Looking for a dairy free lasagna? Well, I got you covered with this vegan gluten-free lasagna recipe. With 2 dairy-free cheese options to work with ingredients, you have at home. And if you are feeling extra cheesy go ahead and add both! Our recipe has the rich flavors of classic lasagna and is the ultimate comfort food for your whole family to enjoy
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- 🍽️Creating a Dairy Free Lasagna
- 👪Why Your Family Will Love This Lasagna
- 🥒Will picky eaters like this
- ⏲️ Time-Saving Tip
- 🧠Brain Benefits
- 💡Recipe Tips: Best Dairy Free Lasagna
- 👩🏽🍳Step-by-Step Instructions
- 🥬Substitutions & Varaitions
- 🥡Storaging Dairy-Free Lasagna
- 🥣More easy vegan dinner recipes:
- 📖 Recipe
- Information Source
Hello there, busy moms! Today we're rolling up our sleeves and diving into a recipe that’s very close to my heart: gluten-free dairy free lasagna. That's right, it's our beloved traditional lasagna, but with a twist that accommodates your dairy-free diet without sacrificing taste. We're talking about layers of hearty tomato sauce and delicious dairy-free cheese alternatives, all snuggled between tender gluten-free noodles. A bonus? This recipe is great for meal prep; you can easily whip up two lasagnas and stash one in the freezer for another day.
🍽️Creating a Dairy Free Lasagna
I've always loved lasagna. During my university days when I was working towards my PhD in Health Science, I also held a part-time job in an Italian restaurant. Every time I served up a plate of hot steamy lasagna I would savor closing time when I could order myself some!
But upon discovering my own gluten and dairy intolerances, I thought we had to say goodbye to this family favorite. Determined to keep the spirit of lasagna alive, I experimented. And boy, did that pay off! Nowadays, gluten-free vegan noodles are readily available at most grocery stores.
And let's talk about cheese - I use either a homemade oat milk cheese that adds a lovely stretchy texture, or a tofu ricotta that offers the classic ricotta taste. To get the most flavourful lasagna, I recommend making our homemade tomato sauce- the prep is minimal!
This recipe has the stamp of approval from my family and even a non-vegan, gluten-loving friend who came over on an Easter Sunday. He went back for thirds, which I took as a pretty solid sign that this recipe was a winner! And the best part? That day was one of those rare, perfect family days - sunny, relaxed, and full of laughter. Now, I won’t pretend every day is like that at our house, especially with three little boys, but it certainly was a welcome treat.
So, ready to give this a try? Let's bring this vegan gluten-free lasagna recipe to life and make your kitchen the heart of your home.
👪Why Your Family Will Love This Lasagna
What's not to love about a hearty, filling lasagna that checks all the boxes for a wholesome meal? As a busy mom, I completely understand the need for dishes that are quick, easy, yet satisfying. Here's why you'll adore this vegan gluten free lasagna:
- Speedy & Simple: This dairy-free option doesn't require you to be a master chef. With clear, easy steps, you can whip up a scrumptious dish in no time.
- Versatile: Two cheese options cater to different taste buds and dietary preferences in the family.
- Meal Prep Friendly: Prepare this ahead of time and enjoy a stress-free dinner, even on busy weeknights.
- Nutrition-packed: Loaded with protein from lentils and tofu, it's a meal you can feel good about serving.
🥒Will picky eaters like this
Navigating the culinary landscape with a picky eater can be quite an adventure. Trust me, I've been there with all 3 of my children going through a picker phase of eating! But this gluten-free vegan lasagna recipe has been a surprising hit, even with my most discerning critic. Here are some reasons your picky eater might fall for this dish:
- Familiar format: Kids generally love pasta, and lasagna isn't a far stretch from beloved spaghetti or mac 'n cheese.
- Hidden Nutrition: Lentils provide a meaty texture, and they're stealthily packed with plant-based protein. It's a win-win for parents!
- Cheesy Goodness: The vegan cheese sauce is creamy and delectable, perfect for pleasing the cheese lovers in your family.
Still not convinced? Here are a few strategies that have worked for me:
- Serve it with favorites: I always pair the lasagna with another food they love. It's the perfect nudge they need to try something new and helps eliminate the dinner-time battle of wanting them to eat.
- Deconstruct it: Sometimes, the combination of flavors and textures can seem overwhelming. When this happened with my youngest, I served the lasagna components separately. He loved dipping noodles in the lentil sauce and cheese sauce.
- Involve them in the process: I've found that my picky eaters are often more willing to try foods they've helped prepare. Letting them help layer the lasagna or blend the cheese sauce not only makes cooking fun but also makes them proud of their creation, encouraging them to give it a try.
Remember, every child is different, and it's okay if they need time to warm up to new flavors and textures. Stay patient, keep offering a variety of foods, and most importantly, keep meal times joyful and stress-free. You've got this, supermoms!
⏲️ Time-Saving Tip
- Meal Prep: Makes great make-ahead meals! Assemble your lasagna but don't bake it. Then cover it, and refrigerate for up to 2 days, baking it when you are ready to eat. You can even freeze it for up to 3 months (though, if you're using tofu ricotta, I'd advise against freezing).
- Repurpose leftovers: If you have leftover lentils or want to meal prep, use the lentils to make this delicious spiced lentil recipe or this Shepherd's pie recipe.
- Make-ahead Sauces: To save precious time, consider preparing your sauces in advance and keep them refrigerated. Then, all you need to do is assemble and bake your lasagna when you're ready.
- Store Bought Sauce: In a pinch? Don't hesitate to use a high-quality store-bought tomato sauce. Life is all about balance, and sometimes that means taking the convenient route!
This easy dairy free lasagna isn't just a hit with the taste buds, it's also nourishing for the brain. Here are some of the main reasons:
- Lentils: These legumes are an excellent source of protein and fiber, both of which help to regulate blood sugar levels and thus, promote brain health (1). Lentils also contain a significant amount of folate, a B vitamin that's vital for brain function (2).
- Tomatoes: They are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been linked to the protection of the brain against inflammation and oxidative stress, which can contribute to neurodegenerative disorders (3).
- Oats: Found in the oat milk used in the cheese sauce, oats are a good source of iron, which is critical for brain development and function (4).
As a neuroscientist, I am passionate about the connection between the foods we eat and their impact on our brain health. This vegan gluten free lasagna is a recipe you can feel good about serving to your family, knowing that it's nurturing their bodies and their brains.
- Gluten-Free Lasagna Noodles (Oven Ready): Here are some brands I have tried:
- BARILLA Gluten Free Oven-Ready Lasagne: this is my favorite brand to use and gives great results. It cooks quickly and has a great texture with no need to boil noodles.
- Le Veneziane Gluten Free Lasagne Sheets: Another great brand to try with good results.
- Jovial Organic Brown Rice Lasagna: I love this brand and its eco-friendly packaging. I find the noodles turn out a bit more al dente so if you use this brand add a bit more water to the sauce and increase the cooking time.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: A staple in my kitchen, making our sauce rich and flavorful.
- Fresh Roma Tomatoes: These are my go-to. I enjoy the burst of tangy freshness they add to the sauce.
- Canned Crushed Tomatoes: They thicken the mixture and deepen the flavor profile beautifully.
- Brown Lentils: Brown or French lentils are my choices for this dish. I prefer canned ones for convenience. They add a meaty texture and are an excellent source of plant-based protein. Remember, red lentils won't work as well here.
- Italian Seasoning, Sugar, Smoked Paprika, Salt: A little smokiness, a hint of sweetness, and a savory balance – it's a blend that has never let me down.
Dair-Free cheese ingredients:
- Vegan Cheese Sauce (Option 1): I love this homemade sauce for its comforting, cheesy stretchiness.
- Oat Milk: I've found oat milk provides a creamier, thicker texture compared to other plant-based milk.
- Garlic: I've always been a fan of fresh garlic for its robust flavor. But if you're going for something milder, garlic powder will do just fine.
- Nutritional Yeast: I swear by Braggs or Bobs Red Mill – it’s our ticket to a cheesy flavor without the dairy.
- Tapioca: A handy thickener that gives our sauce the perfect consistency.
- Salt: A dash of salt to balance everything out.
- Tofu Ricotta Cheese (Option 2): This is a lighter alternative to regular ricotta, adding a creamy, slightly tangy layer to our lasagna. Plus, it's a fantastic way to sneak in some more protein. Find the recipe and ingredient list here.
When making this dairy free lasagna version feel free to switch between the two cheese options or even use both, depending on your mood. Both bring a unique and delightful flavor and texture to the lasagna. It's all about having fun and playing around in the kitchen.
Both vegan recipes use simple ingredients and can be used for other plant-based recipes, like these delicious stuffed pasta shells!
💡Recipe Tips: Best Dairy Free Lasagna
- Don't Overlap Your Noodles: When layering your lasagna, ensure that your oven-ready noodles don't overlap. Overlapping can lead to undercooked sections.
- Saucy Secret: Your tomato or marinara sauce should be slightly watery. This extra moisture is essential for properly cooking your oven-ready noodles. If the sauce is too thick, your noodles might not cook all the way through.
- Cheese Sauce Thickness: One trick I've learned over time is to wait for the cheese sauce to start pulling away from the sides of the pan. This indicates it has thickened just right. Remember to keep stirring as it cooks, we don't want any lumps or burnt bits in our creamy, dreamy cheese sauce!
- Patience Pays Off: Allow the lasagna to rest for at least 15 minutes after baking. This gives the lasagna time to settle and makes it much easier to cut into neat slices.
- Cookware counts: Don't overlook the importance of using a good quality oven-safe dish for your lasagna. The Spruce Eats has a good guide on picking your lasagna baking dish.
- Avoid soggy lasagna: Here are a few tips to help prevent this:
- Pre-cook your veggies
- Drain your tomatoes
- Use oven-ready noodles
- Rest your lasagna
Step 1: Preheat and sauté:
Kick things off by preheating your oven to 350°F. In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in some olive oil over medium-high heat. Keep it going until the onions are soft and translucent, which usually takes about 2-3 minutes. Now, toss in the garlic, spices, and sugar, cooking for another 2 minutes.
Pro tip: Make sure your pan is hot before you add the onions for a perfect sauté.
Step 2: Simmer the sauce
Add the fresh and crushed tomatoes, lentils, and water. Stir everything until it's well mixed, then bring it to a gentle boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 5 more minutes.
Pro tip: Simmering allows the flavors to develop and meld together, creating a deeper, richer taste. To allow the noodles to cook properly you want a slightly watery sauce.
Step 3: Whip up the vegan cheese sauce
If you're opting for the vegan cheese sauce (option 1), add all its ingredients to a food processor or Vitamix. Then blend until well-mixed.
Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan, and cook it on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until it starts to thicken and pull away from the bottom of the pan. Remember to keep stirring!
Pro tip: Make sure your blender is on a low setting at first to avoid any spills or splashes.
Step 4: Prep the vegan ricotta
If you're using the tofu ricotta cheese (option 2), follow the recipe link in the ingredients list.
Pro tip: Make sure to press your tofu before use to remove excess moisture. It results in a firmer, creamier ricotta.
Step 5: Assemble
Now comes the fun part - assembling the dairy free lasagna. Spread about ½ cup of the lentil pasta sauce at the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Lay down a single layer of lasagna noodles, ensuring they aren't touching. Add another ½ cup of lentil sauce, followed by a ¼ cup of cheese sauce then another payer of noodles. Repeat this layering process until you're close to the top of the dish. Leave about an inch from the top layer to the top of the dish for noodle expansion.
Pro tip: If using both cheese options, alternate between layers for variety in texture and flavor.
Step 6: Bake
Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. If you're a fan of a golden-brown top, remove the foil and broil for 2 minutes. Once cooked, let the lasagna rest for 10 minutes to set before cutting.
There you have it! This an easy-to-follow guide that even cooking novices can confidently navigate. Happy cooking, everyone!
🥬Substitutions & Varaitions
Our dairy free lasagna recipe is incredibly adaptable to different tastes and dietary needs. Here are some alternative ingredients you can try:
- Lasagna Noodles: If you can't find gluten-free noodles or if you're not avoiding gluten, you can certainly use regular lasagna noodles. For a lighter, low-carb option, zucchini noodles work wonderfully. You can follow the tips in this recipe for making vegan zucchini lasagna recipe.
- Brown Lentils: If lentils aren't your favorite, you could substitute them with mushrooms for a meaty texture. Just be sure to adjust the water to compensate for the mushrooms.
- Oat Milk: Any plant-based milk can be used in place of oat milk in the cheese sauce. Almond, soy, or even cashew milk could work well.
- Tofu Ricotta: If you're not a fan of tofu or can't find it, you could make cashew ricotta. It's creamy, tangy, and incredibly delicious.
- Vegetable Lasagna: You can load up your lasagna with vegetables like bell peppers, spinach, or eggplant. Just sauté them before adding to the layers. Fresh spinach in particular adds a burst of color and an extra serving of veggies.
- White Sauce Lasagna: If you want to switch things up, consider using a vegan white sauce (bechamel) instead of tomato sauce. This adds a rich creaminess that's hard to resist.
- Vegan cheese: You can also opt for using a store-bought vegan parmesan, vegan mozzarella, or cashew cheese. If you do please leave a comment and let us know how it went!
🥡Storaging Dairy-Free Lasagna
Fridge: Leftover lasagna can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Be sure to cover it tightly with plastic wrap or transfer it to an airtight container to maintain its freshness.
Freezer: This lasagna freezes very well if you use vegan cheese option 1 (the plant-based cheese)! Once cooled, you can freeze the whole lasagna or individual slices in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. If you use tofu ricotta cheese, be aware that the texture might change slightly after freezing and thawing.
Rewarming: To reheat, thaw the lasagna in the refrigerator overnight if frozen, then reheat in a preheated oven at 350°F for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. For individual portions, you could also reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.
There are quite a few great brands out there offering gluten-free lasagna noodles. Here are my top picks:
-BARILLA Gluten Free Oven-Ready Lasagne: This is my favorite brand to use and gives great results. It cooks quickly and has a great texture. You can't go wrong with Barilla!
-Le Veneziane Gluten Free Lasagne Sheets: If you want to switch things up a bit, give Le Veneziane a try. The pasta holds up well in lasagna, providing a nice bite that isn't always easy to achieve with gluten-free pasta.
-Jovial Organic Brown Rice Lasagna: I love this brand for its commitment to organic ingredients and eco-friendly packaging. The brown rice lasagna noodles have a slightly more al dente texture, so if you're using this brand, you might want to add a bit more water to your sauce and increase the cooking time to ensure the noodles fully soften.
One common issue with veggie lasagna can be excess moisture from the vegetables leading to a soggy lasagna. Here are a few tips to help prevent this:
-Pre-cook your veggies: One way to combat this is to sauté your veggies before adding them to your lasagna. This will help to remove some of their water content.
-Drain your tomatoes: If you're using canned tomatoes, be sure to drain them well to remove extra juice.
-Use oven-ready noodles: Oven-ready noodles absorb more moisture than regular lasagna noodles. This could help to keep your lasagna from getting too wet.
Rest your lasagna: Once your lasagna is cooked, let it rest for at least 15-20 minutes before slicing it. This allows the juices to redistribute and the lasagna to set, helping to prevent sogginess.
🥣More easy vegan dinner recipes:
Thanks for reading. And I hope you enjoyed this easy vegan gluten free lasagna! If you are interested in more family recipes make sure to check out these
Until next time, tchau
Easy Dairy-Free Lasagna, 2 Vegan Cheese Options (Gltuen-Free)
- 1 package gluten free lasagna noddles oven ready
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 Roma tomatoes diced
- 1 can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup water
- 2 cans brown lentils
- 2 tablespoon italian seasoning
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Vegan cheese sauce (option1)
- 2 cups oat milk
- 2 cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoon tapioca
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Tofu ricotta cheese (option 2)
- 2 cups Tofu ricotta
- Set your oven to 350. In a large saucepan, sauté the onions in some olive oil over medium-high heat. Keep it going until the onions are soft and translucent, which usually takes about 2-3 minutes.
- Now, toss in the garlic, spices, and sugar, cooking for another 2 minutes.
- Add the fresh and crushed tomatoes, lentils, and water. Stir everything until it's well mixed, then bring it to a gentle boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 5 more minutes.
Make your vegan cheese (option 1)
- Meanwhile, into a blender add in all the ingredients for the cheese sauce. Blend until well mixed.
- Pour the cheese mixture into a medium saucepan and cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. The cheese sauce will start to thicken and will be ready once it starts to come away from the bottom of the pan. Make sure to keep mixing.
Making the tofu ricotta
- If you decide to use option 2 then head over the link in the ingredients list to make it.
Assemble and bake
- Assemble the lasagna. To an oven-safe dish (preferably 9x13) add about ½ cup of the lentil sauce to the bottom of the pan. Next, add a layer of your oven-ready noodles making sure they are not touching. Then add another ½ cup of lentil sauce followed by a ¼ cup of the cheese sauce. Repeat this process until you reach the top of the pan. Make sure to leave about an inch as the noddles will expand.
- Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and broil for 2 minutes if you want the top layer to get golden brown.
- Mandal, A. (2019). Lentils: Health Benefits and Nutritional Information. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/297638
- Richardson, D. (2019). Nutrition and the brain: what advice should we give? Nutrition Bulletin, 44(3), 214-228.
- Chen, J., Song, Y., Zhang, L. (2013). Tomatoes and Cardiovascular Health. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 53(2), 165-175.
- Waldmann, A., Koschizke, J. W., Leitzmann, C., & Hahn, A. (2004). Dietary iron intake and iron status of German female vegans: results of the German vegan study. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism, 48(2), 103-108.