Healthy, Herbal Vegan Recipes: Vegan Cheesy Lasagna

Reader Contribution by Justine Patton
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In a recent blog, I raved about the benefits of embracing a vegan diet. In case you missed it, here’s a short recap: Researchers have discovered that a diet free of meat, dairy products and eggs may prevent, and even reverse, heart disease.

For Americans, this is huge news, and here’s why: Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. However, by embracing a vegan diet you can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease, having a nonfatal heart attack or needing heart bypass surgery. You could also save yourself–and the rest of the country–some money. In 2010, heart disease cost the United States $316.4 billion in health care services, medications and lost productivity.

However, some of you out there may still be skeptical of switching up your diet in such a drastic way. “No meat? No cheese?” you may ask. As a fellow omnivore, I hear you. However, I urge you to give this vegan lasagna a try for dinner one night this week before completely writing off this lifestyle. After all, who doesn’t like a little Italian food?

This recipe for Vegan Cheesy Lasagna provides the delicious flavors of lasagna
without all of the cholesterol and saturated fat of the traditional Italian dish.
Photo by Bacon and Tofu/Courtesy

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 8 ounces carrots, sliced and steamed
• 1/4 cup canned low-sodium vegetable broth
• 16 ounces herbed tofu
• 8 ounces vegan cream cheese
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, optional
• 12 lasagna noodles, cooked
• 2 to 3 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
• 1 (16-ounce) bag spinach leaves
• 2 to 3 (14-ounce) jars spaghetti sauce

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add olive oil to a large skillet, place over medium-high heat until hot. Add parsley and garlic, sauté for 1 minute. Add carrots and veggie broth; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Add herbed tofu, vegan cream cheese and lemon juice; stir well.

2. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until the vegan cream cheese starts to melt. Stir in nutmeg. Add nutritional yeast if you’d like it a little bit cheesier! Remove from heat; keep warm.

3. Place 3 lasagna noodles in bottom of an 11-inch by 7-inch baking dish. Spread tofu mixture over top, place 3 noodles on top of that, and spread tomato sauce and spinach on top of those. Repeat process until all noodles are used up. Top with spaghetti sauce. Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes until it is thoroughly heated. Usually lasagna takes about 45 minutes to cook thoroughly.

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