My mums traditional lasagna is legendary within our family circle. It involves a slow cooked ragu that must be prepared the day before the lasagna is assembled. There’s a homemade, perfect white sauce. The top is practically drowned in grated cheese. It’s a culinary piece of perfection. I’ll try to put it in perspective… before my transition to a cruelty free lifestyle, I used to refuse to order lasagna from any restaurant we visited because I knew it wouldn’t be up to par with my mums masterpiece. And now she’s created something else: a rich, cheesy, creamy vegan lasagna.
Obviously, I can no longer partake in the original masterpiece. I’ll have to leave my portion to my brother. He’ll no doubt devour it with zero regret and added delight at getting extra. However, my mum (awesome as she is – and she’s probably reading this so, hi mum! Yes, awesome.) decided to make a vegan one instead when we went around for dinner one day.
And, oh my – it was creamy. It was oh so cheesy. It was rich and comforting and everything you want from what I like to call “soul food”.However it also must have cost a fortune because when she sent me the recipe my little frugal eyes were metaphorically watering. 750g of vegan cheese. Vegan cheese is expensive and not something I include in my food shop – or food intake – on a regular basis. Aside from the cost, it’s also a processed food and therefore something I class as a luxury. That means I choose to indulge occasionally but otherwise enjoy non-processed foods.
The creamy vegan lasagna challenge
And so, I set myself a challenge. You knew it was coming! Could I create something similar, but for a lower price per serving and something that was a bit more nutritionally balanced?
Yes, yes this girl can do that. I was nervous as heck because my mum’s cooking is not to be messed with. She’s a genius. But, tamper I did! So, I took her original recipe and messed with it! I took inspiration from the cheesy success that was my crustless vegan quiches. I made a tofu-based cheese sauce with some Mori-Nu Silken Firm Tofu for added protein, added nutritional yeast for vital vitamins and reduced the amount of cheese so that the impact on my weekly food budget was smaller, and the saturated fat content reduced. This is the kind of tofu that’s a bit jiggly! It needs to be opened carefully over a sink – but it’s also perfect for blending into this kind of sauce!
What was the result?
The result was what you can see here! A divine piece of dinner perfect for days when you have a bit more time and want something a bit more special. It does take an hour, but most of that is hands off time whilst your lovely creamy vegan lasagna bakes in the oven. Time to prepare a quick salad, pour yourself a glass of wine (or is that just me?) and maybe
tackle the washing up from the day start loading the dishwasher.
I’ve said it serves 3-4 – in our house, it’s 3. If you have smaller appetites or need to stretch it out, it’ll do four portions. Just serve with some extra sides such as garlic bread, steamed broccoli or even chips!
Mums Cheesy Creamy Vegan Lasagna
Luci Rebecca, Made by Luci
A simple vegan lasagna recipe that involves nothing more complex that a pan, a dish, an oven and a blende, is delightfully creamy, and yet still pretty healthy!
- Prep: 10 minutes
- Cook: 50 minutes
- Total: 1 hour
- Serves 3-4
- Calories 334 (1/3 recipe)
- 300g baby spinach
- 250g mushrooms, sliced
- 100g dairy free cream cheese
- 150g firm silken tofu (I used the Mori-Nu brand)
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 10g nutritional yeast
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2g tahini
- 5g dijon mustard
- 75ml unsweetened almond milk
- Dried lasagna sheets - whole wheat if possible (~90g)
- 1 large tomato, sliced (~100g)
- 30g dairy free strong cheese
- Grease or mist a large dish with oil. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan).
- Discard any large spinach stalks. Put a large saute pan over a low-medium heat at add a little water (enough to cover the bottom should do it). Wilt the spinach in batches by adding it to the pan, covering the pan with a lid and leaving it for a minute or two. Remove to a sieve or colander and leave to drain while you cook the remaining spinach.
- Once all the spinach is cooked, transfer it to large bowl. Stir in cream cheese, mushrooms, spices and spices. Set to one side.
- Now, make the cheese sauce. Add the tofu, milk, nutritional yeast, tahini and mustard to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Depending on the water content of your tofu, you might need to add a little water. Add at a tablespoon at a time, if needed until a thick sauce is formed.
- Time to assemble the lasagna! Pour a little of the cheese sauce over bottom of your greased dish. Now add half of the spinach and mushroom mix.
- Top this with dried lasagna sheets, then pour over more cheese sauce.
- Add the remaining spinach mixture.
- Top this with more lasagna sheets and pour over the remaining cheese sauce. Top with sliced tomato and sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Adapted from my mum's vegan lasagna recipe, whom I believe adapted it from a vegetarian recipe from Delia Smith.