vegetable lasagna with kale, beluga lentils & carrot

This lasagna–like most lasagnas–takes a bit of prep (sauteeing veggies, blending things, boiling noodles, chopping a variety of ingredients, etc. etc.) but, when you have a big dinner to host –and yes, even your nightly family dinner counts as big when this lasagna is involved–the extra bit of effort is totally worth it. I really enjoy spacing my lasagna making out throughout the day: lentils in the early morning, sauce later in the day and finally assembling about an hour before dinner is served.

My son has been requesting lasagna each night for about a month now, and I’ve finally gotten around to making it for him *insert guilty feelings here*. He’s a big fan of noodley, saucy, and/or cheesy meals (pierogies, mac and cheese, ravioli to name a few), so naturally, lasagna is one of his favorite dishes of all. He should be quite pleased about dinner tonight, even if I did happen to sneak a few extra veggies in there for good measure.

A few tips:

When making lasagna, I cook the pasta just until tender,  and since I use gluten-free noodles, this ends up being somewhere around 3 to 4 minutes shy of the recommended cooking time. They tend to fall apart less and I find that the pasta is much easier to work with.

I highly recommend broiling the lasagna for five minutes at the end of cooking. It gets the cheese all nice and gooey and the kale turns into teeny tiny crispy kale chips that adds a nice touch to the ensemble.

This dish can also be prepared ahead of time, frozen and then baked in the oven for about 1  1/2 hours at 350 °F if you’re into prepping ahead–which is a wonderful idea that I can never seem to make a reality. For those of you who do, I envy your time management skills.

for the sauce:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 28 ounces canned whole tomatoes + juice
  • 1/2 cup roasted red pepper (jarred works great)
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 1/2 teaspoon additional sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon additional olive oil

for the lentils:

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked (black) beluga lentils
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia
  • 2 tablespoons water

and the other ingredients:

  • 1 box gluten-free (or regular if you can do wheat!) lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups chopped kale (stems removed–save them for smoothies!), sauteed lightly just until bright green and wilted
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 2 to 3 cups vegan mozzerella (recommend Daiya!)
Start with making the sauce:
In a large frying pan over high heat, saute the onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil until onions are browned on edges and translucent. Add in the canned tomatoes and roasted red peppers and reduce the heat to medium, stirring often and slightly breaking up the tomatoes as they cook using a wooden fork. Simmer for about 10 minutes, and then remove from the heat.
Let cool slightly and then transfer to a food processor or blender. Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients and blend until smooth.
Set aside.
Make the lentil mix:
To make the lentils, simply combine all the ingredients into a medium size bowl, stirring well to evenly distribute herbs and spices.
Set aside.
And the rest:
Preheat your oven to 350 °F and very lightly brush a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with olive oil.
Cook noodles according to package directions, cutting the cooking time shy  3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the noodles stick to the bottom of the pot, or tear as you stir. It’s a delicate balance, folks. Once noodles have cooked through, rinse gently with cold water and seperate noodles onto a sheet of parchment or a silicone mat.
Cover the bottom of the baking dish evenly with about 1/4 inch of sauce. Place down the lasagna noodles to adequately cover the sauce (as best you can) and then layer with kale (go lightly with the kale), carrots, cheese, and lentils. Top with another layer of noodles, and repeat layering. Do this until you are out of noodles and filling. Top the final layer of noodles with sauce, and then a thick layer of cheese, and finally with the remaining kale.
Bake in the preheated oven uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Broil for 5 more minutes until cheese is bubbly and kale is crispy (optional). Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting.

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15 Responses to vegetable lasagna with kale, beluga lentils & carrot

  1. debbie says:

    Do you have to use black beluga lentils for this recipe or can standard lentils be used? Also, is there any preparation foe the lentils themselves such as soaking? Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Debbie,

      You could use any variety of lentils, but I like beluga best in this recipe because of their texture–which is a little chewier than French Lentils. I don’t tend to soak my lentils, generally just cook them at a slow simmer until tender.

  2. This is really awesome that this includes lentils! I’ve been stuck on making lentil stew every weekend, but this would be a delicious change! I think the rest of the family would like it too.

  3. Quick tip. Lasagna IS a lot of work. So if I am going to make one, I make TWO. One to eat right away, and one to freeze for later. It doesn’t really take any more time to do the second one once you have everything out and going…

    That second lasagna tastes SOOO GOOD because you don’t have to do the cooking the second time :-)

    Momma G

  4. This looks so delicious! Def making this one.

  5. keishua says:

    yummy! i love the idea of using kale in lasagna. i usually use spinach in mine. it would be nice to change it up.

  6. Lia says:

    Lasagna is one of those dishes that is so rewarding to eat and something of a meditation to make. I like saying that for multi-step dishes that tend to take more time! This looks just great though, and I’d love to use it for a holiday dinner party.

  7. Eileen says:

    I’ve never heard of making lasagna with lentils! Super interesting–I’m going to have to give this a try.

  8. moonsword says:

    Gorgeously yumful! Thanks so much for the recipe!
    I always loved it when my mom would get that super gooey cheese with slightly crunchy top layer effect on her lasagnas. Maybe the broil step was the key. Cheers!

  9. Angela says:

    This post seriously came at the perfect time! I just organized my cabinets yesterday and found whole wheat lasagna noodles, lentils, and canned tomatoes! I’m going to try this tonight and make small batches that I can freeze. I’m like you, I always wish I could freeze ahead of time, but then never FIND the time!

  10. Tiffany says:

    I’ve never made lasagne with a lentil filling, but it sounds wonderful.

  11. FoodFeud says:

    I like! Is it difficult to eat? Like, do the lentils roll out? I’ve had a lasagna with peas in it before and it was a little weird but I like this protein addition.

    • allyson says:

      Um, they don’t really roll… but the lentils that don’t get all mixed in with the cheese and sauce sort of fall to the wayside. :) I asked my family’s opinion on this and they say it’s pretty similar to the tofu ricotta/ground “meat” lasagna that I make–which is pretty traditional.

  12. Lisa says:

    This lasagna looks absolutely delicious. Bookmarked and will be making it this weekend!