This vegan lentil lasagna makes for such an amazing comfort food meal that your whole family will love. Features a super simple lentil marinara sauce plus a quick vegan bechamel. Makes for a hearty no-meat and dairy-free lasagna that's so satisfying and ultra flavorful!
Who does not like lasagna? Any comfort food-lover, which is probably everyone, will adore this recipe! Whether you are vegan or not.
No meat, no cheese, soy-free (no tofu), no vegan butter, all healthy... and still that delicious? Yes, this vegan lentil lasagna will be a hit for everyone you serve it to, I am sure of it.
The duo of crumbly lentil marinara + creamy white sauce definitely is the highlight of this recipe, which actually reminds me of my vegan baked ziti (one of my most popular recipes from the blog!).
But this time, I used a vegan bechamel sauce instead of a cashew cream. It makes this recipe a little less rich, but also nut-free (made without cashews), if that's something you are looking for. The bechamel is flour-based and made with a little nutritional yeast to add that subtle cheesy flavor so amazing in vegan lasagna recipes.
I just cannot get enough of the white bechamel that mixes slowly with the savory tomato sauce within the layers. Such a great match.
On top of being so good, I worked really hard to keep this recipe as easy and straight forward as possible. It still does take some time to prepare, but compared to other lasagna recipes I have made before, this one definitely is simpler.
The lentil marinara sauce only requires 7 ingredients and the super easy bechamel sauce can be made under 10 minutes while the marinara is simmering. Also, using oven-ready lasagna noodles makes the lasagna-making process so much easier.
I also love that this lasagna recipe is wholesome and actually rich in fiber and plant-based protein. I didn't load it up with veggies like I often do, but the shredded carrots (yes yes, it is hiding in the sauce!), lentils and tomatoes make this meal nutrient-dense.
I hope you give it a try! And let me know how you liked it ❤️
What's to love about this recipe
- Healthy and filled with fiber and protein
- Ultra flavorful and has a great texture
- Easy to make with clear step-by-step instructions
- Family-friendly meal for vegans and omnivores!
- Nourishing and filling
- Great meat-free alternative to a classic lasagna
Ingredients you'll need
- No boil lasagna noodles: not only will it skip the step of pre-cooking pasta, but will also help create an amazing texture by soaking up on the extra moisture while baking in the oven. Do not substitute for regular lasagna.
- Lentils: I used French du Puy lentils, but green or brown works too.
- Carrots: it adds sweetness, texture and extra-nutrients. I like to shred them and then, also chop the threads to make the pieces finer.
- Onion and garlic: to flavor the lentil tomato sauce.
- Dried Italian spices: or use your favorite dried herbs such a thyme, oregano, basil and parsley.
- Bechamel sauce: super easy and also quick, the bechamel is made with olive oil, flour, plain plant-based milk, salt and nutritional yeast. You can also add some ground/grated nutmeg and dried herbs to the bechamel if you want.
How to make it
There are a few steps to this recipe and from start to finish, this recipe takes around 1h30 to make, but it is mostly hands-off with half of the time being to bake the dish. Just plan ahead and start early so you don't feel rushed when making it.
Also, you can make both the bechamel and lentil sauce ahead if you like to meal-prep on Sundays. Then, all you have to do is assemble and bake when it is time to eat.
Make the lentil tomato sauce
Start by cooking the lentils: combine lentils with 3 cups of water, cover and bring to a simmer. Once it starts to simmer, then turn down the heat to medium-low and keep cooking until the lentils are tender. Add more water as needed to cook them through. I usually check on them often.
While the lentils are simmering, then make the rest of the sauce. Warm up a large pan over medium-high heat with a little oil and cook the onion with a good pinch of salt for 5 minutes or until they start to soften. Add the garlic and dried herbs and cook for another 1-2 minute.
Then, add the carrots, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and stir well. Cook uncovered for about 20 minutes stirring often.
Then, add the lentils and cook for another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust salt to your liking.
Make the bechamel
While the lentil sauce is simmering, make the bechamel sauce! Once the bechamel is all done, salt to taste, add some ground black pepper and also, stir in 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast for a mild cheesy flavor.
Assemble and bake
I highly recommend you to check out my quick video when ready to assemble the lasagna. It is just so nice to have a visual to ease you through it. But here is how it goes:
- Layer 1: Add 1 cup of lentil sauce to the bottom of a lasagna baking dish (about 9 x 13 inches). Then, place 3 lasagna no-boil noodles over. Top with ½ cup of bechamel and spread it well over the noodles.
- Layer 2: Add 1 more cup of lentil sauce over the bechamel, again 3 noodles and then ½ cup more of bechamel.
- Layer 3: Add 1 cup of lentil sauce over the bechamel, then 3 more noodles and then another cup of lentil sauce. Take your time to spread the sauce nicely so it covers well the noodles.
- Topping: Add the remaining of the bechamel over the red sauce and spread well so it covers the whole surface. You can also top with some ground black pepper.
Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, then let the lasagna sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before slicing so it has time to set.
Slice and enjoy!
Watch how to make it
- I generally include a lot of carrots when making this lasagna. It veggie-boosts the otherwise veggie-lacking lasagna, plus it naturally balances out the flavor by adding some sweetness to an acidic tomato sauce. If you don't feel like seeing the specks of carrots, then just add less of it, maybe only one carrot instead of two.
- You can also pulse canned whole peeled tomatoes in your blender until broken down but still chunky and use this instead of crushed tomatoes.
- If you are in a rush, then you could simply use a jarred marinara sauce (25 ounces) instead of making the sauce from scratch. Add the lentils to the jarred sauce and make the bechamel before assembling. Great alternative to make this recipe during the week so it is even quicker.
- Carefully choose the plant-based milk when making the bechamel since some brands hide flavor such as vanilla in their recipe. I love using full-fat oat milk from Oatly to make bechamel. An oat milk Alfredo sauce would also be great here.
Flavor booster ideas
I made the lentil tomato sauce super simple to make this lasagna recipe as easy as possible. I found that the basic lentil sauce worked out perfectly when paired with the bechamel, which complement each other. But, feel-free to play around with the sauce by adding more ingredients if you want. Here are a few ingredients you might want to try including in the lentil sauce:
- Red wine (about ½ cup): definitely amazing to bring deeper flavor into tomato sauces. Simply add after the onions are done and just let the alcohol cook off before adding the tomatoes.
- Mushrooms: I often include mushrooms in tomato sauce. It adds an amazing chewy texture, but also a punch of umami flavor that's very satisfying. It would also make the sauce more "meaty", if that's something you want.
- Zucchini: add some to boost the texture, but also to include more vegetables. Dice the zucchini small and cook alongside the onions.
- Red pepper flakes: adds a nice kick to the sauce! We usually avoid it since we serve this meal to our kids.
- Chili powder: similarly to my tofu bolognese, I find that chili powder works well for meaty vegan sauce. Try adding a dash or two!
- Spinach: add to the lentil sauce for a punch of color, more nutrients and also a fun texture.
- Soy sauce: if you are not looking for a soy-free or gluten-free recipe, then feel free to add 1-2 tablespoons to the sauce.
- Vegan mozzarella: would add lots of creamy texture and some more flavor too. Add a little bit over each layer of bechamel and also on the very top to finish up.
- Fresh basil: add at the end of cooking the lentil sauce for a touch of freshness.
Lasagna makes for such amazing leftovers! It stores well and makes for great lunches to bring to work the next day. Keep them in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.
To reheat, I simply use the microwave, but you can also warm up the leftovers using the oven (pre-heat at 350º, heat for 15-20 minutes or until heated through). A small toaster oven would work well for that.
Yes, to make it GF, then use GF lasagna noodles and use a gluten-free flour when making the bechamel sauce. Jovial has no boil gluten-free lasagna noodles made with brown rice that you could try.
No, do not pre-boil the oven-ready noodles. While they cook in the baking dish, they will actually help set the lasagna to a great texture and absorb the extra moisture.
You can freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge overnight and use the microwave or oven to reheat.
More vegan baked comfort food dish you might like
- Vegan baked ziti
- Vegan white sauce lasagna
- Vegan eggplant rolls-ups
- Creamy garlic vegetable pasta bake
- Gnocchi marinara skillet
- Vegan lasagna roll-ups
- Vegan cauliflower baked mac and cheese
- Vegan shepherd's pie
- Vegan cauliflower gratin
- Vegan baked spaghetti
I hope you like this vegan lentil lasagna recipe as much as we do! If you try it, please leave a comment below and rate the recipe to let me know how it was. Your feedback is so helpful!
Vegan Lentil Lasagna
Simple Lentil Tomato Sauce
- 1 cup dry lentils (du Puy or green or brown) - or about 1.5 cans of cooked lentils
- 1 yellow onion - diced
- 2 carrots - shredded or finely diced
- 3 cloves of garlic - crushed
- 1 tbsp dried Italian herbs mix - or oregano, basil, etc
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 14 oz diced tomatoes
- salt - to taste
For the lasagna
- 9 uncooked (no boil) oven-ready lasagna noodles sheets - choose gluten-free if necessary
- 1 batch vegan bechamel sauce - see note for recipe, use gluten-free flour as needed
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast - to add to the bechamel sauce
- Start by cooking the lentils. Combine the dry lentils with 3 cups of water, bring to a simmer, cover and let the lentils cook until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Add more water if they dry out while cooking and drain the excess water once done. Set aside.
- While the lentils are simmering, start the tomato sauce. Warm up a large pan with a little oil and cook the onions for about 5 minutes with a pinch of salt until they start to soften. Then, add the garlic and dried herbs and cook for one more minute.
- Then, add the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and carrots. Stir and cook uncovered on medium heat for about 20-25 minutes. Then, add the drained cooked lentils and cook for 10 more minutes stirring once in a while.
- While the tomato lentil sauce is simmering, make the bechamel sauce. When the bechamel is done, salt to taste and add 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast plus some ground black pepper to taste.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350º.
- Assemble the lasagna:1- Add 1 cup tomato sauce to the bottom of a baking dish of about 9 x 13 inches size. Then, layer 3 no-boil noodles over and add ½ cup of bechamel over the noodles.2- Add one more cup of lentil sauce over the bechamel, then 3 more noodles and then another ½ cup of bechamel.3- For the last layer, top the bechamel with one cup of lentil sauce, then 3 noodles and then, another cup of lentil sauce. 4- Drizzle the remaining bechamel sauce over and use the back of a spoon or a spatula to spread it out over the whole surface.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes (or until the noodles are tender and the top starts to brown) and then let the lasagna rest for about 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
- Keep the leftovers in an air-tight container for up to 3 days. Reheat using the microwave or the oven (350º for about 15-20 minutes). You can also freeze the lasagna for up to 3 months.
- You can find the bechamel sauce recipe here. You can also make an oat milk Alfredo pasta sauce.
- If you want to save some time, you could also use a jarred marinara sauce (25 ounces) and add some cooked lentils to it.
- To boost the lentil tomato sauce with even more flavor, then feel free to add some red wine, a dash of chili powder, a splash or soy sauce, spinach, finely chopped mushrooms, etc.