Tell me, what’s better than layers of slow-cooked ragù, tender pasta sheets, and cheesy goodness, baked to bubbly, golden-brown perfection?
My Best Vegetarian Lasagna Bolognese, layered with flavor-packed vegan bolognese sauce, mozzarella cheese, a spinach-ricotta mixture, and topped with creamy béchamel sauce, is the ultimate plant-based comfort food.
This lasagna is so perfectly cheesy, saucy, and indulgent, I would eat it every day if I could. It’s loosely based on a recipe I learned in Italy, and to be honest, it could be my answer to, “What would your last meal be?”
It’s not just good, it’s downright heavenly.
Making lasagna is a labor of love, no doubt, but when you end up with (what I would say is) the world’s best plant-based lasagna, it’s totally worth the effort.
So if you’re looking for the perfect thing to serve for dinner with your favorite people – or if you’re just looking for a cooking adventure for one – you’ve come to the right place. Here’s my recipe for the world’s best vegetarian lasagna bolognese!
Reasons you’ll love this VEGETABLE lasagna:
- It’s perfectly saucy, cheesy, moist, and rich – as a lasagna should be.
- The slow-cooked vegan bolognese (with an Italian soffrito, mushrooms, lentils, and walnuts) is healthy and crazy delicious.
- There are lots of interesting textures going on, between the “meaty” bolognese, gooey mozzarella, tender pasta sheets, and the creamy béchamel sauce baked to golden-brown perfection.
- If you make the bolognese sauce ahead of time, the dish comes together pretty quickly and easily.
- Some lasagnas are full of promise, but fall short in flavor or moisture content. This is not that. This is the best vegetarian lasagna I’ve ever had, to be sure.
The ingredients for vegetable lasagne
This lasagna consists of five different layers:
- Vegan bolognese sauce
- Spinach-ricotta cheese mixture with parmigiano-reggiano
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Pasta sheets
- Cheesy béchamel sauce
Ingredients you will need for this lasagna include:
- A pot of vegan bolognese
- Fresh or frozen spinach
- Cheeses: ricotta, parmigiano-reggiano, and mozzarella
- Pasta sheets
- Flour, butter, and your choice of milk (for the roux)
- An egg
- A pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and pepper
- Black truffle oil, for drizzling
- Fresh parsley, for garnishing
The vegan bolognese sauce
Arguably, the most important part of this lasagna is the vegetarian ragù!
My vegan bolognese sauce is based on the authentic, traditional meat-based recipe I learned in Italy, but instead, it relies on minced mushrooms, toasted walnuts, and lentils to achieve the perfect “meaty” texture and flavor.
It’s so spot-on, you’ll hardly believe it’s plant-based!
CLICK HERE FOR MY VEGAN BOLOGNESE RECIPE! You’re going to need it to make this lasagna.
If you’re missing anything, here are my recommended items.
SHOP THE EQUIPMENT:
How to make the best vegetarian lasagna
First up, you need to make the vegan bolognese sauce. And if I were you, I’d make it the day before, because it takes about four hours from start to finish!
Next, prepare your spinach-ricotta mixture. In a pan over low heat, wilt the spinach. Allow it to cool, then, with your hands, squeeze out as much water from the spinach as you can. In a bowl, mix up the spinach, ricotta cheese, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, an egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, and set it aside.
Next, prepare your béchamel sauce by whisking equal parts of butter and flour together to make a roux. Slowly splash in the warmed milk, then stir in the mozzarella cheese. Set it aside.
Now for the fun part: the layering!
HOW TO LAYER VEGETABLE LASAGNA BOLOGNESE
To begin, spread a little bolognese sauce on the bottom of the pan, then add a layer of pasta sheets.
Next, spread an even layer of the spinach-ricotta mixture atop the lasagna sheets. Then, smooth over an even layer of the bolognese sauce.
Sprinkle on a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese. Then, add another layer of pasta sheets.
Continue the pattern (pasta, ricotta, bolognese, mozzarella) until the pan is almost full to the top, and you can barely fit another layer. You should be able to fit four sheets of pasta!
After the last layer of pasta sheets go on, spread on another layer of bolognese.
Then, carefully pour the béchamel sauce over the top.
Lastly, sprinkle on some more mozzarella cheese and put the lasagna into the oven, covered, until the pasta sheets are cooked through. Then bump the oven up to broil, to achieve a beautifully golden-brown top layer – with some darker browned spots too!
Before you dig in, let the lasagna cool for about 20 minutes. This will allow the layers to set, so you don’t end up with a soupy lasagna mess… But if you can’t wait, it will still taste delicious anyway!
Expert tips for making the best vegetarian lasagna:
- PLAN AHEAD: If possible, make the bolognese sauce one day ahead. That way, all that’s left to do is the easy stuff: make the spinach-ricotta mixture and the béchamel sauce, assemble the lasagna, and bake it!
- MAKE YOUR OWN PASTA: You can level-up this lasagna by making your own fresh pasta sheets. (Because the only thing better than this vegetarian lasagna is this vegetarian lasagna… made with pasta from scratch.) Use my recipe for homemade pasta – another recipe I picked up in Italy! If you make your own pasta, see the recipe notes below for baking directions.
- TRUFFLE IT: If you love truffles like I do, feel free to drizzle a little black truffle oil over the top of the lasagna, once it’s finished baking. Yum.
- LET IT SET: Before you cut into the lasagna straight out of the oven, let it sit out for about 20-30 minutes. This will ensure your layers set in place, instead of collapsing into a big, delicious mess. Don’t worry, when the time’s up, it will still be the perfect eating temperature.
Best Vegetarian Lasagna Bolognese (with Spinach-Ricotta & Béchamel)
This is the best vegetarian lasagna bolognese! It’s layered with slow-cooked vegan bolognese sauce (made with mushrooms, lentils & walnuts), mozzarella cheese, and a spinach-ricotta mixture, then topped with creamy béchamel sauce, and baked to bubbly, golden-brown perfection.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 40 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 9–12 servings 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian
- Diet: Vegetarian
VEGAN BOLOGNESE SAUCE:
- 1 pot of vegan bolognese sauce, already made
- 4 packed cups fresh spinach (200g) OR a 10-oz pack frozen spinach
- olive oil
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated
- 1 egg
- 1 small pinch ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
CHEESY BÉCHAMEL SAUCE:
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cup milk of choice, warmed (I use unsweetened almond milk)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/4 tsp salt
FOR THE LASAGNA:
- MAKE THE BOLOGNESE SAUCE: Use this recipe to prepare the vegan bolognese sauce. I recommend making it one day ahead, as it needs to cook low and slow for 3.5 hours. Plus, the flavors intensify in the fridge.
- WILT THE SPINACH: For fresh spinach, heat a pan on low heat, add in a splash of olive oil, then wilt the spinach completely. Allow it to cool, then, with your hands, squeeze out the excess moisture. For frozen spinach, defrost it, then, with your hands, squeeze out the excess moisture.
- PREPARE THE SPINACH-RICOTTA MIXTURE: In a bowl, mix together the wilted spinach, ricotta cheese, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, an egg, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Set the bowl aside.
- PREPARE THE CHEESY BÉCHAMEL SAUCE: In a pan over medium heat, melt the butter completely, then whisk in the flour. Continue whisking vigorously for one minute to cook the flour. Add in a small splash of pre-warmed milk, and whisk. Continue whisking in the warm milk, a little at a time. If any lumps form, just keep whisking. The sauce should become thick. Bring the sauce to a low boil, and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the mozzarella cheese ans salt, allowing it to melt. Turn off the stove.
- LAYER THE LASAGNA: First, preheat the oven to 395°F/200°C. Then, in your lasagna baking dish, add about 1/2 cup of bolognese sauce to the bottom of the pan, and spread it across to make a thin layer. Add a layer of pasta sheets. Smooth an even layer of the spinach-ricotta mixture atop the pasta sheets, about 1 to 1.5 cups. Then, smooth over an even layer of the bolognese sauce, about 1 to 1.5 cups. Sprinkle on an even layer of shredded mozzarella cheese. Starting again with the lasagna sheets, repeat this pattern until the pan is almost full to the top, and you can barely fit another layer. After the last layer of pasta sheets go on, spread on another layer of bolognese sauce. Quickly re-whisk the béchamel sauce and pour it over the top of the bolognese sauce. Sprinkle on a bit more mozzarella.
- BAKE THE LASAGNA: Cover the lasagna with a sheet of foil to retain moisture, but ensure the foil is not touching the béchamel sauce. Bake the lasagna on the middle rack of your oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until the pasta sheets are just cooked through. Remove the foil, turn your oven onto the broil setting (or the highest heat), and move the lasagna to the top rack. With a very watchful eye, allow the lasagna to bubble up and become golden-brown – with some darker brown spots too! If necessary, carefully turn the dish around to achieve an even broil across the top. This should take about 5-10 minutes. Remove the lasagna from the oven, recover with foil (but ensure it’s not touching the top layer), and allow it to cool and set for about 20-30 minutes before digging in!
- GARNISH: If desired, use a spoon to smooth over a drizzle of truffle oil and garnish with fresh parsley!
MAKE IT VEGAN: You can easily turn this vegetarian lasagna into vegan lasagna. Just omit the egg from the spinach-ricotta mixture and use your favorite vegan cheeses.
MAKE YOUR OWN PASTA: Use this recipe to make your own fresh pasta from scratch! Add your fresh pasta sheets straight into the lasagna dish, without cooking them first. Bake your lasagna uncovered for 40 minutes at 350°F/175°C.
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