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Best Vegetarian Lasagna Bolognese (with Spinach-Ricotta & Béchamel)

5 from 3 reviews

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.

Ingredients

Scale

VEGAN BOLOGNESE SAUCE:

SPINACH-RICOTTA MIXTURE:

  • 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:

Instructions

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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!
  7. GARNISH: If desired, use a spoon to smooth over a drizzle of truffle oil and garnish with fresh parsley!

Notes

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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