Wholesome Vegan Lentil Lasagna

If you love lasagna and so happen to be plant-based (or not), you’ll love this vegan lentil lasagna!

I set out to make a lasagna that screams comfort and happiness but doesn’t contain processed ingredients like vegan butter and cheese. These two processed ingredients can be found in most vegan lasagna recipes on the internet.

This lasagna is the birth child of our baked ziti and lentil bolognese, with the main feature coming from our béchamel sauce recipe. This is the first of many lasagna bakes that will be coming to our blog. So keep an eye out for other variations in the future!

You might be wondering how I managed to achieve that beautiful topping that looks like it has cheese in it and a filling that resembles mincemeat. Well, I’ve used subtle techniques to make a rich and meaty texture with a cheesy top without using any animal products, which I’ll explain below.

Close up of baked lasagna in dish

The anatomy of this vegan lentil lasagna

The lentil veggie layer is packed full of goodness.

You’ll find the base for this flavourful sauce starts with onion, garlic, carrot and mushrooms cooked down nicely with some colour. I then add the brown lentils, herbs and spices as well as the tomato paste (puree) and canned diced tomatoes.

Add a touch of water and cook down nicely to create a wonderfully rich sauce. The touch of tamari is for some extra umami. 

Layering of lentil sauce in baking dish

While the lentil veggie sauce cooks, it’s time to prepare the béchamel. This creamy sauce is a combination of olive oil, flour, plant milk, a couple of herbs and spices mixed together to make a rich and diverse sauce! To thicken it a little further and add the umami of cheese-like flavour, I add nutritional yeast at the end. 

You’ll find one other trick in this béchamel. When you’ve baked it for 30 minutes, you add a tapioca starch slurry to create a cheesy pull and nice brown film on top of the lasagna. You won’t believe there’s no cheese in this recipe!

This is all layered nicely with uncooked lasagna sheets and baked in the oven to make a beautiful home-cooked meal to please omnivores and vegans!

Slice of lasagna lifted out of dish.

How to layer a vegan lasagna

There are typically two ways to layer lasagna. You can make a béchamel for just the top as a finishing layer (which is how I used to do it), or you can layer the béchamel throughout the lentil veggie sauce and pasta sheets. 

I’ve been doing the latter method for the last couple of years after watching how it was done the traditional way. Adding béchamel throughout the lasagna adds a more balanced flavour profile, as well as a creamier bake. 

This was my method of layering:

  1. Lentil sauce (2 cups)
  2. Lasagna sheets
  3. Béchamel sauce (¾ cup)
  4. Lentil sauce (2 cups)
  5. Lasagna sheets
  6. Béchamel sauce (¾ cup)
  7. Lentil sauce (2 cups)
  8. Lasagna sheets
  9. Lentil sauce (the rest)
  10. Béchamel sauce (the rest, minus ½ cup that is left aside for the tapioca slurry topping)

Sliced lasagna shot overhead.

Using a food processor to achieve texture (and speed up the process)

I always love a good kitchen hack to speed up the process of cooking. I mean, who doesn’t? I introduced the use of my food processor when doing my third iteration of this recipe and noticed how much quicker the sauce took. 

The main thing I noticed when processing the veggies was how much more liquid came out of them. If you use this method, cook the vegetables on a medium-high heat as otherwise, you’ll be stewing them in their juices.

If you don’t use a food processor, lower the heat to medium so that the veggies have time to saute properly. 

The veggies that are put through the food processor are the onion, carrots and mushrooms. You can also pulse the canned tomatoes if you buy them whole to get the diced consistency. 

When you use a food processor, you create a nice rhythm when cooking. As things are chopped much faster, you won’t have to worry about burning anything if you’re preparing the vegetables as you go.

TIP: Make sure to pulse to not overprocess them!

If you don’t have a food processor, or don’t want to use one, simply dice the onion, carrots and mushrooms finely. I suggest you prep all of these before you start cooking. 

Slice of lasagna on plate.

Now let’s get into this deliciousness! I hope you enjoy this vegan lentil lasagna as much as I do.

Other recipes you’ll love:

  1. Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Bake (7 Ingredients)
  2. Creamy Vegan Potato Gratin
  3. Easy Vegan Baked Ziti
  4. Simple Creamy Vegan White Sauce
  5. How to Make Vegan Béchamel Sauce

If you try this recipe, let me know. Would love for you to leave a comment and rating below. If you want to go that extra mile, tag us on Instagram or share your photo of the recipe on Pinterest

Wholesome Vegan Lentil Lasagna

Wholesome Vegan Lentil Lasagna

Yield: Serves 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

This wholesome vegan lentil lasagna is packed with nutritious ingredients and flavour! It's the perfect comfort food for both omnivores and vegans.

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large brown/yellow onion, diced*
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, diced*
  • 250g mushrooms, diced*
  • 1 tbsp mixed dried Italian herbs
  • 2 cans (425g each) of brown lentils or 3 cups cooked brown lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 1 heaped tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 jar (700g) passata
  • 1 can (400g) tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1.5 tsp good quality salt (I use pink Himalayan salt)
  • ¼ tsp of chilli powder or cayenne pepper, adjust to taste
  • 250g box of uncooked lasagna sheets

Béchamel sauce:

  • See recipe card below

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (390F).
  2. In a large saucepan on medium-high heat,* add the olive oil and onion. Sauté for a couple of minutes until the onions have softened and are browning a little.
  3. Add in the garlic, and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  4. Add in the carrots, and cook for around 4-5 minutes until they're soft. If you find that it's starting to stick to the pan, add a little bit of water - not too much because you don't want them to start stewing. Around 1-2 tbsp.
  5. Add in the mushrooms and Italian herb mix, stirring in well and cooking for another couple of minutes until all the veggies are nice and soft.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium and add the lentils, cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add in the tomato paste, passata, can of tomatoes and ½ cup of water (I'll normally add the water to the passata jar and can to get the remainder of the tomato juices). Give it a good stir.
  8. Add in the tamari, salt, and chilli powder, stir well and place the lid on askew to allow some steam to escape the saucepan. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  9. While the sauce cooks, make the béchamel sauce (Instructions below). You may need to turn off the heat on the lentil sauce while you finish off the béchamel.
  10. Once both the sauces are cooked, you're now ready to start assembling your lasagna. Remember to set aside the ½ cup of béchamel for later.
  11. In a large baking dish—mine is a 5L rectangular dish (42cmx23cm, 16.54inx9.05in) start off with the lentil sauce (2 cups), then the lasagna sheets, followed by béchamel sauce (¾ cup). Repeat this process two more times, however on the third round, finish it off with all the lentil sauce that you have left, followed by the rest of the béchamel. If you're unsure, see the notes listed above outlining the layering process.
  12. Bake for 30 minutes. While it bakes, combine the tapioca and water slurry and add it to the remaining ½ cup of béchamel you have leftover.
  13. After 30 minutes, take the lasagna out of the oven, and top it with this mixture, spreading out nice and even. Return to the oven for another 8-10 minutes.
  14. Turn the oven off, move the dish to the top shelf, and grill until the top has browned to your liking.
  15. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Notes

* Use a food processor to pulse these veggies to a nice and fine diced consistency.

* If you're hand dicing the veggies, keep the heat on medium, not medium-high.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 356Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 1254mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 16gSugar: 7gProtein: 22g

Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically. The accuracy of this information is not guaranteed.

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Traditional Vegan Béchamel Sauce

Traditional Vegan Béchamel Sauce

Yield: 3.5 cups
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

This vegan béchamel sauce is the one to use when you’re after the closest thing to a traditional one. Add one magic ingredient and you obtain a crispy, cheesy topping to your oven-baked dishes.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (750ml) unsweetened oat milk
  • 1 bay leaf, torn in half
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 tsp good-quality salt
  • 6 tbsp (55ml) olive oil
  • 5 level tbsp (43g) all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup nutritional yeast

For the topping:

  • 2 tbsp tapioca starch
  • 4 tbsp water

Instructions

    1. Place oat milk, bay leaf, nutmeg, peppercorns and salt in a small pan, and heat on low-medium heat for 10 mins—this will allow the flavours to infuse into the milk. Take care not to boil.
    2. To make the roux, heat the olive oil on medium heat until warm. Add the flour and whisk. Keep whisking for around a minute, this will begin cooking the flour. 
    3. Strain the milk mixture into a pouring jug and add it to the roux GRADUALLY. This is around ¼- ½ cup every minute until the mixture is smooth before adding more milk and mixing again - repeat until you’ve used all the milk. 
    4. Keep cooking on medium heat and whisking until any lumps have gone and the sauce is thick—this will take 10 minutes.
    5. Add the nutritional yeast and whisk in. Take off heat.
    6. Taste and add a pinch more salt if needed.
    7. Your sauce is now ready to be layered in your lasagna or other oven-baked dishes.

    For the topping:

    1. Reserve around 1/2 cup of the béchamel to create the crispy cheesy topping.
    2. While your dish is baking, mix together the tapioca starch and water until smooth. Whisk this mixture into the reserved béchamel until it is all well combined. 
    3. When you have 10 minutes of bake time left, remove the dish from the oven, pour on the béchamel & tapioca mix, and bake for around 8 minutes.
    4. Turn the oven off, move the dish to the top shelf, and grill until the top has browned to your liking.

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Bite of lasagna taken from slice.

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2 thoughts on “Wholesome Vegan Lentil Lasagna”

  1. Easy and delicious recipe! I modified the sauce slightly, based on what was in my pantry: zucchini instead of mushrooms, and 1/2 red lentils, 1/2 brown. I used uncooked lasagna noodles and covered the pan while it baked—the noodles were fully cooked at the end of the baking time. Also, the leftovers are even tastier a day or two later. Next time I will add a layer of chopped cooked greens.

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