Fancy Food Thoughts: Dairy Free (Gluten Free & Vegan) Lasagna


I all but gave up on lasagna long ago when I stopped eating dairy. It just didn’t seem like it was possible to have a delicious satisfying dish without cheese. I’ve learned over the years to be more content living without, but believe me, after eating this dish, you will not be missing cheese at all because you will fully believe you are eating ricotta!

This lasagna is full of homestyle italia goodness and whenever I make it, everyone begs for the recipe! I also love how diverse this can be. If you’re vegan, just omit the meat. If you’re gluten intolerant, use gluten free lasagna noodles!


2 Tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil

4-6 cloves garlic, minced

1 large brown onion, diced

3-4 assorted baby bell peppers, diced

2 packages crimini mushrooms, cut in slices

3-4 zucchini’s chopped

1/2 cup baby spinach, chopped

1 lb hamburger (omit for Vegan option)

3 or 4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped

1 lb can of marinara or your favorite pasta sauce

3  8 oz cans tomato sauce

9-12 lasagna noodles (Or use Gluten Free Option) cooked, drained & rinsed OR use no boil noodles

Salt and pepper to taste

1 recipe vegan ricotta cheese (see recipe below)

First, prepare vegan ricotta cheese. This can be done a day or two in advance and stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

In a large pan saute garlic, chopped peppers, and onions in olive or coconut oil until tender.

Add mushrooms & zucchini and cook until juices start flowing.

Add baby spinach and cook a couple of minutes longer until the spinach is wilted.

In another pan brown hamburger (if using meat. You can also add extra garlic & onion to the browning beef if desired) and when it’s finished add the marinara & tomato sauces bringing to a simmer. Add chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble lasagna, the pattern is sauce, noodles, ricotta, then veggies.

First spread a thin layer of pasta sauce in bottom of a 9×12 inch dish. Place lasagna noodles in the bottom of pan. Spread vegan ricotta over each noodle, add a layer of veggies, (drain off liquids from the veggies) then add a layer of sauce. Repeat for 3-4 layers depending on how deep your dish is.

Cover with tin foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 40-45 minutes or according to the instructions on the box of lasagna noodles used.


1 3/4 cups raw cashews soaked 30 minutes or over night in water just to cover
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup filtered water
4 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1  teaspoon salt

Pulse garlic in food processor or blender until chopped. Add remaining ingredients and process/blend until thick & smooth. Can be placed in an airtight contained and put in fridge a couple of days before using.


1 package pizza dough (Trader Joe’s or Fresh & Easy both have good variety!)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 overflowing tablespoons olive oil

Place minced garlic, rosemary, salt & olive oil to cover in a small ramekin size bowl. Let set while preparing dough. Cut pizza dough into strips and stretch each piece about 6 inches long, making sure they’re not to thin. You want them to be a pretty good thickness. (I got 12 out of one package of dough.) Tie each piece once so it looks like a knot. Brush a baking sheet with some olive oil. Place the knots on baking sheet & brush with olive oil/garlic/rosemary mixture. Make sure you get all the garlic & rosemary on top and in the crevices.  Bake at 425 for 7-10 minutes or until pale golden brown & cooked through. Serve warm.

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