side.
7.) Cover the top with aluminum foil and bake it in the center of the oven for 40 minutes. Wait 10-15 minutes before to prevent your hard work from falling apart. Garnish with fresh chives, a sprinkle of hemp hearts, a ladle of sauce, and serve!
- Make sure you use a stainless steel pot when making the sauce. You do not want to use a hand blender on non-stick cookware because it just completely scratches the bottom and ruins it. You could also skip this step completely for a more rustic looking sauce but make sure to dice your vegetables into half inch cubes.
- Following all the steps might seem tedious but they’re important for building the perfect lasagna that comes out super easily out of the pan it’s baked in.
- Can I use a different brand of vegan cheese? Yes. I chose this mixture of alternative cheeses because of the great balance it creates. Feel free to try all the plant-based cheese brands out there and substitute them for the ones in this recipe.
- Can I use no-boil pasta sheets? Of course. The reason I used your typical ridged lasagna sheet is because I like the excess length of them coming up the sides after they’ve been partially cooked to a pliable state. This gives this lasagna more surface area on the perimeter that creates more of the beloved baked crusty edges.
- Can I skip making the sauce and buy it instead? Yes, but make sure to look at the ingredients list for ingredients you do not want if you are sticking to a vegan recipe.