Healthy and Hearty Italian-Style Vegan Eggplant Lasagna
Ladies and gentlemen, gather around the dinner table and indulge in the marvel that is Eggplant Lasagna, vegan style! Delight your palate and nourish your body with this mouth-watering gluten-free, dairy-free, and grain-free vegan delicacy. At long last, a vegan-friendly meal that doesn’t lack in flavor or satisfaction.
As you prepare to dig into this recipe, take a moment to appreciate the star of this meal: the eggplant, one of nature’s most versatile vegetables. This little purple fruit has a tender texture when cooked, which makes it an ideal replacement for meat. Not only is it incredibly high in fiber and low in calories, but eggplants are also known to fight inflammation in the body.
But what sets this dish apart from others is not just the benefits of eggplant or the unique blend of herbs and spices, but it’s vegan! That means you can feast without sacrificing the ethical treatment of our animal friends. It’s not science fiction; it’s deliciously compassionate.
So turn up the heat and get ready to explore a new world of taste sensations that will make even the most veteran meat-eater salivate! I guarantee that both carnivores and herbivores alike will come back for seconds, so make sure you’ve got enough ingredients on hand to satisfy your taste buds. Without further ado, let’s dive into the best vegan eggplant lasagna recipe out there.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you looking for a hearty and delicious meal that is both vegan and gluten-free? If so, then you’ll love this Vegan Eggplant Lasagna Recipe! Not only is it free of animal products, but it also contains no gluten or grains, making it a perfect option for those with dietary restrictions.
But don’t think that just because it’s vegan and gluten-free, that it lacks in flavor. This eggplant lasagna is packed with savory goodness, including layers of roasted eggplant, kale spinach filling, and a rich tomato sauce.
What’s great about this recipe is that the eggplant slices are breaded and roasted to perfection rather than being fried, making it a healthier option than traditional breaded eggplant parmigiana. Plus, there’s no cottage cheese or milk products involved in this recipe like in traditional lasagne recipes.
Whether you are a dedicated vegan or just looking to incorporate more plant-based options into your diet, this Vegan Eggplant Lasagna Recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings for a hearty meal. So go ahead and give it a try- we guarantee you won’t be able to resist this delicious vegan twist on a classic Italian dish.
Before you start preparing the vegan eggplant lasagna, gather all the necessary ingredients. You don’t want to be midway and realize you are suddenly missing something. The ingredients for this recipe are easy to find and grab at your local grocery store. Here is the list of what you’ll need:
Select two large eggplants that are firm, unblemished, and purple in color while buying. They should be big enough to cut lengthwise and make lasagna stacks.
You’ll need 1 cup of olive oil – divided 1tbsp olive oil for roasting the eggplants + 2 tbsp olive oil for making cashew cheese + 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil for assembling the lasagna.
This recipe calls for 12 ounces of lasagna noodles, about one box. Use gluten-free noodles if you’re on a gluten-free or low carb vegan diet.
For this recipe, I suggest using a good quality tomato sauce made from fresh tomatoes. But if that is not available, go for canned crushed tomatoes or any other tomato-based pasta sauce.
The creaminess of this lasagna comes from the cashew cheese we will make. To create the perfect cheesy texture, ensure you get raw unsalted cashews.
Fresh garlic adds that perfect savory flavor to your vegan eggplant lasagna.
Kale adds a unique texture to your dish plus provides antioxidants and nutrients.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be an excellent addition to any dish to add some acidity and tangy taste.
Salt and Pepper
Every flavorful dish requires salt and pepper to taste.
The Recipe How-To
Now that we have gathered all the ingredients needed, let’s head straight to where the magic happens – preparing the vegan eggplant lasagna!
Prepping the Eggplants
First thing first is to get the eggplants ready. Slice 2 large eggplants lengthwise, approximately 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle them with salt and set in a colander to drain for at least 30 minutes.
Making the Tomato Sauce
While waiting for the eggplants to drain, it’s time to make the tomato sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Once heated, add a medium-sized diced onion and cook until translucent. Add 3 cloves of minced garlic and cook for another minute or until fragrant.
Pour one 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes and 1/2 cup of water into the pan with onions and garlic. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let it simmer uncovered for about 15-20 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Making the Vegan Ricotta Cheese
For the vegan ricotta cheese filling, prepare a food processor or blender. Add in one batch of raw cashews, 1/4 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Pulse until smooth.
Next, add kale leaves (roughly chopped), salt (to taste), garlic powder (to taste) and pulse again until just combined.
Assembling the Lasagna
Preheat oven to 375°F. Get a baking dish (approximately 9×13 inch) and grease it lightly with olive oil. Take sliced eggplants out from colander and them dry with paper towels or kitchen cloth.
Line up half of the eggplant slices neatly on your greased baking dish. Spread some tomato sauce over each slice followed by dollops of vegan ricotta cheese filling.
Add a layer of baby spinach leaves over ricotta cheese filling and spread another layer of tomato sauce on top.
Layer on more eggplant slices followed by ricotta cheese, spinach and tomato sauce. Top it off with one more layer of eggplant slices before spreading any remaining tomato sauce over it.
Next, sprinkle some vegan shredded cheese over the top if you like. Cover with foil wrap tightly around edges.
Baking in The Oven
Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until bubbly hot throughout. Take off foil wrap from the baking dish then return to oven for an additional ten minutes until top is browned.
Once done, remove from oven and let it cool down for at least ten minutes before slicing them into lasagna stacks.
Voila! Your delicious gluten-free vegan eggplant lasagna is ready to be served!
Substitutions and Variations
Hello, my vegan lasagna-loving friends! Are you tired of making the same version of the classic eggplant lasagna? Don’t worry, I got you covered! Here are some substitutions and variations that you can try to switch things up:
– For a gluten-free version of this recipe, simply swap out regular pasta noodles with gluten-free or vegetable-based lasagna noodles.
– If you’re avoiding grains altogether, try using thinly sliced eggplant as a replacement for lasagna noodles. This adds a nice texture and flavor to your dish while still keeping it low-carb and gluten-free.
– Don’t have kale on hand? Try swapping it out for spinach or arugula. These leafy greens add a fresh, vibrant taste to the dish and are packed with nutrients.
– If cashews aren’t your thing, substitute them with almonds or walnuts in the recipe. They will still give your dish a smooth creaminess without going off-taste.
– You can also experiment with different types of vegan cheese substitutes such as Miyoko’s mozzarella or Daiya shreds to enhance the flavor profile of your dish.
– For added protein, layer in diced veggies such as mushrooms or lentils between each layer of lasagna.
– And if you’re looking for something completely different, try adding roasted eggplant and zucchini into your classic veggie lasagna. This creates a delicious “breaded eggplant parmigiana” twist that is bound to impress!
Remember, these are just some ideas. Don’t be afraid to get creative and switch up the recipe ingredients to suit your taste buds. Enjoy your new innovative twists on this vegan eggplant lasagna recipe!
Serving and Pairing
When it comes to serving and pairing, this vegan eggplant lasagna recipe offers endless possibilities. You can serve it with a simple side salad or garlic bread for a complete meal. This dish is perfect for a family dinner or any special occasion that calls for an impressive and tasty meal.
This vegan eggplant lasagna recipe also pairs well with different types of wine, such as a full-bodied red wine like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz. If you prefer white wine, try pairing it with Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Chardonnay.
If you’re looking to keep things non-alcoholic, pair this eggplant lasagna with ice-cold lemonade or your favorite type of iced tea. Its rich flavors will complement anything from a light refreshment to a bold beverage.
For a more indulgent experience, top the vegan eggplant lasagna with some vegan parmesan cheese or sprinkle some fresh basil leaves on top for an extra touch of savory flavor.
And if you have leftovers from this dish, you can reheat them in the oven, covered with aluminum foil or microwave them until hot. Make sure to store any leftover lasagna in the fridge in an airtight container for optimal freshness.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Preparing for a party can be stressful, which is why it’s a great idea to make this Vegan Eggplant Lasagna recipe ahead of time. You can prepare the dish up to 24 hours in advance and store it in your refrigerator. This will not only reduce your stress levels but also enhance the flavor.
To store the lasagna, cover it securely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil before putting it into the fridge. The airtight seal helps retain moisture and flavors. When you’re ready to serve it, take it out of the fridge and let it stand for half an hour at room temperature before reheating.
You can reheat lasagna in either an oven or microwave, depending on your preference. To warm up in the oven, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and put the refrigerated lasagna on a baking sheet(s). Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes, or until heated through. If you prefer crispy edges, remove the aluminum foil during the last ten minutes of baking.
To reheat in the microwave, place individual portions on microwavable plates and cover them loosely with microwave-safe wraps or paper towels. Microwave on high for one to two minutes per serving, or until hot all the way through.
Lasagna can be stored in your freezer for up to three months! To freeze lasagna, transfer portions that you have sliced into freezer-safe containers or bags. Make sure you label them properly with the date of preparation so you don’t forget how long they’ve been there. Before reheating from frozen, move them to your refrigerator and allow them to thaw overnight first. You may then follow one of the above reheating instructions.
One benefit of freezing lasagna is that it often tastes much better after reheating than before being frozen! Reheated sauces allow flavors to sink deep into components like noodles and veggies. By cooking twice according to different recipes’ requirements – once before freezing and again after defrosting – any lasagna dish like this Vegan Eggplant Lasagne Recipe can be mouthwatering for an even longer period!
Tips for Perfect Results
As any experienced cook knows, mastering a recipe takes both practice and patience. However, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you achieve perfect results every time. Here are some suggestions to make sure your vegan eggplant lasagna is a hit:
Firstly, make sure you slice the eggplants crosswise at around 1/4 inch thick. This thickness allows the eggplant to cook evenly and maintain its texture throughout the lasagna. Secondly, sprinkle a pinch of salt over the sliced eggplant and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping it dry. This helps remove any excess bitterness.
Another important step to achieving perfect results is to be mindful of not over-salting your tomato sauce. It’s best to start with a small amount of salt and pepper, taste it as you go along, and adjust accordingly. You don’t want to overpower the other flavors in the dish.
When making the cashew cheese filling, it’s essential to soak raw cashews for at least 4 hours beforehand to ensure they blend smoothly into a creamy consistency. If you’re short on time, try boiling them in water for 15-20 minutes instead.
Lastly, when layering your lasagna, start with a thin layer of tomato sauce at the bottom of your baking dish. This ensures that the noodles won’t stick or burn onto the bottom of the dish while baking. Also, be generous with your eggplant and spinach vegan lasagna stacks by ensuring there are two rows. This creates layers upon layers of hearty flavor.
Keep these tips in mind when preparing your vegan eggplant lasagna recipe and you’ll be surprised by how delicious and easy it can be to prepare!
In conclusion, this vegan eggplant lasagna recipe is a perfect comfort food that is both delicious and healthy. It’s ideal for those who are looking for gluten-free or low-carb options without compromising on flavor. Plus, it’s a great way to get more veggies into your diet!
With the right ingredients and proper cooking techniques, you can whip up a robust, flavorful vegan lasagna that will remind you of traditional, meat-filled dishes. Whether you’re serving it to vegans, vegetarians or omnivores, this meal will leave everyone wanting more.
So go ahead and experiment with different vegetable variations or layering options. Let your creativity take over and make this dish your own. Lastly, don’t hesitate to share your homemade creation with family and friends and invite them on this amazing plant-based journey!
In short, with this eggplant lasagna recipe in hand, you can impress anyone with your culinary skills while nourishing yourself inside out!
Vegan Eggplant Lasagna Recipe
- 2 eggplants
- 2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
- 2 cups raw cashews
- 7 cups water
- 2 tablespoons vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon italian seasoning
- 3 bunches kale
- 23 ounces pasta sauce
- 2 tablespoons salt
- Cashew "Cheese" Filling.
- Soak 2 cups raw cashews in 6 cups of water for at least 24 hours. Rinse and drain. Using your food processor or blender, blend the remaining cup of water with the soaked and drained cashews until you reach the consistency of ricotta cheese. Add more water if necessary. Add to the cashew mixture the 2 Tbls. of vinegar,1/2 teaspoons black pepper, 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 Tbls. Italian seasoning. Add more seasonings to taste. Meanwhile, bring a very large stockpot full of water to boil. When water is boiling add 3 bunches of rinsed kale greens (be sure take off the twist ties!) Completely submerse the greens in the water. Blanche kale greens for 5 minutes or until bright green and soft. Drain greens and (do not burn yourself!) cut greens off tough stems and chop into small pieces. Squeeze out excess water with your hands (there will be quite a bit). Add chopped kale greens to the cashew mixture. Stir together.
- Eggplant "Noodles".
- Cut the ends off of 2 large eggplant. Slice into at least 10 slices total. If you wind up with more, that is great too! Rub the 2 Tbls. of salt onto the eggplant slices and let set in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours. (This will draw some of the moisture out of the eggplant. ) After your eggplant slices have sat for a few hours, wash off the salt and pat dry with towels. Coat eggplant slices with melted coconut oil or olive oil. Put on a baking sheet or two and bake in a 400 degree oven for 35 - 45 minutes or until fork soft.
- Assembling the lasagna.
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In an 8 x 10 pan, spoon out a bit of the pasta sauce into the pan. Then layer 5 eggplant slices. (You may have to cut the pieces to make them fit.) Layer half of the cashew /kale mixture over the eggplant slices. Spoon half of the remaining pasta sauce over the cashew/kale mixture. Then layer the remaining eggplant slices. Layer the remaining cashew/kale mixture. Spoon the remaining pasta sauce on top. Cover with foil or a silicone cover and bake @ 350 degrees for 35- 45 minutes or until bubbly. Enjoy!
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Jolo is a talented chef and food blogger with a passion for vegan and Caribbean flavors. From savory vegetarian dishes to tropical smoothies, Jolo’s Kitchen has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for meat-free meals or creative Caribbean recipes, Jolo’s Kitchen is the perfect place for you.