Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna

gluten-free-lasagna-featured-image

Going out for Valentine’s Day can be…a lot. Between finding a restaurant, making reservations, realizing the only two time slots left are 4:45 or 9 pm, figuring out what to do with the kids, rushing around to make it on time, being ushered through your dinner in a hurry so your table will be free for the next reservation, and somehow being charged more for less food than if it were a regular Wednesday, you don’t even get to really connect with your valentine. Not this year! We’ve got the perfect recipe so you can stay home, enjoy a delicious dinner, and, most importantly, actually spend some time with your special someone. Our Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna will have you both falling in love all over again.

This plant based lasagna is as wholesome as it is delightful. Layers of velvety eggplant, sautéed veggies, vibrant homemade marinara sauce, and simple dairy-free ricotta cheese all come together for a dish that’s fancy enough for date night but satisfying enough to please any omnivore. No valentine? No problem. This incredibly yummy lasagna is great as a dinner for one (no need to share the leftovers!) or any time of year.

wfpb eggplant lasagna

What’s inside 

Eggplant: Seems obvious, right? Not only does it lend a meaty texture to the lasagna, but it also serves as a tasty, toothsome, and nutritious gluten-free alternative to traditional pasta. If you don’t typically like eggplant, we think this might be the dish that changes your mind.

plant based gluten free eggplant lasagna

Extra firm tofu: The base of our dairy-free ricotta. Its crumbly texture and mild flavor make it perfect for seasoning to perfection and layering between oven-roasted eggplant and robust marinara sauce.

Nutritional yeast: Also known lovingly as “nooch,” this is a non-active yeast used in tons of plant based recipes due to its nutty, subtle cheesy flavor. It’s usually easily found in health food stores and some conventional grocery stores.

easy tofu ricotta

Apple cider vinegar: Another darling of plant based eaters, apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice. We prefer unfiltered, organic vinegar with “the mother.” The mother is what’s left of the good bacteria used to ferment the apple juice. It contains probiotic cultures that are good for digestion as well as other things.

How to make Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna 

We’re going to prepare the elements we’ll be layering later:

  1. Marinara Sauce
  2. Roasted eggplant slices
  3. Dairy-free ricotta cheese
  4. Sautéed veggies
easy eggplant lasagna

You can do all of these up to one day in advance and store them separately in the fridge. Pull everything out to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour before assembling your lasagna. 

First, whip up a batch of Marinara Sauce. The recipe makes 3½ cups, which is how much you’ll need for the lasagna.

Next, rinse your tofu and get it pressed. If you don’t have a fancy tofu press, our go-to is the very technical put the tofu on a plate, place a cutting board on top, then put something heavy on top of the cutting board method.

plant based ricotta

You don’t want a lot of height stacked on top, so go with something relatively squat and heavy, like your grandmother’s prized copy of Joy of Cooking or a large cast iron skillet. Let the excess liquid drain from the pressed tofu for 10 to 15 minutes. Once it’s done, remove the cutting board and weights, and set aside.

While your tofu does its thing, preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC) and slice your eggplant. Long, thin slices about ¼-inch thick work best. A sharp chef’s knife is good for this, or you can use a mandolin for quick, even slices. Just be sure to use the hand guard that came with it, or you’ll make a romantic trip to the ER. 

noodle free eggplant lasagna

Now, let’s roast your eggplant. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, place your eggplant slices on it in a single layer, and season with salt and pepper. If your slices don’t fit on a single pan, use two and rotate them midway through baking. Pop into the oven for 10 minutes. Then, remove the baking sheet(s) and set aside. You can leave the oven on if you’re making everything on the same day. If preparing ahead of time, turn off the oven, and allow the eggplant to cool completely before storing in the fridge. 

vegan gluten free eggplant lasagna

It’s dairy-free ricotta time, baby! Crumble your pressed tofu into a mixing bowl using clean hands. How finely you crumble it is up to you. We like the pieces to be pea-sized or smaller. Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, dried dill, salt, apple cider vinegar, and water. Stir until well combined, taste for seasoning, and set aside.

vegan ricotta

To sauté the veggies, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add your chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the pieces start to soften and go slightly translucent at the edges, about 3 minutes. Add a splash of water if anything starts to stick.

veggie mix

Next, dump in the mushrooms, salt, and parsley. Sauté for another 3 minutes, then add the spinach, turn off the heat, and stir until the spinach is wilted and combined. 

eggplant lasagna sautéed

Let’s assemble our Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna 

Now that we’ve got all of our individual elements prepared, we’re ready to layer! Preheat your oven to 350ºF (175ºC) if you haven’t already, and grab a 9×13-inch casserole dish.

First, spread about ½ cup of marinara sauce evenly on the bottom of the dish. Then, follow with a single layer of eggplant slices and half of the veggie mixture.

Spread another ½ cup of marinara sauce on top of the veggies, then layer on another single layer of eggplant slices, and follow with the remaining veggie mixture.

Put another ½ cup of marinara sauce on top, followed by the remaining eggplant, then spread all of the dairy-free ricotta evenly on top. Cover everything with the remaining 2 cups of marinara sauce. 

Bake uncovered until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow it to settle for 5-10 minutes, then slice it up and serve. If you want to spice things up, sprinkle crushed red pepper on the top. 

dairy free eggplant lasagna
vegan eggplant lasagna

Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna

Serves 8–10
Author: Molly Patrick

Equipment

  • 1 9×13-inch baking dish (23 x 33 cm / 3 quarts)

Ingredients

Marinara Sauce

Roasted eggplant

  • 2 large eggplants, sliced lengthwise into ¼-inch thick slices
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dairy-free ricotta cheese

  • 1 14-oz package extra firm tofu, drained, rinsed, and pressed (395 g)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (25 g)
  • ¼ cup water (65 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Sautéed veggies

  • 1 cup red onion, chopped (140 g)
  • 5 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced (385 g / can sub with button or baby bellas)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped (10 g / any variety)
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped into large pieces (60 g)

Instructions

Bake the eggplant

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Place the eggplant slices in a single layer on the baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven, and set aside.

Make the dairy-free ricotta cheese

  • Using your preferred method, press your tofu for 10–15 minutes
  • Crumble the tofu in a mixing bowl until there are no big pieces, and then add the nutritional yeast, water, vinegar, garlic powder, dried dill, and salt. Stir until everything is well combined and set aside. 

Make the sautéed veggies

  • Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, adding a splash of water if they start to stick. 
  • Stir in the mushrooms, salt, and parsley and saute for an additional 3 minutes. Add the spinach, turn off the heat, and stir until the spinach is combined. Set aside.

Assemble your lasagna

  • Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) if it's not already.
  • Evenly spread ½ cup of Marinara Sauce on the bottom of your baking dish. Follow with a single layer of roasted eggplant slices over the sauce. Then, spread ½ of the sautéed veggies on top.
  • Layer another ½ cup of Marinara Sauce over the veggies, followed by another layer of roasted eggplant slices, and all of the remaining veggies.
  • Spread another ½ cup of Marinara Sauce on top, then the remaining eggplant, all of the dairy-free ricotta, and the final 2 cups of the Marinara Sauce.
  • Place your lasagna in the oven uncovered and bake for 30 minutes. Allow to cool for 5–10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Serving suggestions 

This sweetheart of a recipe makes one 9×13-inch Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna, enough to serve eight to 10 people. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. 

This yummy, filling lasagna is great on its own, but you can dress up your meal by serving it with a side salad. We like these: 

Not feeling leafy? Serve it up with this incredible Pan con Tomate, or keep it simple with sliced whole grain bread. You really can’t go wrong.

Room for dessert? You’ll be ending the night with mouthgasms after enjoying this Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake or these Dark Chocolate Almond Truffles

whole food plant based eggplant lasagna

Have you started your love affair with our Gluten-Free Eggplant Lasagna? This plant-based lasagna originally appeared on our blog in 2014, and many people have fallen in love with it. Tell us all about the meet-cute in the comments below.

Whether you’re enjoying a romantic candlelit dinner for two, treating yourself to a quiet plant based gluten-free dinner alone, or feeding the neighborhood, we hope you’ll savor the simple act of love that is cooking and eating plants. 

Here’s to good food and great company!

Xo 
Team Dirty

Get a weekly dose of inspiration to eat more plants and celebrate imperfection

Our Sweary Saturday Love Letters are written by our ex-boozer, ex-smoker, plant-loving co-founder, Molly Patrick.

28 Comments

  1. Derek Toner on December 19, 2016 at 9:56 am

    This looks amazing! Should I dry the tofu before crumbling or break up fresh out the container?

    • Clean Food Dirty Girl on December 25, 2016 at 10:34 am

      Hi Derek, you’ll want to dry the tofu by pressing it first then crumble it. This removes the extra moisture from it that will make the dish more soggy/wet with the extra water from the tofu.

  2. eva on August 15, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Hi! I can’t find the link with recipe of marinara sauce.

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on August 15, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      In step 2 of “assemble” click on the words marinara sauce

      • Tara on October 18, 2017 at 10:33 am

        Hi, I click on the marinara sauce link and it takes me to an error saying it may be a fraudulent site and when i select go anyways its asking me to login even though i already am. I am not sure if this is correct.

        • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on October 19, 2017 at 7:55 am

          Hi Tara,

          Sorry for the trouble and thanks for pointing this out, it was linked to our old site but it’s been updated now.

          Karen
          Team Dirty Girl

  3. angela on November 7, 2017 at 10:58 am

    5 stars
    does this freeze well

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on November 7, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Hi Angela,

      I think as long as you cooked it before freezing, it would freeze just fine.

      Karen
      Team Dirty Girl

      • Natalie on February 10, 2020 at 3:37 pm

        5 stars
        The tofu cheese is surprisingly good. I can finally eat lasagna without the guilt and upset stomach from dairy. This recipe is a keeper!

        • Stephanie Campbell on February 10, 2020 at 4:31 pm

          The tofu ricotta is a fave of mine too, Natalie! I’ve been guilty of eating it with a spoon. 😀

  4. Laura on September 24, 2018 at 8:25 am

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe last night and it turned out awesome – I could not believe that it had 0% added fat and yet tasted so delicious. This is going to be a regular in my recipe rotation now!
    Thank you!!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on September 24, 2018 at 8:32 am

      Woohoo! Thanks for stopping back to share, Laura! ~Karen

  5. Sara on October 1, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    4 stars
    I don’t know what I did. But mine came out so watery. It’s good. But kind of a mess.

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on October 1, 2018 at 7:20 pm

      Hi Sara, I checked with Molly on this one and she’s going to update this recipe shortly to make sure it doesn’t turn out watery if you try it again, we hope you will. Thanks so much for posting this so we could take a closer look at the recipe instructions to make them clearer. ~Karen

    • shruti on April 11, 2019 at 10:49 am

      4 stars
      mine too! there is a lot of excess moisture in the veggie mix, eggplant, and tofu. the flavors were excellent though. next time, I will slice the eggplant thinner and pat down the tofu after I press it, and omit the water from the tofu spice mix. I think with those modifications it should be great!

  6. cecdkc on October 15, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    5 stars
    This was so good I made it twice in as many weeks! Why dill in an Italian dish, though? I used oregano and basil instead.

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on October 16, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      Hi cecdkc, So glad you loved this recipe! I checked with Molly for her inspiration and she says that she sometimes tries different spices that aren’t traditional out of sheer curiosity. She thought it went well with the recipe but it’s totally fine to leave it out. ~Karen

  7. dora on November 14, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Hi Molly,First df all, I just have to tell you again I love you, love you.thank you .My question is ,can I sub whole wheat lasagne noodles for the eggplant?

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on November 15, 2018 at 6:40 am

      Hi Dora, Thanks for sharing this love for Molly! You can definitely sub whole wheat lasagne noodles for the eggplant. You’ll want to go with the no-boil noodles. ~Karen

  8. Amy on March 7, 2019 at 6:56 pm

    5 stars
    We are new to this lifestyle but enjoyed this meal! I have been struggling to find things my family will eat and we got a 4 out of 5 to eat this. My 1 year old twins had 3 servings which I guess makes up for the fact that my 4 year old wouldn’t touch it! I am not much of a mushroom person but still enjoyed it. The marina though…..YUM!! I will be saving that recipe for all sorts of different meals! I have a hard time finding meals to fix and I am now excited to look through all of your other recipes as this was the first one we made!

  9. Jennie on July 31, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    How long will the ricotta keep by itself?

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on August 1, 2019 at 6:48 am

      Hi Jennie, Thanks for stopping by! The ricotta should keep about five days in the refrigerator. ~Karen

  10. lynn on December 4, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    4 stars
    My eggplant did not get cooked enough even after 40 minutes in oven. Next time I will slice in 1/8 slices or bake longer in oven before adding to dish. Also had about 2 inches of liquid in the bottom of pan, so am using the dish as a wonderful pasta sauce. pasta sauce.

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on December 6, 2019 at 1:36 pm

      Hi Lynn! Thanks for stopping by with this note to let us know the eggplant didn’t cook enough and you had so much liquid. Molly is going to make this recipe over the weekend since it’s an oldie. We are super glad you used it as a pasta sauce, though! ~Karen

  11. Rosie on January 23, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    Hi! I want to avoid the tofu, do you have any other suggestions for ricotta? Excited to try this!

    • Team Clean Food Dirty Girl on January 24, 2020 at 11:46 am

      Hi Rosie, check out the Packaged Ingredients tab of our Substitutions spreadsheet for ideas to substitute tofu in this dish. If you can find chickpea tofu (or even hemp tofu), I would go with that, otherwise, any white beans will work. Though, using beans will not have the same mouthfeel – the ricotta will be thinner but still tasty. Tofu, by design, has a denser concentration of protein and fat compared to regular beans. ~Karen

      • Rosie D on January 26, 2020 at 8:27 am

        thank you!

  12. jen on July 12, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    5 stars
    This tasted so good! It did take about 50 minutes until the eggplant was cooked . I will probably bake them 10 to 15 minutes on sheet pan before adding all the other ingredients next time. I also used about 1-2 tbl of fresh dill instead of dried and it was so yummy! Oh and I used kale instead of spinach and cooked it in pan to soften .

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