What to do when an omnivore wants to invite a couple of vegans to a dinner party? If you’re my friend Chris, you spend months reading recipes until you find it, the perfect wowza! dish.

Only an over-achiever like Chris would attempt a vegan lasagna. Frankly, if I had landed on the recipe I would have kept scrolling. Lasagnas take a lot of time, and eliminating dairy is a challenge.

Chris nailed it. Even her meat-loving, fly-fisherman, vegan-skeptical husband said, more please. The casserole was flawless and beyond delicious. I’ve added it to my dinner party repertoire.

And yet.

Chris had many challenges, which I asked her to share with you.

Reading it, you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll feel Chris’s pain. You’ll cheer for the damn no-cook noodles, and best of all, you’ll learn how to make Vegan Lasagna Bolognese.

Chris Makes a Serious Eats, Seriously Amazing Vegan Lasagna

I collected vegan recipes for months anticipating making dinner for Max & Marla. None of them particularly inspired me. Tofu was vetoed by my husband.

Then I found the perfect recipe: Serious Eats Vegan Lasagna alla Bolognese. It involved seitan, not tofu. Despite my daughter’s admonition, Mom, tofu is so much better than seitan, I went for it.

The Challenge: Finding the ingredients became a treasure hunt.

  • Non-sweetened almond milk
  • Coconut oil
  • Red miso
  • Vegan lasagna noodles (no eggs)
  • Seitan
  • Vegan parmesan

The Learning: I should have gone to Whole Foods for everything. But I was traveling, and panicked I wouldn’t be able to find an ingredient at the last minute, so I started ordering on-line. Big mistake.

The Result: Miso and lasagna noodles to last a lifetime.

  • 2 tubs of red miso, because Amazon didn’t deliver the first on time.
  • 2 CASES of lasagna noodles instead of two boxes (my mistake!)

The Complaint: The recipe said to crumble the mushrooms and seitan by hand, not to chop. It turns out seitan has the consistency of those spongy ear plugs, and near impossible to crumble. I did resort to chopping.

The Noodles: The most confounding ingredient had nothing to do with the vegan nature of the dish. It was pre-cooking the no-cook noodles. The Internet said no-cook can take up too much moisture, so it’s better to pre-cook them. But they stuck together while cooking. I burned my hands (twice) unsticking them as they boiled.

The End: I had so much fun, and the dish did come out really well. My husband was the one who asked for seconds! And I did serve tofu after all – in a raspberry mousse for dessert. It was so worth it to go big and embrace the unusual.

Marla’s 2-Cents

  • Go to Whole Foods and buy everything at once
  • No need to follow ingredient list so closely; I would have used any non-dairy milk I had around (or what was available at Whole Foods)
  • I almost deleted Chris’s description of seitan, because it really got my hackles up. I LOVE seitan. This was a personal slam. I will invite her to dinner for my World Famous Seitan and Sweet Potato Tacos, and she will change her mind.
  • I always avoid no-cook noodles. Don’t trust them. Most noodles are eggless, easy to find.
  • I can’t wait for Chris to invite us over again. She’s an A+ vegan chef!