I'll be completely honest: I haven't made lasagna the entire time I've been vegan. I know! I love lasagna, so I have no idea what's up with that. I have had a fair few, however, and one thing I wanted to do different here was to make one without soy and without using anything processed (read: no vegan cheese, no tofu). Using both of those ingredients can make for a really delicious vegan lasagna (and one that is still way better for you than traditional lasagna), but, in general, I try to keep it as unprocessed as possible. Not to mention I was convinced it could be just as delicious without those things. I think I succeeded!
Enter: sweet potatoes. I'd seen a few sweet potato lasagna recipes floating around Pinterest, so I spent a little while Googling different recipes, and this one ended up being inspired by a mix of this recipe from Glow Kitchen and this one from Engine 2.
I actually still can't believe how good it turned out! Even Brocke (who loves cheese) gave it two thumbs up.
Sweet Potato Lasagna
Yield: 12 servings
4 sweet potatoes
4 yellow squash
1 yellow onion
4 garlic cloves
10-12 roma tomatoes
1 jar pasta sauce
1 box whole grain lasagna noodles (I used no-boil whole wheat)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Whole grain mustard
1/2 cup walnuts
Granulated or powdered garlic
Granulated or powdered onion
Pink Himalayan sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Poke several holes in the sweet potatoes with a knife or fork and microwave for 12-15 minutes.
3. Cut the ends off and use a mandolin (or knife) to evenly slice the zucchini and squash lengthwise. I used the larger of the two blades for my mandolin (about 3mm). If they are too thin, they won't hold up well to cooking. Set aside.
4. Dice onions, garlic, and tomatoes. Heat a nonstick skillet and saute onions and garlic using water as necessary in place of oil. (I avoid it when possible, but if you do prefer to use oil, I would recommend coconut oil.) When the onions look like they're starting to turn translucent, add in the tomatoes. Season to taste with garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, sea salt, and black pepper. I like to taste as I go, so I generally don't use measurements, but don't be afraid of seasoning!
5. Remove the skin from the sweet potatoes and put them in a small to medium sized bowl. Add in the nutritional yeast and mustard. For the mustard, I used about 1 teaspoon. Finally, add in garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper to taste.
6. Time to assemble! (I used an approximately 10.5" x 16" glass pan.) Start with a layer of sauce, followed by a layer of noodles, and then another layer of sauce (the sauce helps to cook the no-boil noodles).
7. On top of the sauce, add a layer of zucchini. (When adding each of the raw zucchini or squash, I sprinkled with seasoning after laying them down: sea salt, black pepper, basil, and oregano) Cover the zucchini with a layer of the sweet potato mixture and then follow with a layer of squash (don't forget to season!).
8. Add a layer of fresh spinach, and then top with a layer of the tomato/garlic/onion mixture. Top this with a layer of pasta, and then another layer of sauce.
9. Add another layer of zucchini, then sweet potato, then squash. (Don't forget to season after the zucchini and squash!)
10. Add another layer of spinach. Top this with sauce. Then add the final layer of pasta, and top with sauce to finish.
11. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. While it's cooking, crush the 1/2 cup of walnuts (you can probably use a food processor if you'd like, but I just used the bottom of my measuring cup). When the 45 minutes is up, remove the foil, sprinkle with walnuts, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Notes: You may want to consider having two jars of sauce and two boxes of noodles on hand. I found that I didn't end up with quite as much sauce as I would have like for the top layer, and I was only able to put half the amount of noodles on the middle noodle layer. However, I feel like I could solve this by portioning the sauce a little better next time, and the lack of noodles in the middle didn't bother me, especially since with two boxes I would have had quite a bit left over, so just something to think about! I also had leftover zucchini and squash, but the ones I used were rather large. Same with the sweet potatoes; the amount I had was more than fine, but I wouldn't have minded a bit more. I might use 5 sweet potatoes next time if they were on the small side.