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Easy Eggplant Lasagna

This plant-based vegan eggplant lasagna checks all the boxes! It's packed with fibre, nourishing nutrients and it tastes incredible!
Sep 18, 2020 | Joy McCarthy

I've eaten a whole lotta eggplant this summer! We were constantly grilling because we had such a lovely summer and wanted to just BBQ everything, well, mostly eggplants. Now that the temps are cooling down, I still want to eat eggplant and was dreaming this up weeks ago. It came to fruition and Walker and I polished off this entire dish of plant-based goodness in about 2.5 days. 

I decided to change up the classic eggplant lasagna with ricotta and create a plant-based version (which is deeelish!!) because I figured there are a gazillion and one eggplant recipes online with ricotta. And, selfishly, I'm dairy-free right now, so I wanted to create something for me to eat! Don't worry, I'm not dairy-free forever. I just like to take breaks from time to time.

Cashew Cheese

This Easy Eggplant Lasagna checks all the boxes, but most importantly it tastes and smells absolutely incredible!

Easy Eggplant Lasagna

If you came here because you were expecting ricotta, don't leave! You can totally use regular ricotta in place of the cashew ricotta. However, I encourage you try something new because my cashew ricotta is super-duper flavourful and you just *might* like it better than regular ricotta. All you need is an open mind, like my hubby Walker for instance. He was skeptical but as soon as he took his first bite, his eyes lit up, and he said "wow, this is actually really good Joy". And I was like "duh, I know!!". Ha!

For the cashew ricotta, you'll need cashews, nutritional yeast (not the same as yeast in bread), lemon and sea salt. That's it!

Cashew Ricotta

I bought two large eggplants from the farmer's market. Just make sure you sweat them a little as you'll see in my video as this is an important step, so don't skip it! Eggplants are a wonderful source of anthocyanins which are phytonutrients concentrated in the skin. This particular anthocyanin in eggplant is called nasunin and it is a potent free radical scavenger which means it acts as an antioxidant in the body. This is why you do not want to peel it. The skin gets nice and tender once you cook it anyway! 

Eggplant

After watching the video, here are some step-by-step photos of building your Easy Eggplant Lasagna and then the recipe card (which is printable) is just below.

vegan eggplant lasagna

The first layer of the dish should just be pasta sauce. This will prevent the eggplant from sticking and help it absorb some more flavour. Next up add eggplant slices and evenly spread in dish. Then add dollops of spinach cashew ricotta on top of each slice, add pasta sauce and keep repeating the layers until you're done!

vegan eggplant lasagna

And finally, not to be skipped even though it seems like a very simple step, is the Plant-based Parmesan! You might want to do this before you make your ricotta, but it takes all of 30 seconds so it doesn't really matter when you do it. You won't miss the dairy parm when you use this because it is packed with flavour!

Plant-based Parmesan

This Plant-based Parm is super simple - nutritional yeast, pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, sea salt and garlic powder. Blitz and then store in a glass jar in the fridge to top on this lasagna, avo toast, as a salad topper - so many wonderful uses to jazz up a dish! 

Okay let's get to this recipe shall we?

eggplant lasagna

I have put these into separate recipe cards to make things easier. Especially if you want to make the ricotta or the parm for a different dish than this lasagna. 

Mains & Sides
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Ingredients
  • Approximately 3 cups cashew ricotta*
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2 large eggplants
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4-5 cups pasta sauce
  • 3-4 tbsp of Plant-based Parm
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C). You'll need a 13"x9" baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ricotta and fresh spinach. Set aside.
  3. Place a layer of sliced eggplant in the baking dish. Sprinkle with salt. This is to draw out excess moisture. Continue adding layers of eggplant and sprinkling with salt. Let sit for 10 minutes. Then pat off the excess moisture from the eggplant and remove from baking dish.
  4. Spoon some sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Add 1 layer of sliced eggplant. Next add dollops of spinach cashew ricotta on top of each slice of eggplant and spread around with a spoon.
  5. Next add sauce on top of spinach cashew ricotta layer. Add another layer of eggplant and continue until final layer. For the final layer, add the last bit of spinach cashew ricotta on top of sauce in dollops.
  6. Sprinkle Plant-based Parmesan Cheese on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes until eggplant is tender and cooked through.
  7. Once removed from oven, let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  8. Refrigerate for up to 5-7 days. Eggplant does not freeze well, it gets very soggy so I don't recommend you freeze it. Reheat in the oven.

Notes

Serves 6-8 people.

*If you want to make this with regular ricotta you can do that. Just follow the same instructions and swap cashew ricotta for regular ricotta.

Eggplant Lasagna

Here's the recipe for the Plant-based Ricotta Cheese.

Snacks
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Ingredients
  • 3 cups raw cashews, soaked for 4-6 hours
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 cup water
Instructions
  1. Discard soaking water from cashews.
  2. Add all ingredients to a high power food processor or blender. Blend until creamy.
  3. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Here's the recipe for the Plant-based Parmesan.

Mains & Sides
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbsp hemp hearts
Instructions
  1. In a small food processor, add pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic powder and hemp hearts. Blitz until crumbly.
  2. Store in a mason jar in the fridge for up to 5 weeks or freeze for up to 3 months.

So there you have it! Easy peasy Eggplant Lasagna - make ahead for the easiest weeknight dinner ever. This reheats nicely in the oven at 350F for about 10-15 minutes. Enjoy with my Creamy and Dreamy Kale Salad.

Easy Eggplant Vegan Lasagna

Enjoy! Be sure to share with me on social media if you make it! I love seeing your creations just be sure to tag me @joyoushealth

Wishing you joyous health,

Joy xo

18 Comments
Samantha   •   September 22, 2020

Really excited to try this recipe! Just wondering, do you think I could use some leftover cashew pulp from making cashew milk in place of some of the 3 cups of cashews? I have some now and need to find a use for it :). Thanks!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   September 22, 2020
Samantha   •   September 22, 2020
Joy McCarthy   •   September 23, 2020

Jolie   •   September 22, 2020

Looks so good! It may be cheating, but I am trying this with pasta rather than the eggplant. I love eggplant but I was looking for a plant-based recipe so why not try a modified version. :-)

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   September 22, 2020

Debra   •   September 24, 2020

How much garlic powder did you put in your Ricotta cheese?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   September 26, 2020

Row   •   September 26, 2020

Hi! How much Parm are you sprinkling on top? The entire 1 cup amount? Trying this one out today!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   September 26, 2020

Linda   •   September 27, 2020

What is the Italian seasoning for? Thank you!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   September 28, 2020

Beth   •   September 28, 2020

Okay, I was sceptical but honestly this is delicious. I made it exactly as the recipe call for. I wouldn’t change a thing. Thanks Joy

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   September 29, 2020

Sandra   •   October 1, 2020

Maybe I cut the eggplant too thick, but after 45 min I checked and put it back every 15 mins, so it was baking for at least 75 min and still was not soft, but still tasty. I'll recook it tomorrow.

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 2, 2020

Heather Griffith   •   October 6, 2020

I made this on Sunday night fir supper along with your sweet potato biscuits. We both loved it. My husband had two stacks. Haha.

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 7, 2020

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