Vegan Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta

Who doesn’t love a good lasagna? With hearty marinara sauce, bubbling cheese, and crispy bits on the top, it’s the perfect comfort food. So what do you do when you’re vegan? You still make a lasagna!

Being vegan doesn’t mean depriving yourself of delicious food. And even if you’re not vegan, I guarantee you’ll like this lasagna because it’s tastes like classic Italian comfort food. The main components of this dish are (1) marinara sauce, (2) tofu “ricotta” cheese, (3) mashed butternut squash, (4) sautéed mushrooms and shallots, and lasagna noodles. But you can easily customize this recipe to make it your own. Try adding sautéed kale or frozen, thawed spinach to get in those greens; substitute eggplant for mushrooms; or substitute the marinara sauce with pesto.

Finally, this dish is as easy to make as any lasagna. Don’t let the “tofu ricotta” trick you into thinking this is hard. It requires no cooking and takes 5 minutes to make! Bon Appétit!

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Mushroom and Butternut Squash Lasagna

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce (I use this brand)

  • 1 9-ounce package of no-boil whole wheat lasagna noodles (can substitute gluten-free noodles)

  • 1 medium butternut squash

  • 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance vegan butter or coconut oil at room temperature

  • Sea salt

  • Black pepper

  • 5-6 shallots, chopped

  • 1 pound of shiitake mushrooms or mushrooms of choice, sliced thinly

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 10-15 thyme sprigs

  • Large handful of fresh sage leaves

  • Olive oil for cooking vegetables and greasing pan

  • Tofu Ricotta Cheese (recipe below)

  • 2 tablespoons of vegan parmesan cheese (optional, I use this brand)

  • A few fresh basil leaves or parsley, sliced thinly or minced

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

  2. Meanwhile, make the butternut squash. Simply slice the squash in half, vertically. Scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh. Lightly brush the flesh of each half with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place skin-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the flesh is fork-tender and soft.

  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.

  4. While the squash is cooling, make the mushroom and shallot mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the mushrooms, shallots, and the thyme sprigs, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook for 7-9 minutes until browned, and discard the thyme sprigs.

  5. In the same skillet, head 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add 6-8 sage leaves at a time, and fry for 5 seconds on each side. Drain on a paper towel, and repeat with remaining leaves.

  6. Once the butternut squash is cool, remove the skin. If it is tender, the skin should be easy to take off. Put cooked squash in a bowl. Add vegan butter (or coconut oil) and salt & pepper to taste. Use an immersion blender or potato masher to mash the squash, as you would for mashed potatoes.

  7. To assemble the lasagna: Lightly oil the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan. Pour about 1 cup of marinara sauce onto the bottom of the pan. Top with 4 no-boil lasagna noodles. Spread noodles with butternut squash mash, top with mushroom and onion mixture, scatter a few crispy sage leaves, add a layer of tofu ricotta and spread it out, and finally top with a layer of marinara sauce. Repeat the layers, ending with marinara sauce.

  8. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover the pan and top with 2 additional tablespoons of vegan parmesan cheese, if desired. Bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.

  9. Top with fresh basil or parsley leaves.

Tofu Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 14-ounce container of extra-firm tofu

  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast

  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder

  • 1 scant teaspoon of sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

  • 1.5 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

  • 10-15 basil leaves

  • 1 lemon (half of the zest and all of the juice)

  • 2 tablespoons of vegan parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions

1. Place tofu on a cutting board or plate and slice into chunks. Cover with a few paper towels. Place a heavy can of beans or several books on top of the tofu to press out the excess water. Do this for 30 minutes or so.

2. Crumble the pressed tofu into large chunks and put in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until you have a creamy texture like ricotta cheese. Taste for salt, acidity, and cheesiness, adding more salt, lemon juice, or nutritional yeast, respectively, as needed.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

  2. For the tofu, place unwrapped tofu on a cutting board or plate. Wrap with a few paper towels. Place a heavy can of beans or several books on top of the tofu to press out the excess water. Do this for 30 minutes or so.

  3. Meanwhile, make the butternut squash. Simply slice the squash in half, vertically. Scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh. Lightly brush the flesh of each half with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place skin-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the flesh is fork-tender and soft.

  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 F.

  5. While the squash is cooling, make the mushroom and shallot mixture. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the mushrooms, shallots, and the thyme sprigs, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook for 7-9 minutes until browned, and discard the thyme sprigs.

  6. In the same skillet, head 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add 6-8 sage leaves at a time, and fry for 5 seconds on each side. Drain on a paper towel, and repeat with remaining leaves.

  7. Once the butternut squash is cool, remove the skin. If it is tender, the skin should be easy to take off. Put cooked squash in a bowl. Add vegan butter (or coconut oil) and salt & pepper to taste. Use an immersion blender or potato masher to mash the squash, as you would for mashed potatoes.

  8. To make the tofu
    ricotta:
    crumble the pressed tofu into large chunks and put in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until you have a creamy texture like ricotta cheese. Taste for salt, acidity, and cheesiness, adding more salt, lemon juice, or nutritional yeast, respectively, as needed.

  9. To assemble the lasagna: Lightly oil the bottom of a 13×9 baking pan. Pour about 1 cup of marinara sauce onto the bottom of the pan. Top with 4 no-boil lasagna noodles. Spread noodles with butternut squash mash, top with mushroom and onion mixture, scatter a few crispy sage leaves, add a layer of tofu ricotta and spread it out, and finally top with a layer of marinara sauce. Repeat the layers, ending with marinara sauce.

  10. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover the pan and top with 2 additional tablespoons of vegan parmesan cheese, if desired. Bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes.

  11. Top with fresh basil or parsley leaves.

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22 comments on Vegan Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta

  1. Magda

    Can I freeze this dish?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Magda! Freezing the lasagna should work out just fine! Make sure to let it cool to room temperature first, and to make it easier for yourself you can also cut the lasagna into squares before freezing.

  2. Oscar Montemayor

    A lot of moving parts in this recipe but really worth the effort!

    I would suggest prepping the butternut squash and the Tofu Ricotta (which by the way is fantastic on it’s own) in advance.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thank you for the nice and helpful feedback, Oscar!

  3. Marykate

    Soooo yummy. Can’t believe how good it came out. I used zucchini instead of mushrooms.

  4. H

    I love this website and many of the recipes are amazing. However, I made this ricotta (not the rest of the recipe) just to blob on pasta and the nutritional yeast was VERY strong in a way that I didn’t like. Maybe it’s an acquired taste or maybe the ricotta works better in the context of the recipe, but if anyone else here is ambivalent about nutritional yeast I would consider scaling back or even omitting this ingredient. Just wanted to make a note of this in case anyone could benefit, thanks for all the plant-based inspiration and keep up the awesome work :)

  5. Elizabeth Nicolazzi

    This looks amazing and I’m so excited to try it. I was wondering if instead of using fresh butternut squash I can use canned butternut squash puree. I cant really find a fresh ripe butternut squash in my area so i was wondering if using canned butternut squash is a good alternative. I also think it would be so much easier and save time especially with my busy work schedule. So, if I used canned butternut squash would it taste as good and come out the same way? Anyway, thank you for sharing this amazing recipe and keep up the great work. Have a great day!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Elizabeth! Thank you so much for your kind comment! Yes, you can definitely use the canned squash instead of roasting it whole. Since the whole roasted squash gets drizzled with olive oil and salt/pepper, you might want to add a pinch more of salt/pepper so it’s seasoned well. Thank you for stopping by!

  6. Nina

    Looks fabulous thanks for the recipe. Must make it soon. Is there a print button or am I just missing it?

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Nina! I’m glad you like the recipe and I hope you give it a try! I don’t have a print button because I try to minimize paper usage where possible. I usually just leave the recipe up on my laptop/tablet at a safe distance from the stove :) The other option is to hit ctrl/command P on your computer to print and then print only the pages you need.
      Cheers, Nisha

  7. Aimee | Wallflower Kitchen

    This looks like the best vegan lasagna ever! YUM! x

    1. Nisha Vora

      Thanks so much, Aimee! What a compliment coming from you – i love your blog and recipes!

  8. Domenica Ganguli

    Sounds great. Always looking for vegetarian and good tasting vegan dishes to add to my diet. Will try it but if I may ask, what is the purpose of adding nutrional yeast? Am not familiar with it.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi, Domenica! Thanks for visiting! I add nutritional yeast to vegan nut or tofu-based cheeses (and sometimes other savory dishes) because it adds a cheesy flavor. It’s also quite healthy :) Let me know if you make it! I just posted a new vegan quiche recipe in case you’re interested.

  9. Madeline

    This dish was wonderful … easy and I didn’t change a thing!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Madeline! Thanks so much for trying my lasagna. I’m so happy you liked it. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods!

  10. Noelle

    This looks absolutely amazing! I love the idea of the tofu ricotta and using butternut squash in the lasagne. This is definitely on my meal planning list!

    1. Nisha Vora

      Thanks so much, Noelle! The tofu ricotta came out so good, exceeded all my expectations :)

  11. quotes about life

    Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) soI guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new
    to everything. Do you have any suggestions for novice blog writers?
    I’d certainly appreciate it.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi there! Thanks for reading along, and so happy you’re enjoying my blog. I am still quite new to blogging and unfortunately don’t have much time to devote to it, so I’m not sure I have the best suggestions! But here are my humble tips
      1) Find your voice. While you should definitely read your favorite blogs for inspiration, don’t try to imitate someone eles’s writing style. Just be yourself.
      2) Consider writing about topics that haven’t been written about a lot – the blogging market is already so saturated, so try to think creatively.
      3) Revisit your work. If you’ve spent several hours on a blog post, don’t just immediately publish it (unless you’re on a time crunch for some reason). Give it a day and revisit it. You’ll likely pick up on errors or areas you can improve.
      Hope that helps!

  12. Leah

    Wow, this looks mouthwatering. Seriously, my mouth is watering just looking at this. I can’t believe it’s completely vegan. The cheese looks like it melted so beautifully.

    1. Nisha Vora

      Hi Leah! Thanks so much for visiting my blog :) The lasagna came out amazing and the tofu ricotta just blew my mind – I highly recommend trying it out!

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