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Gluten-Free Lasagna with Hazelnut Ricotta, Cashew Cheese Sauce and Marinara Sauce

It might seem daunting to some people:
How can I make a delicious lasagna with no dairy, meat or eggs? Easy!
How can I make a delicious vegan lasagna that’s gluten-free? No problem!
How can I make a delicious vegan, gluten-free lasagna that’s also soy-free? Simple!

No long story here. Tom loves lasagna. I wanted it to make it for him but now I’m gluten-free and I’ve been cutting way back on soy. I bought gluten-free brown rice lasagna noodles. They were also no-boil noodles. Actually, I would prefer the kind I boil myself but that’s what I found so that’s what I used.

Usually I make tofu ricotta and add spinach to it. It’s delicious. But here I used hazelnuts for the ricotta and cashews for the cheese sauce (what would usually be the beschemel sauce). Both are creamy and delicious! The spinach became its own layer in the lasagna. I always have to add greens to my food. I just have to, I can’t help it.

My marinara sauce is the easiest, quickest tomato sauce ever! If you want, you could add mushrooms to it. Usually I do but I wanted a smoother sauce for this. If you wanted to add a “meaty” component to the lasagna, you could use crumbles of some type either in the sauce or in one of the layers (Sunshine burgers or Amy’s Sonoma burgers would keep it gluten and soy free).

This is a beautiful dish for your holiday dinner table. It’s impressive, you will hear “oohs” and “aahs” when you present it to your guests. The lasagna is rich, creamy and decadent. And with it’s red, white and green colors, it looks like a festive holiday gift (well, maybe it doesn’t look like Chanukah but it would still be amazing for that celebration too!)

Gluten-Free Lasagna with Hazelnut Ricotta, Cashew Cheese Sauce and Marinara Sauce

For the Cashew Cheese Sauce:

1 ½ cups raw cashews
¾ cups water
Juice of ½ fresh lemon
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. vinegar

In a food processor, grind the cashews. Add the other ingredients and process until smooth and creamy.

For the Hazelnut Ricotta:

1 ½ cup hazelnuts, soaked for at least 4 hours
½ cup water
Juice of ½ fresh lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced
2 Tbs. fresh basil, minced

In a food processor, puree the nuts, water, lemon juice, oil, garlic and salt until the nuts are all ground up. You may need to scrape the sides of the bowl and puree again until smooth. Add the parsley and basil to the ricotta.

For the Marinara Sauce:

1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ medium red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
2- 28oz. cans crushed tomatoes
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. dried parsley
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium size saucepan. Sautee onion, garlic and red pepper flakes for a few minutes until softened. Add crushed tomatoes and stir. Mix in spices and herbs. Cover and let cook on low heat for about 15 minutes.

For the Lasagna:

1 package of lasagna noodles (I used no-boil brown rice noodles)
2-10 oz. boxes of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
½ cup vegan mozzarella shreds (I used Daiya)
Fresh basil for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Ladle some marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×12 baking dish. Place some lasagna noodles in a layer to cover the bottom of the dish. Top the noodles with some marinara sauce. Spread half of the ricotta over the noodles evenly. Add 1/2 of the spinach over the ricotta. Then put 1/3 of the cashew cheese sauce over the spinach.

Add a second layer of lasagna noodles. Add the marinara sauce, the other half of the ricotta, the other half of the spinach and another 1/3 of the cashew cheese sauce.

Add the third and last layer of the lasagna noodles. Add the last 1/3 of the cashew cheese sauce, a few ladles of marinara and top with the shredded mozzarella.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45-60 minutes or until the noodles have softened (note: cooking time may vary depending on your oven and whether you used no-boil noodles or not; no-boil seems to take longer). Remove the foil and continue to bake for another 15 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted.

Take the lasagna out of the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes. This will help it set better (it tastes even better the next day so you might want to make this the day before). Garnish with fresh basil and serve with extra marinara sauce. Enjoy!

The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.

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6 Responses to Gluten-Free Lasagna with Hazelnut Ricotta, Cashew Cheese Sauce and Marinara Sauce

  1. Karen August 26, 2013 at 1:48 am #

    I made this to take to a BBQ since I am the only vegan. It was incredible and everyone ate it (I thought I would be able to take it home and have leftovers!!) I will definitely make this again and again and again.

    • Rhea August 26, 2013 at 12:31 pm #

      I’m so glad. Great way to spread the vegan message. Thank you so much, Karen.

  2. Rhea Parsons March 27, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    I’m so glad. Thank you!

  3. Anonymous March 27, 2013 at 6:56 am #

    I tried this last night, and it was AMAZING!

  4. Rhea Parsons October 23, 2012 at 3:29 am #

    Hope you like it!!

  5. Anonymous October 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    This looks incredible, I am so happy I stumbled across your site! Love your slogan “the V word” and can’t wait to get reacquainted with my old friend lasagne 🙂

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