Evelyn’s Special Vegan Lasagna

This recipe is inspired by one in Just Like Evelyn, the cookbook of the ASI Children’s Center at Cal Poly. Unfortunately I don’t think the cookbook is available in any bookstores or on Amazon, but if you’re ever in the San Luis Obispo area on a weekday, stop by the Children’s Center and pick up a copy. It’s one of the yummiest $10 you’ll ever spend! It’s not a vegan cookbook, but it is all healthy and most recipes are easily adapted. This lasagna hides a lot of vegetables and fiber in a delicious and healthy package. I added the broccoli and mushrooms, although you could easily modify the recipe to use any veggies you like.

Chef’s note: This recipe is vegan if you choose the right cheese. GoVeggie brand makes some that are vegan and some that are simply lactose-free but include whey, which is still derived from milk and therefore not vegan. Make sure you choose a GoVeggie or Daiya (or other brand of your choice) cheese that is actually vegan.

Allergy note:  This recipe is gluten-free as long as you use GF rice lasagna noodles.


For the creamy “cheese” filling:

  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, soaked in water for 4 hours
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon minced/crushed garlic
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 can (15 oz.) chickpeas/garbonzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

For the rest of the lasagna:

  • 9 GF lasagna noodles
  • Olive oil (about 1 Tbsp.) for sauteing
  • 2 carrots, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced small
  • 1 zucchini, cubed small
  • 1 small head of broccoli, stems removed and tops finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 small can (4 oz.) sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 jar (18-25 oz.) vegan marinara sauce
  • 1 cup vegan cheese, mozzarella flavor (optional)


  • Large pot for boiling lasagna noodles
  • Skillet for sauteing vegetables
  • 9×13 pan
  • Food processor (essential!)
  • Aluminum foil


  1. Drain soaked cashews and pine nuts. Discard the water.
  2. In the food processor, combine the cashews, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, garlic (1 teaspoon), lemon juice, onion powder, chickpeas, and 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. Blend until smooth and creamy. Thin with a tiny bit of water if needed until it’s approximately the consistency of ricotta or cottage cheese.
  3. Cook lasagna noodles until al dente according to package directions. Drain immediately and set aside.
  4. Saute onion, garlic and carrot for a few minutes, then add broccoli. Cook for two minutes, then add zucchini, basil, oregano, mushrooms, and pepper. Cook for two more minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from heat.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the 9×13 pan with olive or canola oil.
  6. Spread 3/4 cup marinara sauce evenly over the bottom of the 9×13 pan.
  7. Assemble the layers like this, starting at the bottom after the sauce:
    • Three lasagna noodles
    • 1/2 of the cashew-bean mixture
    • 1/2 of the vegetable mixture
    • 3/4 cup marinara sauce
    • Three lasagna noodles
    • 1/2 of the cashew-bean mixture
    • 1/2 of the vegetable mixture
    • 3/4 cup marinara sauce
    • Three lasagna noodles
    • Remaining sauce
  8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  9. Remove foil, top with Daiya mozzarella cheese, and bake for 15 more minutes.
  10. You can assemble the lasagna ahead of time and refrigerate it, then bake it when you’re ready. Just add 20 minutes to covered baking time if you do this.


Lasagna inspired by “Children’s Center Special Lasagna,” page 58 of Just Like Evelyn, the Children’s Center Cookbook from the Cal Poly ASI Children’s Center, San Luis Obispo, California. Cookbook compiled by Evelyn Ruehr, November 2003, with design and production work by Marie Curtin. Cashew “ricotta cheese” filling adapted from Virtually Vegan Mama’s Baked Eggplant Stacks with Cashew Ricotta to use in place of Evelyn’s cottage cheese and egg.