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Spinach and Pesto Lasagna

Oh, man. Have you ever made it to vegan food nirvana? Well, this lasagna will take you there. Of course, you’ll have to come back, but you can always go back for seconds. It looked so good as I assembled it, I wanted to eat it right then and there. I used my previous pesto recipe as well as my “ricotta” cheese recipe that I use for the stuffed shells and vegetable lasagna. To make things easier, I made those earlier in the day. I also decided to use regular lasagna noodles instead of the no-boil variety, and I was a little weary, but not only were they easy to use, we preferred them over the no-boil ones.  I just cooked them very al dente since they will continue to cook later in the oven.

Spinach and Pesto Lasagna

Spinach and Pesto Lasagna

Spinach and Pesto Lasagna

Ingredients

  1. Sauce:
  1. 3 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
  1. 2 shallots, minced
  1. 1/4 C all purpose flour
  1. 2-1/2 C almond milk
  1. 1/2 C white wine
  1. 1/4 tsp salt
  1. 2 Tbs vegan Parmesan cheese
  1. 2 portobellos, diced
  1. “Ricotta Cheese”:
  1. 1-14oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  1. 1/3 C nutritional yeast
  1. 1 C fresh basil leaves
  1. 1 tsp garlic powder
  1. 1 tsp salt
  1. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. 2 Tbs lemon juice
  1. 1/2 to 3/4 C vegan mozzarella, shredded
  1. Pesto:
  1. 2-1/2 C fresh basil leaves
  1. 1/2 C parsley
  1. 1 C pine nuts
  1. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  1. 1/4 tsp salt
  1. 1/8 tsp black pepper
  1. 1/8 C lemon juice
  1. 1/3 C olive oil
  1. 3 Tbs vegan Parmesan cheese
  1. The rest:
  1. 2-1/2 C vegan mozzarella, shredded
  1. 4-5 C baby spinach
  1. 12 lasagna noodles

Directions

I recommend making the “ricotta” mixture and pesto earlier. To make pesto, combine the basil leaves, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Add the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese and process until well combine and smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To make the tofu mixture, combine all ingredients except the mozzarella cheese in a food processor. Process until smooth and then transfer to a bowl. Stir in the cheese and again, store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 350.

Boil the noodles until al dente–don’t have to cook them like regular pasta. While these are boiling, start the sauce: In a large saucepan, melt the margarine over medium to high heat. Add the shallots and saute for a couple of minutes. Whisk in the flour and white wine. Add the almond milk and lower heat; cook until it begins to thicken, stirring often. Add salt, portobellos, and Parmesan cheese.

Spread a ladle full of sauce on the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish.  Make sure you rinse the noodles with water to keep them separated—you may have to do this a few times throughout the process. Layer 3 noodles on the bottom of the pan, on top of the sauce. Next, add about 2-3 tablespoons of the tofu mixture onto each noodle. Do the same with the pesto. Then add a later of spinach, then sprinkle on some cheese.

Top with 3 more noodles and then another 1-2 ladles of sauce on top. Repeat layers 2 more times and then top with remaining 3 noodles, the rest of the sauce, and the cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes. For the last 5-7 minutes of baking, you can remove the foil and continue baking in order to melt the cheese on top. Let sit a couple of minutes before slicing up. Next stop: vegan food nirvana. Enjoy!

 

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