When I first discovered Sublime, a Fort Lauderdale vegan restaurant, I instantly fell in love. Everything written about Sublime is true; it is a truly gourmet vegan experience, and there is no way to possibly eat everything you want to try on the menu. Typically, we order way too much food and split everything, so we can sample the menu. Although I almost tried everything on the menu, this vegan lasagna recipe, in my opinion, is by far the best lasagna I’ve ever eaten.
Throughout our years traveling to Florida, I honestly think I subconsciously planned vacations to Ft. Lauderdale, with the intention of eating at Sublime. Unfortunately, Sublime permanently closed its doors this past year and took its incredible vegan lasagna secret with it. The owner, after 15 years of owning this famous vegan restaurant, owner and founder Nanci Alexander, 71, decided to retire.
CASHEW BASIL CHEESE SAUCE IS THE CHEESY LAYER OF THE VEGAN LASAGNA
One part of this recipe will always stay constant, and that is the basil cashew cheese sauce I put between the layers of vegetables and noodles. In my opinion, there is no such thing as too much basil or nutritional yeast. I grow my own basil in my kitchen to cut back on the cost of buying it, and it continuously grows if you take good care of it.
The combination of raw cashews, nutritional yeast, and fresh basil is truly amazing! If you are allergic to nuts, you can substitute vegan cheese, but I think the cashew cheese sauce adds to the creaminess of this vegan lasagna recipe.
Just pop it all in the blender, and blend until smooth. And, yes, that is my photo-bombing dog, Howard!
WHAT MAKES MY NEW VEGAN LASAGNA MAGICAL LIKE THE SUBLIME VEGAN LASAGNA?
- Vegan Marinara Sauce
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Cashew Basil Cheese
- Fresh Herbs
- Raw Spinach
- Raw Zucchini
- Lentil Vegetable Filling
- Sauteed Mushrooms, Onions and Garlic
First, and foremost, homemade Vegan Marinara Sauce is the key to fabulous lasagna. When I’m in a hurry, I use jarred sauce, so feel free to use jarred sauce instead. When I make my homemade vegan marinara, for instance, I always double or triple the recipe, so I can freeze it, and us ie when needed.
But, the secret sauce brings the dish together. In my earlier recipe, before my revamp, I thought I needed to use frozen spinach instead of the fresh spinach. Clearly, I was wrong. Again, it is about texture, and although I was trying to get that texture, I missed on flavor and freshness when using frozen spinach.
So, I opted for fresh spinach and zucchini, leaving both raw before cooking the vegan lasagna. As a result, the zucchini stays al dente, instead of getting mushy, and the spinach wilts, giving off moisture to keep the dish saucy.
Sauteeing the mushrooms, garlic, and onions first, however, keeps the mushrooms firm and carmelizes them together to add more flavor.
An addition to my former vegan lasagna recipe is the layers of vegetable lentil stuffing from my Veggie Stuffed Shells recipe.
Also, fresh herbs are really important in both the sauce, cashew basil cheese, and the garnish. I love me herb scissors my girlfriend, Kim, gave me for my birthday.
7 LAYERS OF VEGETABLES, SAUCE, CASHEW CHEESE, NOODLES, AND REPEAT!
With all great recipes, comes the fun of putting all the steps together. For vegan lasagna, it’s all about the layers. Without a doubt, this is the joy of cooking lasagna.
First, you always put a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of your pan to prevent sticking. Yep; this means you can skip any cooking spray or oil. Next, you layer your no baked or pre-cooked noodles, crossing over a bit to seal the layer of noodles together. Then, add a layer of basil cashew cheese, then lentil veggie “meat,” followed by more sauce, mushrooms and onion, and a layer of spinach and a layer of zucchini.
Then, simply start again repeat, beginning with more noodles. Seven layers turn into fourteen layers of vegan lasagna goodness.
Once all the ingredients are layered and your ingredients have vanished into one pan, cover-up tightly with aluminum foil, and bake. After you remove the vegan lasagna from the oven, leave it covered for 20 minutes so it can set up. And then, uncover and cut into delicious pieces. I reserve some marinara sauce for the end serve and garnish with fresh basil. Don’t forget the Vegan Parmesan Cheese!
Note: The photos for this post-show an 8×8 pan of vegan lasagna; the recipe reflects a full 9×13 inch pan that serves 12. My 8X8 pan made enough for dinner and leftovers for lunch.
Here are more recipes you may enjoy if you love Italian comfort food as much as I do.
- Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
- Veggie Stuffed Shells
- Vegan Eggplant Parmesan
- Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Vegan Stuffed Shells Recipe