A mouthwatering Vegan Zucchini Lasagna recipe made with unprocessed, whole food plant-based ingredients. Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions and photos make this one a snap.
There's a joke in small Midwest communities: 'There's not much crime around here, but someone might break in and leave a few zucchinis in your fridge.' ? If you've been gifted with zucchinis, I say turn them into this truly awesome Vegan Zucchini Lasagna. It's packed with almond ricotta cheese, spinach and fresh basil.The only I thing I can think of that could possibly make this dish any better would be to top it with my amazing Mushroom Walnut Bolognese sauce. Or maybe layer in a little green pesto or red pesto. I'm definitely trying that next time. But for this recipe, we're going with an easy tomato sauce.
Why I Love this Vegan Lasagna Recipe
A few weeks back, we brought this vegetable lasagna to a kick-off-the-university-semester potluck a few weeks ago. Not that Hemant’s faculty colleagues are hard to please, but they gobbled this up. No one cared that it was vegan. I’m not sure anyone even noticed.
The flavors here are rich, full, fresh and balanced: tangy tomato sauce, pungent garlic, anise-flavored basil, and a vegan almond ricotta cheese that’s so damn delicious, it doesn’t register as anything but that.
And while I dig pasta as much as the next girl, it’s easy to overdo the whole noodle thing. Even compliant pastas made with brown rice, lentils, chickpeas, etc. are still processed, albeit minimally. So I love the fact that the noodles here are zucchini—a healthy whole plant food. Meaning this recipe is created from all unprocessed ingredients.
Do you have to make this vegan lasagna with zucchini? No. You could easily swap it out for more traditional (compliant) pasta if you prefer. Do you have to use spinach? No. So many fillings would work well here. It’s easy to customize this lasagna as you like.
Vegan Spinach Lasagna…or Mix it Up
I chose a mixture of spinach and basil for this recipe for a couple of reasons. First, spinach cooks up fast, and tends to be a crowd pleaser as a lasagna filling. (At least with adults.) And loading this lasagna up with fresh basil really puts it over the top. It’s dreamy paired with almond ricotta. Just dreamy.
But you could easily mix it up here. Sauteed mushrooms would be amazing. You could use extra zucchini or add summer squash. And, I could definitely imagine this lasagna with some thinly sliced, roasted fall veggies like acorn squash and caramelized onions. Since you cook the veggies ahead of time, no matter what you choose, the basic methods should still work here. The possibilities are practically endless.
How to Make Vegan Zucchini Lasagna: Step by Step
If you’ve ever made lasagna, this is exactly the same process. Except you need to make your own ‘noodles’ from zucchini. I understand this can be done with a knife, but for very even, very thin slices (this recipe calls for ⅛”) I’d definitely recommend a mandoline. Not only does it make these zucchini noodles a breeze, the ability to slice our veggies with ease and precision opens the door to innumerous creative possibilities.
You can buy whole food, plant-based compliant pasta sauce and ricotta cheese these days (see recipe notes), which is a great option if you need to speed things up. Of course, I think homemade always tastes better. If you’re making your own sauce and ricotta, you’ll want to do that first.
Once you’ve soaked your almonds, my vegan ricotta recipe takes only 5 minutes in the blender. My easy tomato sauce recipe requires only a few minutes of prep in the beginning and blending at the end, with most of the time being hands-off cooking in the Instant Pot or simmering on the stovetop.
Then, you’ll get to work on your veggie filling. Spinach and basil will cook in about 10 minutes—even faster if you use frozen spinach. Once your sauce, ricotta and veggie filling are ready, you’re ready to put it all together.
Follow these photos and step-by-step instructions for details on how to make this zucchini lasagna recipe:
That wasn’t so bad, was it? And the result? You’ll be hard pressed to find a dish as scrumptiously delicious—vegan or not.
If you like this whole food plant-based recipe, you might like my Roasted Eggplant Tomato Stacks, Mushroom Walnut Bolognese Sauce, 5-Minute Vegan Alfredo Sauce, Chickpea Cheese Sauce, Vegan Carbonara, and Roasted Vegetable with Pesto Pasta.
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Vegan Zucchini Lasagna
- 1 recipe Easy Instant Pot Tomato Sauce about 3 cups. Or use your favorite compliant tomato sauce (see notes)
- 1 recipe Almond Ricotta about 2 cups. Or use your favorite compliant vegan ricotta cheese (see notes)
- 3-4 medium zucchini ends trimmed off, then cut lengthwise into ⅛ inch slices (see notes)
- 2 pounds of fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped Or sub 1 ½ 10-ounce packages frozen spinach
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, chopped plus more for serving if desired, see notes
- ½ yellow onion finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 teaspoons Italian seasonings
- Optional: Vegan parmesan for topping
- If making your own almond ricotta and tomato sauce, do this first.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Heat about a tablespoon of water in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes or until soft.
- Add the spinach and saute until almost cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Add the basil and saute another 2-3 minutes. Divide roughly into thirds in the pan, and set aside.
- To a 9 x 13 baking dish, add about ½ cup of tomato sauce and spread it around the bottom of the dish to coat.
- Place your first layer of zucchini slices over the tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish, overlapping them just a little.
- Dollop ⅓ of the ricotta over the zucchini, and spread evenly. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasonings.
- Using your hands or a clean towel, squeeze out any excess liquid from the spinach and basil. Then, gently place ⅓ of the spinach & basil mixture evenly over the ricotta.
- Top the spinach & basil with another layer of zucchini and repeat 2 more times. Finish with a final (4th) layer of zucchini.
- Pour the rest of the tomato sauce over the lasagna and spread it out evenly over the dish.
- Cover and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes. Remvove the cover and bake another 10 minutes, or until the lasagna is hot and bubbly throughout and the zucchini is fork tender.
- Allow the lasagna to rest for 10-15 minutes. Top with Vegan parmesan and more basil, if desired.