I instantly fell in love when I first discovered Sublime, a Fort Lauderdale vegan restaurant. Everything written about Sublime is true; it is a genuinely gourmet vegan experience, and there is no way to eat everything you want to try on the menu possibly. Typically, we order too much food and split everything to 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.
I think I subconsciously planned vacations to Ft. Lauderdale intending to eat at Sublime throughout our traveling to Florida. But, unfortunately, Sublime permanently closed its doors this past year and took its incredible vegan lasagna secret with it. After 15 years of owning this famous vegan restaurant, the owner and founder, Nanci Alexander, 71, decided to retire.
CASHEW BASIL CHEESE SAUCE IS THE CHEESY LAYER OF THE VEGAN LASAGNA (OR TRY TEH NUT-FREE OPTION)
One part of this recipe will always stay constant: 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 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 genuinely unique! Of course, if you are allergic to nuts, you can substitute vegan cheese, but I think the cashew cheese sauce adds to this vegan lasagna recipe's creaminess.
For a nut-free otpion, substitute white bean for the cahsews int eh casew basil cheese sauce 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 (or substitute white beans for the cashews for a nut-free option)
- Fresh Herbs
- Raw Spinach
- Raw Zucchini and summer squash
- Lentil Vegetable Filling
- Sauteed Mushrooms, Onions, and Garlic
First and foremost, homemade Vegan Marinara Sauce is the key to fabulous lasagna. I USE JARRED SAUCE when I'm in a hurry, so feel free to use jarred sauce instead.
When I make my homemade vegan marinara, I always double or triple the recipe to freeze it and use it when needed.
But, the secret sauce brings the dish together. Before my revamp, I needed to use frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach in my earlier recipe. I was wrong. But, again, it is about texture, and although I was trying to get that texture, I missed flavor and freshness when using frozen spinach.
So, I opted for fresh spinach, raw summer squash, 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 keeps them firm and carmelize them together to add more flavor.
My former vegan lasagna recipe is the layers of vegetable lentil stuffing from my Veggie Stuffed Shells recipe.
Also, fresh herbs are essential in the sauce, cashew, basil cheese, and garnish. I love my herb scissors, which 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, onion, and a layer of spinach, and a zucchini layer.
Then, start again repeat, beginning with more noodles. Seven layers turn into fourteen layers of vegan lasagna goodness.
Once all the ingredients are layered into one pan, cover up tightly with aluminum foil and bake; after removing the vegan lasagna from the oven, leave it covered for 20 minutes.
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!
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
- 1 recipe homemade vegan marinara sauce or 2 25.5 ounce jarred sauce
Lentil Vegetable "Meat"
- 1 recipe Lentil Vegetable Filling
Cashew Basil Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight or substitute white beans for a nut-free option
- ½ cup organic vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ cup fresh basil tightly packed
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 package no boil or cooked vegan lasagna noodles
- 2 large green zucchinis sliced thin
- 16 ounces portobello Mushrooms
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- ½ cup vegetable broth for sautéing
- 2 cups marinara sauce reserved for serving
- ½ cup chopped basil
- Vegan Parmesan
- Prepare vegan marinara sauce or 2 25.5 ounce jars of store-bought sauce or 2 25.5 ounce jars of store-bought sauce.
- This recipe can be made ahead of time and frozen.
- Reserve 2 cups of sauce to use for serving
LENTIL VEGETABLE "MEAT"
- Prepare 1 recipe of lentil veggie "meat" filling from my veggie stuffed shells recipe.
- The filling can be made beforehand or frozen.
CASHEW BASIL CHEESE SAUCE
- Drain cashews
- Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth; add more broth if too thick.
- Set aside
MUSHROOMS, ONION, AND GARLIC
- In a large skillet, saute garlic and onions until onions are translucent.
- Add vegetable broth if they are sticking.
- Then, add mushrooms, and cook until mushrooms are brown.
- Set aside
- Cook noodles according to package instructions or use no-boil kind.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- In a 9x13 inch pan, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the pan's bottom. Not only does this prevent sticking, but it also makes it, so you don't have to use oil or spray.
- Layer the noodles on top of marinara sauce on the pan's bottom, crossing over each noodle slightly to create a layer of noodles.
- Now, add a thin layer of cashew basil cheese sauce, spreading evenly over the noodles.
- Next, begin layering your ingredients: lentil veggie "meat," sauteed mushrooms and onions, raw spinach leaves and zucchini, and top with more marinara.
- Then, repeat the layers, adding another layer of noddles and all the other layers a second time. Finally, add the sauce on top.
- Now, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and place it on the center rack of the oven.
- Cook for 1 hour.
- Remove from oven and leave covered for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil and cut it into individual pieces.
- Using the reserve marinara sauce, place a few spoonfuls of sauce in each bowl/plate
- Then place a piece of vegan lasagna on top of the sauce.
- Add a little more marinara to the top of the vegan lasagna.
- Garnish with chopped fresh basil
- Sprinkle with vegan parmesan
- The vegan marinara sauce, vegan parmesan cheese, and lentil veggie meat can all be prepared ahead of time. In addition, the sauce and "meat" can be frozen and used for multiple recipes.
- I also suggest making and cooking the lasagna a day before and reheating when ready to serve.
- Substitute white beans for the cashews in the cashew cheese recipe for a nut-free cheese option.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂