Lasagna is such a celebratory dish for me; part of what makes it such is that it’s not the quickest thing to prepare. This lasagna takes about 45 minutes of active prep and at least that much time to cook. And you don’t make lasagna for two. To make a lasagna is to plan a feast.
And that’s exactly what this lasagna recipe is all about: one big, flavourful celebration of plants. This dish is layer upon layer of vegetables. It’s super yummy and crazy energizing – so you’ll have plenty of steam to rock around the Christmas tree until Santa comes a knocking.
This lasagna is about to become my new Christmas Eve tradition…I hope that it will become yours as well!
Epic Vegan Lasagna with Celeriac Noodles
- 1 large celeriac (celery root), trimmed and peeled
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and micro grated
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Pinch of dried thyme leaves
- 5 oz clamshell of baby spinach
- 1-650 ml jar of pasta sauce -(I've used both Rao's (fancy!) and Everland (sensible!) with success)
- For the ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 cups raw almonds, soaked in hot water for 30 min
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- 1/2 cup reshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and micro grated
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Next, make the almond ricotta:
- Steam cauliflower florets for 8-10 min until fork tender. Lift out of steamer using a slotted spoon (leave steamer assembled) into a food processor and let cool slightly
- If you want the ricotta to look white, slip the almonds out of their skins while the cauliflower cooks and place the naked almonds into the food processor along with the cauliflower. It's extra work...but it adds to the look. If you don't mind a speckled look to your ricotta, leave the skins on - it's healthier that way!
- Then, add the garlic and salt and process until mixture is finely chopped.
- Scrape the sides of the processor and start drizzling in the lemon juice as you process to form a thick paste. Set ricotta aside while you prepare the rest of the lasagna.
- Cut celeriac into two halves. Using a mandolin on the thinnest setting, finely slice the celeriac and set aside. Using a mandolin is important here as if the celeriac isn't paper thin, it will take forever to cook!
- In the same steamer you used for the cauliflower, steam the spinach until wilted, about a minute. Let cool and squeeze water out.
- Next, cook the mushrooms: in a large skillet over medium high, heat the olive oil and add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally until they get a nice sear and start to release their water. Try not to fuss with them too much so they can brown.
- Once they release their water, add the garlic and stir constantly until water evaporates. Turn off heat and add salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Now, assemble the lasagna. In a 9 x 12 casserole dish, spread on 1/3 of the pasta sauce. Next, add a layer of celeriac noodles, overlapping them slightly.
- Dollop on half of the ricotta mixture, pat gently to evenly distribute. Layer on half of the mushrooms and spinach.
- Next, follow the same pattern: celeriac, remaining half of the ricotta, remaining half of the spinach and mushrooms and top with 1/3 of the sauce. Add a third layer of celeriac and spread on the last 1/3 of the sauce.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake at 400 for 45-50 minutes, checking the celeriac for tenderness. I like it with a bit of crunch left.
- Remove foil and bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes to get the sauce bubbling on top. Let sit for ten minutes before garnishing with pine nuts and basil and serve.
- A few tips:If you prefer a more traditional lasagna, you could totally substitute oven ready noodles for the celeriac layers. Just be sure to cook according to the package directions. I do still recommend that you add the celeriac! You could add 3 cups of grated celeriac to the spinach and steam to boost the veggie layer.
- If you want the celeriac to be as soft as wheat noodles, parboil them for five minutes in a large pot of salted boiling water. Let cool slightly before handling.
- Finally! Yes, you can totally make this ahead of time. I recommend no earlier than morning of.