I love lasagna. Like... LOVE it.
It is one of my favorite dishes to eat because it looks like you slaved for hours and hours on it when in reality, you just whipped it together in about 45 minutes.
I used to make my lasagna using a cashew-ricotta cheese, but lately I've been craving a creamier cheese substitute. I was researching recipes when it occurred to me that a vegan béchamel--AKA white sauce-- could solve all of my problems.
A classic white sauce is actually delicious. Many times chefs weigh the sauce down with loads of cheese, but the delicate flavor is amazing on its own. Creamy, rich, and full of savory flavor, this sauce is the perfect vegan substitute for a thick cheese sauce. The best part is that you don't need things like nutritional yeast or apple cider vinegar to give it a rich flavor. You only need one seasoning--nutmeg! I do make my béchamel a little differently in an effort to reduce the amount of added fat but you won't notice. I promise.
This lasagna is hearty, creamy, and will satisfy every Italian dish craving you could ever have. Full of whole grains and vegetables, you won't believe this isn't a Cheat Day meal. :-)
Cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the package. Set aside.
Place the mushrooms, onion, and garlic into a food processor and process until thoroughly combined in an even mince.
Place the mushroom, onion, and garlic into a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated from the mushrooms and the onions are soft.
Combine the red pepper flakes, fennel seed (if using), oregano, dried basil, salt, pepper, and sugar in a small bowl.
Add the quinoa to the mushroom/onion/garlic. Cook for about three minutes, stirring to combine.
Add the diced and crushed tomatoes. If you are using wine, add it at this time.
Add the seasoning mixture, give it a stir, and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat to low and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
Finely mince the onion.
Place the onion, olive oil, and vegetable stock into a small saucepan over medium heat.
Cook for about five to seven minutes, until the onions are soft.
Add the flour and cook for about four minutes, whisking constantly to eliminate lumps.
Add the almond milk or cashew cream. Cook for about fifteen minutes, stirring regularly to prevent lumps from forming. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Once the béchamel has reached your desired level of thickness turn off the heat.
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil.
Cook the lasagna noodles for about eight minutes or until soft and pliable.
Lay the cooked lasagna flat on a greased baking sheet.
Place about 1/2 cup of the bolognese in the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Add three lasagna sheets on top.
Spread a layer of béchamel--about a third of it--on top of the noodles. Add about a third of the bolognese on top of the béchamel. Repeat the layers twice, ending with a heaping layer of bolognese.
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Let stand for five minutes before serving.