This lasagna–like most lasagnas–takes a bit of prep (sauteing veggies, blending things, boiling noodles, chopping a variety of ingredients, etc, etc.) but, when you have a big dinner to host –and yes, even your nightly family dinner counts as big when this lasagna is involved–the extra bit of effort is totally worth it. I really enjoy spacing my lasagna making out throughout the day: lentils in the early morning, sauce later in the day and finally assembling about an hour before dinner is served.
A few tips:
When making lasagna, I cook the pasta just until tender, somewhere around 3 to 4 minutes shy of the recommended cooking time. They tend to fall apart less and I find that the pasta is much easier to work with.
I highly recommend boiling the lasagna for five minutes at the end of cooking. It gets the cheese all nice and gooey and the kale turns into teeny tiny crispy kale chips that add a nice touch to the ensemble.
This dish can also be prepared ahead of time, frozen and then baked in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours at 350 F.
- For the Sauce:
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 28 ounces canned whole tomatoes + juice
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper (jarred works great)
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons agave
- 1/2 teaspoon additional sea salt
- 1 tablespoon additional olive oil
- For the Lentils:
- 2 1/2 cups cooked (black)beluga lentils
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground
- Dash of chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons water
- Other Ingredients:
- 1 box lasagna noodles
- 2 cups chopped kale (sauteed lightly just until bright green and wilted)
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- 2 to 3 cups vegan mozzarella (recommend Daiya)
Start with making the sauce:
In a large frying pan over high heat, saute the onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil until onions are browned on edges and translucent. Add in the canned tomatoes and roasted red peppers and reduce the heat to medium, stirring often and slightly breaking up the tomatoes as they cook using a wooden fork. Simmer for about 10 minutes, and then remove from the heat.
Let cool slightly and then transfer to a food processor or blender. Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.
Make the lentil mix:
To make the lentils, simply combine all the ingredients in a medium size bowl, stirring well to evenly distribute herbs and spices.
And the rest:
Preheat your oven to 350 °F and very lightly brush a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with olive oil.
Cook noodles according to package directions, cutting the cooking time shy 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the noodles stick to the bottom of the pot, or tear as you stir. It’s a delicate balance, folks. Once noodles have cooked through, rinse gently with cold water and separate noodles onto a sheet of parchment or a silicone mat.
Cover the bottom of the baking dish evenly with about 1/4 inch of sauce. Place down the lasagna noodles to adequately cover the sauce (as best you can) and then layer with kale (go lightly with the kale), carrots, cheese, and lentils. Top with another layer of noodles, and repeat layering. Do this until you are out of noodles and filling. Top the final layer of noodles with sauce, and then a thick layer of cheese, and finally with the remaining kale.
Bake in the preheated oven uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Broil for 5 more minutes until cheese is bubbly and kale is crispy (optional). Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting.