I’m deep in the lasagna world through my volunteerism with Lasagna Love and wanted to share an option for a dairy-free/vegan lasagna. This is not the only or best way to make a cheese-less ricotta substitute, but it is likely the cheapest and easiest to source. Let’s turn white beans and summer squash into “ricotta”.
This wouldn’t be a fake-out for those who normally eat cheese, but some cheeseless options are costly or difficult. A popular option for “ricotta” is bulk buying raw cashews which is expensive, and sometimes using an unfamiliar ingredient – like tofu, or sourcing dairy-free options can be tough for some people or in some stores. I find that this white bean & squash mixture is a solid substitute for ricotta amongst sauce and noodles and some herbs.
Ingredients: (serves ~4)
9 lasagna noodles
1 can white beans (drained but liquid reserved)
1 small summer squash/yellow squash/or pealed zucchini
1 teaspoon dried basil/oregano/Italian seasoning
1-2 cups of dairy-free shredded mozzarella
~2 cups of tomato sauce
Preheat the oven to 350-degrees and chop the squash.
Saute or steam the squash until cooked through.
Drain the beans but reserve the liquid and add the beans into a food processor with the cooked squash (my photos are of a double batch).
Blend together adding ~1/2 the bean liquid, a drizzle of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Scrape down the sides and blend until smooth. Add more liquid (or water) if desired. Stir in herbs.
Cook the noodles until totally pliable.
Assemble the lasagna – I did 9 roll ups so I didn’t have to trim noodles for a few servings, but this could be a 9×9 pan too as a more traditional layered lasagna.
Lay the noodles out, spread on the ricotta-substitute and sprinkle with dairy-free cheese and roll up.
Spray the pan with non-stick spray, add some sauce to the bottom, and lay the rolls into the pan. Top with more sauce.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove foil, top with remaining “mozzarella”, and bake for another 5-10 until the cheese melts. The broiler may help as dairy-free cheese doesn’t melt exactly the same.
I liked it! I made a double batch to have some in the freezer. This is a thin & minimal use here, but I think it gives the impression of ricotta. I will use the remainder for my next dairy-free lasagna request or, maybe I’d mix some 1:1 with ricotta for a protein boost, or with a dollop of pesto. It also could thicken a chowder or add some nutrition to alfredo.