Today’s recipe has a warm, comforting connotation to me. We often make Lasagna Roll-Ups with Vegan Ricotta and Fresh Spinach when we have family gatherings and church luncheons, making it a very welcome and loved dish. The smooth and creamy vegan ricotta filling, mixed with fresh spinach, rolled in pasta, and covered with a beautiful tomato sauce, can you think of anything better than that?
How to Make Vegan Ricotta Cheese
Vegan Ricotta Cheese can be made from either tofu or nuts. Having said that, they have a distinctly different texture and taste. A tofu Ricotta is smoother and creamier in texture than nut ricotta, but there is something about the nuts’ texture and flavor that also add to the experience.
I combine the two, half-and-half, which provides the best of both worlds. It creates a creamy, nutty texture that is unbelievably delicious. If you are allergic to nuts, make the ricotta filling with tofu; if you are allergic to soy (tofu), make the ricotta filling with nuts. (see below for details on how to make it allergy-friendly). I do not think you will be disappointed either way.
What Type of Nuts to use for Vegan Ricotta
I use cashews for this vegan ricotta filling. There is a good reason for this. Cashews are incredibly easy to blend, creamy, and provide an excellent flavor canvas. Almonds are a little grainier, though very nice in flavor. Some people use macadamia nuts, which also works nicely, but I find that cashews work best for this dish.
How to prepare the cashews:
I presoak the cashews for many hours before making the vegan ricotta filling. This makes them easier to blend, and it also takes away some of the natural sweetness that cashews have. Since I often make recipes with presoaked cashews, I usually have some in the fridge soaking. Sometimes they can soak for 2-3 days before I get to them. I change the water daily, which also helps get rid of the cashew taste.
If you do not have time for the presoak, place the cashews in boiling water. Let sit for 30 minutes or so. If I am particularly busy, I will boil the cashews for a few minutes, which probably goes against all conventional wisdom, but hey, it works; I’ve done it. We have to take short cuts as needed:)
My Favorite Marinara Sauce for Lasagna
For today’s Lasagna Recipe, I use my favorite marinara sauce. It is the easiest tomato sauce on my website. I use canned tomatoes for this, and my absolute favorite is the Mutti Petite Diced Tomato brand (affiliate link). It is so thick and rich; it requires very little cooking. The flavor is clean and exactly what you are looking for in this particular dish. I add some fresh garlic, a little oil, some seasoning, and the marinara sauce becomes a wonderful compliment to the pasta and vegan ricotta filling.
How can I make Lasagna Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, or Oil-Free?
- Use Gluten-Free Lasagna noodles, like Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta (affiliate link).
- Eliminate the Better Than Bouillon in the marinara sauce; use extra salt or a splash of Bragg Liquid Aminos (affiliate link) instead.
- Eliminate the nuts in the Vegan Ricotta filling.
- Replace the nuts with 1 cup of firm tofu
- Avoid the vegan parmesan as a topping.
- Eliminate the tofu in the Vegan Ricotta filling. Replace the tofu with 1 cup of presoaked cashews.
- Eliminate the Bragg Liquid Aminos from the vegan Parmesan topping.
- Eliminate Bragg Liquid Aminos in the vegan ricotta Filling. Adjust with a little salt as needed.
- Eliminate the oil in the vegan ricotta filling, add 1-2 tablespoons of water if needed to make a smoother filling.
- Eliminate the oil in the Marinara sauce. Cook the onion in 2 tablespoons water until translucent.
Can Lasagna Roll-Ups be made ahead?
The short answer is yes. However, the pasta’s consistency changes when made ahead of time; it can easily be overcooked. Here are a few suggestions:
- Undercook the pasta
- Make sure all ingredients are cooled when putting the Lasagna dish together so the pasta will not continue to cook
- Keep in the fridge until ready to bake
I hope you enjoy the Lasagna Roll-Ups with Vegan Ricotta and Spinach. It is one of my favorite weekend dishes.
Helpful Ingredients and Tools for this Lasagna Roll-Up Recipe:
- Mutti Petite Diced Tomato
- Better Than Bouillon
- Bragg Liquid Aminos
- Nutritional Yeast Flakes
- Food Processor
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Lasagna Roll-Ups with Vegan Ricotta and Spinach
Lasagna Roll-ups are one of my favorite weekend meals. The smooth and creamy vegan ricotta filling, mixed with fresh spinach, rolled in pasta, and covered with a beautiful tomato sauce, can you think of anything better than that?
- Yield: Serves 4
- Method: Bake
- 8 Lasagna Noodles
- 1 Recipe Marinara Sauce (Click Here for my Recipe)
Vegan Ricotta Filling:
- 1 cup presoaked cashews, drained
- 1 cup (8 oz) firm tofu, drained
- 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2–3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground basil
- 1 medium onion, small dice
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
- 2 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and sprinkle generously with salt.
- Add lasagna noodles. Cook according to box instructions (usually about 10 minutes)
- Remove from boiling water, rinse in cold water to stop the cooking.
- Drain. Set aside to cool.
Vegan Ricotta Filling:
- In a food processor, add cashews, tofu, lemon juice, olive oil, and blend. Add salt, Bragg Liquid Aminos, nutritional yeast, and blend until smooth.
- In a small saucepan, sauté the onion in oil until translucent, add the crushed garlic, ground basil, and fresh spinach. Sauté until the spinach has wilted. Set aside to cool.
- In a bowl, gently combine the cashew/tofu mixture with the onion/spinach mixture. The filling is now ready.
Assembling the Dish:
- Preheat oven to 375F
- In an 9X9 inch pan, add a layer of tomato sauce.
- Next, prepare the lasagna rolls:
- Lay a lasagna noodle flat on a cutting board.
- Add about 2-3 tablespoons of filling to each lasagna noodle, spreading it across the length of the noodle.
- Next, roll the lasagna noodle.
- Place in the pan.
- Continue this process with all the lasagna noodles.
- Cover each roll with a layer of tomato sauce.
- Sprinkle with some vegan parmesan and some dried basil.
- Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes.
Quick and Easy Parmesan Topping:
- 1 cup raw cashews (or blanched almonds)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
In a food processor, blend the cashews, yeast flakes, salt, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder into a crumb consistency. It is now ready to use.
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