Your First vegan Lasagna

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If you’ve never made a vegan lasagna, this is where to start. Tofu ricotta, garlicky spinach and mushrooms, and bursts of Kalamata olives ... it’s so saucy that there’s no need to precook the noodles because they’ll cook right there in the casserole. Packed with flavor, so so easy, and possibly even better as leftovers. I love it with a Caesar salad.

Ingredients

For the spinach and mushroom filling

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound (455 g) cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup (155 g) pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in half
  • 1 (16-ounce/455 g) bag baby spinach

For the tofu ricotta

  • 2 (14-ounce/400 g) blocks extra-firm tofu, crumbled
  • ¼ cup (35 g) nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 cups (2 L) marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 (14-ounce/400 g) box lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups (200 g) breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Make the filling: Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic in olive oil for about 30 seconds. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms and thyme, and sauté until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  2. Toss in the olives. Turn off the heat and add the spinach in handfuls, tossing it until wilted. This might take a few rounds. Set the filling aside.
  3. Make the ricotta: Using your hands (or an avocado masher), mash the tofu until it resembles ricotta. Add the nutritional yeast, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste and continue to mash until well combined.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease the bottom of the casserole dish with olive oil. Ladle in a thin layer of marinara, then arrange a single layer of uncooked noodles over the sauce. Ladle in another layer of sauce that is about ½ inch (12 mm) deep. Then arrange half of the filling on top of that and spoon in half of the ricotta in scattered dollops. Over the ricotta, ladle in another ½-inch (12 mm) layer of sauce, then repeat layers of the noodles, mushroom filling, ricotta, sauce, and another layer of noodles. That will be the top layer.
  5. Ladle plenty of marinara sauce over the top layer. Tightly seal the lasagna in aluminum foil and bake for about an hour. In the meantime, mix the breadcrumbs with the olive oil in a mixing bowl.
  6. Once the noodles are tender, remove the foil. Scatter the breadcrumbs over the top and bake, uncovered, for an additional 20 minutes. Garnish the lasagna with fresh thyme or parsley, if desired, and serve!