While I own a growing collection of vegan cookbooks — a collection that my tiny kitchen is increasingly struggling to contain — I admit that I rarely make recipes directly from any cookbooks. That’s because I usually find myself trying to think of new recipes rather than make someone else’s. I collect cookbooks because they give me inspiration and help me with the thinking part more than anything else.
That said, there are a few cookbook recipes that fall under my all-time favorites — ones that I will gladly make and share with others, with no shame in that it wasn’t my idea to begin with, because it’s just that good. Ok, maybe there’s a touch of shame that I couldn’t think of the idea myself. But I love these recipes so much, they’re among the rare meals I make without trying to change a thing.
One such recipe is Chef AJ’s disappearing lasagna from Unprocessed. Once you make it, you will understand why it’s “disappearing”. I love this recipe so much, and have made it several time as-is, always happy that I did. In her book, Chef AJ also includes a variation in which you can swap eggplant for the lasagna noodles to make the dish noodle-free. I loved this idea as well. But the thing is, once I started playing with the idea of using eggplant, I couldn’t stop there.
This grain-free, soy-free, vegan lasagna is inspired by Chef AJ’s eggplant lasagna variation, but took on a life of its own with added vegetables for laying and some tweaks to the filling. In an effort to keep this recipe as simple as possible, I tried not to use too many health food store “specialty” ingredients. With the exception of nutritional yeast, which should be a staple in EVERYONE’S pantry anyways, all of these ingredients should be found at your local super market or Trader Joe’s. I am not sure if these local stores will have nutritional yeast — some do, some don’t. It’s worth asking. You never know, some might carry it in the future.
I am absolutely in love with this lasagna. It’s fresh and not too heavy, but filling and comforting all the same. This lasagna is grain-free, soy-free, gluten-free and vegan. It can also easily be made oil-free by using an oil-free pasta sauce, though I recommend using a pasta sauce that you really love with this dish. My rule of thumb is to only use a pasta sauce that I would gladly eat with just a spoon. This dish would be a great addition to your Easter or holiday dinner table. Try it on your meat and gluten-eating family members and let me know what they think!
Grain-Free, Vegan Layered Vegetable Lasagna:
Serves: about 6
Adapted from/inspired by Chef AJ’s Disappearing Lasagna
- 1 large eggplant, stemmed and sliced into ¼” slices
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into ¼” slices
- 2 large zucchini, stem removed and sliced into ¼” slices
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt, plus 3 more pinches salt for roasting veggies
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup blanched, slivered almonds (or 1 cup raw cashews)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons filtered water
- 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast, plus more for spinkling
- 2 handfuls baby spinach
- 2 ½ cups really good quality jarred marinara sauce, divided
- 30 leaves basil (optional)
- Lay vegetables flat (not overlapping) on separate baking sheets that are lined with parchment paper or silpat mats. Sprinkle each sheet of veggies with a pinch of sea salt. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. Remove eggplant and zucchini once slightly browned and softened. Bake sweet potato for another 6 minutes, or until soft.
- While baking, add remaining salt, cannellini beans, almonds, lemon juice, water, garlic and nutritional yeast to food processor. Process until mostly smooth (like the texture of a thick hummus). Add spinach and process until incorporated.
- Reduce oven heat to 375 degrees.
- To a 9×13” or 11×11” baking dish, add 1 cup marinara and spread over the bottom of dish. Layer eggplant over marinara. Spread ½ of the cannellini bean mixture over the eggplant. Layer sweet potato over the cannellini mixture. Add the other half of the cannellini mixture, then layer basil leaves, if using. Finally, layer zucchini over top. Then top with another cup and a half marinara. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
- Bake lasagna, uncovered, in 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes, or until bubbling. Let sit for 10-15 minutes before slicing.