This vegan pesto lasagna is a dairy-free, tofu ricotta and zucchini packed comfort food recipe that’s healthy and easy to make!
Vegan pesto lasagna is a great alternative to regular tomato based lasagna. It’s a perfect dinner recipe for vegans, vegetarians, and meat eaters alike! This pesto lasagna uses fresh, seasonal ingredients. Unlike the conventional lasagna, it’s relatively inexpensive to make because there’s no dairy or meat.
Don’t get me wrong. I love classic lasagna with tomato sauce and cheese. But summertime calls for a lighter lasagna that focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients. Bonus: if you’re making this in the summer you can find half of the ingredients in your backyard garden (not that I have one of those…).
I’ll be honest: I tried making this lasagna with no-boil noodles and I was not impressed. It definitely works best with regular pasta noodles that you boil yourself, because this lasagna isn’t as liquidy as a traditional tomato-based lasagna. If you only have no-boil lasagna noodles on hand, don’t fear! Just make sure the top layer of noodles is well covered in pesto or a bit of veggie broth.
How do you make vegan pesto?
Pesto traditionally contains basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan. It’s easy to customize basil pesto to your dietary preferences by omitting parmesan or replacing it with a vegan version. You can use my creamy avocado pesto recipe, which uses cashews in place of pine nuts and adds nutritional yeast for a cheesey flavor.
You can also use store bought pesto or your own homemade recipe. An easy go to vegan pesto recipe I use is: 2 cups basil, 2 cups spinach, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend in a food processor and use right away.
How do you make tofu ricotta?
Tofu ricotta requires just a few common ingredients and takes minutes to make. Combine extra firm tofu, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and seasonings in the food processor and mix until smooth and creamy.
You can also use your hands to crumble up the tofu by hand. Because I hate doing more dishes and I like crumbly tofu, as opposed to a classic ricotta paste, I usually go with the hand method. I also just like using my hands to make food… shhh.
How to make vegan pesto lasagna
*Please note that although I recommend using regular pasta noodles, I took these process shots with no-boil noodles. I’ll update the photos to be more true to the recipe at some point.
First things first: saute your sliced zucchini and tomatoes over medium heat for 6-8 minutes, or until zucchini is translucent and softened and the tomatoes release their juices. The zucchini will only soften a little more when it’s baked in the lasagna.
Layer the bottom of an 8×11 glass baking dish with 1/4 cup of the pesto. Cover this with 3 cooked lasagna noodles, then add 1/4 cup pesto and half of the tofu ricotta. Next add the zucchini in side-by-side layers, then top with tomatoes.
Repeat above steps one more time. Then add 3 more lasagna noodles and remaining pesto. Bake covered with foil with 30 minutes. Top with additional cherry tomatoes, basil, and cashew parmesan. Enjoy!
Vegan Pesto Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta
For the Pesto Lasagna
- 9 lasagna noodles
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 large yellow squash
- 16 ounces cherry tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup basil pesto or pesto of choice
For the Tofu Ricotta
- 1 block extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 350F. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the lasagna noodles and cook until al dente. Drain then rinse with cold water. Set aside.
- Cut the zucchini and squash lengthwise into 8-10 slices using a knife or mandolin. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the tomatoes and zucchini together. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt (optional). Cook for 6-8 minutes, or until the zucchini is almost translucent and tender. The cherry tomatoes should release the majority of their juices. Reserve the liquid.
- For the tofu ricotta: combine all of the ricotta ingredients in a food processor and pulse until crumbled. Alternately, use your hands to break down the tofu for a more chunky texture.
- Place 1/4 cup pesto at the bottom of an 8x11 (or similiarly sized) baking dish. Top with three cooked noodles. Top with 1/4 cup pesto and half of the tofu ricotta. Layer half of the zuchinni and yellow squash side by side (see pictures for reference). Top with half of the cherry tomatoes. Repeat one more time, then top with 3 more cooked noodles. Top with the reserved tomato liquid and 1/4 cup pesto.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!