Best Dairy-Free Lasagna with Vegan Ragù (Creamy & Healthy)

by Alena
Mar 31, 2020
top view of baked vegan lasagna with one piece cut out on put in a bowl
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Craving an Italian pasta dish fresh out of the oven? Our dairy-free lasagna is a wonderful comfort meal that’s irresistibly creamy, secretly healthy and easily customizable.

Let’s be honest: life would be a lot less fun without vegan lasagna, pizza, pasta and all the carby goodness.

The good news is that there’s no reason you need to skip on any of these when trying to eat healthily! There’s a way to improve any good old recipe to make it fit your needs.

Just like with many other dishes on this website, we’ve managed to create a wholesome, nourishing and super tasty version of this family-friendly dinner.

This delicious dairy-free lasagna is a bit richer than other recipes we usually share here – nevertheless, it’s completely whole food plant-based, oil-free and a whole lot lighter compared to lasagna made with meat and cheese.

In fact, if meatless meals are still somewhat rare in your household, this veggie lasagna might be the perfect addition to your weekly dinner rotation. It’s family-friendly comfort food that’s undetectably healthy and everyone loves it – vegan, or not.

Granted, this isn’t the quickest or most convenient of our recipes. Since we want to share ways to prepare delicious meals that are made from scratch and don’t use store-bought vegan cheese from the get-go, we created an entirely homemade version of a healthy vegan lasagna.

But if you’re not ready to take 1-1.5 hours out of your day to prepare and bake this creamy casserole, we totally get that! Lasagna certainly isn’t your everyday dinner choice.

To make this recipe a lot more approachable, you can swap the ragù for some store-bought tomato sauce and use store-bought vegan ricotta, too. 

For a really convenient stretch-and-melt cheese experience, you can even top the lasagna with some Daiya shreds or whatever similar products your local store offers.

table with bell pepper, zucchini, carrot, whole grain lasagna sheets and tomato paste

But if you’re a multitasking-lover like me and cooking feels like meditation to you, this is just for you. 

I like to prepare, stir, wash, chop, and mix different compounds of a recipe simultaneously! It just gives me a little thrill. But if you hate doing that or don’t have enough mental RAM for it (hey, we’re all different), then you can simply tackle it one delicious filling at a time.

This lasagna recipe doesn’t require you to boil your noodles in advance, which means it takes some more time in the oven but fewer steps overall. For this to work out, you need to add a large amount of sauce plus water-rich veggies! But we can promise you — it’s so worth it.

If you want even more convenience, you can skip the high-protein cheese sauce and simply top your dairy-free comfort dish with some almond ricotta or vegan cheese shreds.

Easy Almond Ricotta Recipe

Towards the end of this article, you’ll find out how we love to layer this lasagna, but you can totally freestyle depending on how noodle-rich you want it to be – at least 2 layers of noodles with sauce in between are required, though.

white baking dish on a table filled with red and white dairy-free baked lasagna

Why This Is the Best Dairy-Free Lasagna Recipe

This really is the ultimate healthy vegan lasagna! Completely whole food plant-based with a beautiful balance of complex carbs, fiber-rich veggies, plant-based protein and satisfying healthy fats, this comfort food was born to make everyone love healthy meals.

Here are more reasons why we’re so excited about this lasagna!

  • Undetectably healthy and veggie-rich
  • Creamy, comforting yet nutrition-packed
  • Low in overall and especially saturated fat
  • Basic kitchen skill level recipe
  • Great for meal prep & batch cooking
  • Hearty and satisfying without the meat or dairy
  • Perfect for meat lovers and picky eaters
  • Delicious weekend dinner or holiday main meal

Our dairy-free lasagna is not overly cheesy and definitely balances flavors and textures very nicely. The sauce is made from a very unusual but really healthy staple food – find out more about it below!

We love to bump up the amount of vegetables we consume by sneaking them into delicious recipes like this oven-baked vegan lasagna — which we can do without taking away any of the comforting deliciousness of carb-heavy meals.

white bowl with almond ricotta in which fresh spinach is mixed by two hands

How to Make Our Healthy Vegan Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those recipes often thought of as being really complicated and time-consuming. Sure, it’ll require more steps than a bean chili, but the result is so worth it!

In our household, we try to keep things as wholesome as possible and not rely on too many processed vegan substitutes in our daily meals. This additional step of making your food from scratch often results in a lower grocery bill and better health, so we’re totally in.

If you think “wow, that’s a lot of veggies that go in there,” rest assured that they are mainly used for their texture as well as their high nutrient content. You are still in for a really delicious pasta experience!

The flavors of the ragù, white sauce and almond ricotta work together to overpower the carrot and zucchini, which makes it possible for the veggies to find their way into the bellies of even the pickiest eaters.

Hopefully we’ve convinced you to try and make our healthy dairy-free lasagna. This means you can now gather your ingredients of choice, because we’ll tell you how to make the white sauce, then the vegan ragù and how to finally put everything together!

blender in kitchen with white bean cheese sauce in it and a hand on top

How to Make Vegan Lasagna White Sauce

To make a traditional vegan white sauce or bechamel, you need some all-purpose flour, plant-based milk, oil or margarine as well as salt and pepper.

Compared to a non-vegan white sauce, you just swap the butter and dairy milk for their vegan counterparts and can prepare it in the same way.

Now, if you’re familiar with our healthy recipes, you know that these won’t be the ingredients for our lasagna’s white sauce! 

Instead, we went for a high protein, low-fat and whole food version to top our plant-based lasagna! All of the simple staple food ingredients go right into a blender jar, and a few seconds later, you have a deliciously creamy and healthy dairy-free white sauce!

The main ingredient here is white beans. But how can you make beans taste cheesy? It’s the nutritional yeast – also known as the vegan super powder that makes anything taste awesome and reminds of cheese. 

Disclaimer to all of you hardcore cheese lovers: this won’t taste “totally like cheese,” but it’s still a tasty replacement if you give it a chance.

Full Vegan Cheese Sauce Recipe

How to Make Vegan Ragù

For the vegan ragù filling in our dairy-free lasagna, you can use all kinds of different vegetables. It depends highly on your personal taste preferences (though you won’t taste them very much anyway) as well as what you can get your hands on.

Once you’ve decided which vegetables to use for your healthy lasagna filling, you just need to finely chop and sauté them in a large pot over medium heat.

We personally cook without any oil (this totally works if you sauté in some vegetable broth!), but you can use olive oil here, too.

Once all the vegetables have softened slightly, you can add the marinara sauce or canned tomatoes along with some basic spices and mix everything. Now you can use your vegan ragù to serve with some cooked pasta or as a tasty and healthy lasagna filling!

By the way, if you or your kids are not so keen on the vegetable texture, feel free to quickly blend the cooked ingredients into a creamy, smooth sauce!

woman in linen apron standing next to a table and spreading almond ricotta on to whole grain lasagna sheets

Let’s Layer This Delicious Dairy-Free Lasagna

Gather the rest of your ingredients for this vegan casserole, because it’s time to put this baby together! Keep in mind that this is just the way we like to layer our lasagna, and you can totally change things up here.

Using a large spoon or ladle, assemble the vegan lasagna in this way:

  1. Ragù
  2. Cheese sauce
  3. Lasagna sheets
  4. Spinach ricotta mixture
  5. Lasagna sheets
  6. Ragù
  7. Lasagna sheets
  8. Ragù
  9. Cheese sauce

Since we want to both fill and top the dairy-free lasagna with our bean cheese sauce, make sure to use less than half of the sauce for the bottom layer so you can finish it off with a heaping amount of creamy goodness!

Now cover your baking dish with a lid or foil and place it into the preheated oven for around 40 minutes.

woman layering vegan lasagna by placing whole grain sheets on top of tomato sauce

How Many Calories Are in Vegetable Lasagna

Very likely less than in animal product-rich lasagna. Swapping meat filling for vegetables is a smart move to easily lower the calorie and fat content of a meal.

According to the USDA, one serving (227 g or 8 oz) of vegetable lasagna has 316 calories. But who would be satisfied with such a small amount of food?

We personally advise against counting calories and instead just choosing healthy whole foods when hungry. Most people end up having a healthy body weight when they listen to their hunger cues and eat from the main plant-based food groups until satiated.

Full Vegan Nutrition Guide + Downloads

Because what you put into your vegetable lasagna can vary widely, if you’re using oil, dairy cheese, butter, or a low-fat bean sauce like we do, the calorie content is individual to each recipe.

white baking dish held by two hands with tomato vegetable sauce and white dairy free cheese sauce

More Tips for the Best Dairy-Free Lasagna

Are you excited to make the healthiest lasagna ever – but still left with some questions? We’ll go over a few of them here.

This is an easily customizable recipe, especially when it comes to the vegan ragù – we used zucchini, eggplant, carrot, bell pepper and mushrooms for the vegetable filling, but you can get really creative here!

Don’t stress over this step; pretty much any vegetable you find in your fridge or freezer will do. We’ve made this lasagna with carrots only, eggplant only, we’ve added cauliflower or lentils – the latter makes the sauce chewier and even higher in protein.

Plant-Based Protein 101

How to Make This a Gluten-Free Veggie Lasagna

There are two main ways of making a gluten-free vegan lasagna. Either choose gluten-free lasagna sheets (check the box for baking time!) or go with sliced zucchini instead of grain-based lasagna sheets.

Keep in mind that swapping whole grain lasagna noodles for zucchini slices will also drastically lower the calorie content of your vegan lasagna! If you don’t want that, consider adding some red lentils to the ragù for more satiating complex carbs. 

How to Make Vegan Lasagna with Tofu

Tofu is an affordable and healthy protein choice you can also use to make vegan lasagna! Just because we personally went for almond ricotta, doesn’t mean you can’t use its legume-based counterpart here.

If you can’t find tofu ricotta at the store, simply replace the almonds with plain tofu in the recipe we’ll share with you below.

The other ingredients you’ll need are garlic, lemon, salt and some nutritional yeast. Place everything into a food processor and blend until you’re left with a ricotta-like texture.

Jeanette created a wonderful whole food plant-based vegan lasagna using tofu, so check out her recipe if you’re interested!

Is Soy Bad For You?
woman with apron standing next to a dish with baked vegan lasagna and serving one piece of it

How Long Does Vegetable Lasagna Last in the Fridge

Properly stored, you can keep vegan lasagna in the fridge for 3-5 days. For best results, make sure to refrigerate your lasagna within two hours of cooking because, after that, it can start going bad.

To make it last even longer, you can also freeze it in heavy-duty bags or using an airtight container. This works especially well for lasagna with a good amount of sauce (like in our recipe) and tastes the best until 2-3 months of freezing. But it’s safe to freeze lasagna for longer than that.

Once cooked lasagna has been thawed, it can be kept in the fridge for an additional 3-4 days. 

We found a great guide over at Taste of Home where they went over the different ways of reheating lasagna, from using the microwave to an oven, toaster oven, stovetop skillet or even an air fryer!

Their expertise definitely tops ours, so if you’re wondering how to reheat vegan lasagna, check out this resource.

If you’re looking for more content on meal prepping, we have an in-depth article on that topic!

Full 5-Day Vegan Meal Prep + Download

Delicious Vegan Lasagna Recipes to Try

Although we personally like this dairy-free lasagna the most (and we’ve tried many over the years!), that’s not to say that there aren’t a ton of great vegan lasagnas out there!

Apart from the customization options we shared with you above, there are also completely different ways of enjoying a vegan lasagna!

You can make Dianne’s lasagna roll-ups, a comforting Instant Pot pumpkin lasagna soup like this one by Nisha as well as a sweet potato lasagna or this zucchini lasagna by Sarah that both don’t even need any noodles.

baking dish with creamy dairy free vegan lasagna where a piece has been cut out

More Tasty & Healthy Veggie Recipes

Still hungry or wanting to follow a quicker recipe tonight? Our blog is full of delicious healthified comfort foods for you to try. How about these:

Ready to feed a hungry crowd with this dairy-free lasagna? We recommend making a crunchy side salad and letting this steaming hot casserole cool for a bit before serving to avoid any burnt tongues (we’ve all been there).

Have you tried making vegan lasagna before and which ingredients did you use? If you followed our recipe, we’d love to read about it in the comments below. Feel to leave a rating, Pin the lasagna here or tag us on Instagram – we’d love to see your creations.

top view of baked vegan lasagna with one piece cut out on put in a bowl

Best Healthy Dairy-Free Lasagna

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This is the best creamy dairy-free lasagna with vegan ragù and a high-protein cheese sauce! Secretly healthy and veggie-rich, this budget-friendly family dinner is actually easy to follow and totally customizable. Try this scrumptious meatless meal (no tofu required), kids love it! 

Ingredients

For the Vegan Ragù

  • 2 15-oz jars marinara sauce (840 ml total)
  • 4 cups finely chopped veggies (zucchini, eggplant, carrot, bell pepper, mushrooms)
  • 1 chopped onion
  • Salt, pepper, oregano, basil to taste

Instructions

Make the Ragù

  1. Heat a large pot over medium and add your finely chopped vegetables along with the onion. Sauté in some vegetable broth until everything is slightly soft, then add the marinara sauce. Mix with a spoon and season the ragù to taste, then set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (200 °C) and get a baking dish.
  3. If you’re using our homemade low-fat vegan cheese sauce and almond ricotta, it’s now time to make these following our recipes. Otherwise, get your pre-made vegan ricotta and sauce because it’s time for layering!

Assemble the Lasagna

  1. Get your baking dish and let’s put this baby together! Using a large spoon or ladle, assemble the vegan lasagna in this way: Ragù, cheese sauce (about 40% of the amount you’re using), lasagna sheets, spinach ricotta mixture, lasagna sheets, ragù, lasagna sheets, ragù and finish everything off with the rest of your cheese sauce.
  2. Cover the baking dish with a lid or foil, place into the oven and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 5 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese turns slightly brown. Watch closely so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Finally, remove the baking dish from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before cutting.

Notes

    • You can store any leftover lasagna in the baking dish covered in foil or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
    • We used canned tomato sauce for convenience, but you can easily make your own with canned tomatoes, salt, pepper and Italian herbs.
    • Use your favorite vegetables for the ragù; it can be anything from zucchini, eggplant, or carrot to bell pepper and mushrooms. If you or your family doesn’t love the vegetable texture, you can blend the vegetables into the tomato sauce with an immersion blender.
    • For a more meaty and higher protein version, you can use either red lentils or textured vegetable protein in the ragù.
    • If you’re short on time, pre-boil the lasagna sheets.
    • You can add more wholesome fat to the cheese sauce by adding hemp seeds or turn it a tad more yellow by adding turmeric, which is also high in antioxidants.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 474Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 894mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 18gSugar: 14gProtein: 25g

    Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed. Just focus on whole plant-based foods and eat until satiety!

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

    Alena enjoying a bowl of fresh plant-based food and coffe in a restaurant
    Alena Schowalter is a Certified Vegan Nutritionist (CPD) who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with her husband, she founded nutriciously in 2015 and has been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages towards a healthy plant-based diet. She’s received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy and social work. Alena enjoys discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature and creating new recipes.
    dark grey spotted bowl with a variety of vegetables next to small bottle of green smoothie isolated on light background

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    10 thoughts on “Best Dairy-Free Lasagna with Vegan Ragù (Creamy & Healthy)”

      • Hi Corey,
        thanks for the (mostly) positive feedback! Yeah, there’s sometimes the issue with our popups and cookies I believe… we’ll soon change up some plugins which hopefully resolves this. When I’m logged in, I don’t see any popups but I want this to be a pleasant experience for our readers, too ;)
        Stick with us!
        Best,
        Alena

        Reply
    1. Looks good! :)
      For your cashew cheese – do you soak the cashews? And also… do you really put a *whole tablespoon* of salt in it??

      Reply
      • I doubled the recipe and used just under a tablespoon of salt, it was plenty salty like this. I recommend starting with a teaspoon and after mixing adjust salt to taste. I have a vitamin and didn’t soak my cashews, but if you don’t have a high-speed blender I would recommend it.

        Reply
        • Hey Dana and Andrea,
          thank you soooo much for asking about the salt! We found this a bit questionable as well so we made the lasagna again and now agree that 1 tsp is definitely the way to go ;)
          Sorry for the confusion! This also depends on how used to salt you are, I assume.
          I second Andrea on the soaking issue – just 10 minutes of soaking in hot water while preparing the rest of the recipe could be enough for your blender if you forgot to do so hours before making the lasagna.
          Feel free to let us know how it turned out and also rate the recipe if you like it ♡
          Warm wishes,
          Alena

          Reply
    2. Has anyone made this yet? Do you think it would freeze well. I would like to make a double batch if I’m putting all this work into it and save one for later. It looks delicious and sounds even better!

      Reply
      • Hey Andrea,
        to be honest – we never tried freezing it because the lasagna is gone in 1-2 days here! I imagine it would work, though. Please let us know if you tried :)
        Hugs,
        Alena

        Reply
    3. This definitely didn’t disappoint! Finally, my kids ate their veggies without complaining… and the cashew cheese sauce was super delicious.
      Thanks

      Reply
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      thanks for this site.

      Reply

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