This is the best, naturally gluten-free, and vegan lasagna I have ever eaten. It is seriously bursting with flavor. Just imagine this: vegan ground beef cooked in hearty marinara sauce layered with spinach cashew alfredo sauce and sweet cabbage leaves.
Soak TVP (textured vegetable protein) aka soy curls in hot water or veggie broth for 30 minutes. If they softened, drain the soaking water and squeeze any additional moisture out of the soy curls with your hands. Now, they are ready to be used as "raw ground beef".
Soak cashews in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain it.
Blanch the fresh spinach leaves by dropping them in hot water for 1 minute. Drain it and squeeze out any remaining water with your hands.
Peel the larger leaves off the cabbage head. Discard the first outer leaf and use the ones below that. Cook the leaves in hot water for 5-8 minutes until they are soft to the touch. Chill them before using them for pasta.
TVP as Vegan Ground Beef in Marinara Sauce
Peel and chop the onion and cook it lightly in olive oil until it turns glossy. Add peeled and chopped garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add the pre-soaked and squeezed TVP (soy curls) and stir it for a couple of times.
Finally, add the chopped tomatoes, the tomato sauce and the seasoning (sweet paprika powder, basil, oregano, salt, and pepper) and cook for 5 minutes.
Spinach Cashew Alfredo
Use a regular blender, a hand blender, or a food processor, whichever gives you a creamier result.
Add the soaked cashews, the pre-cooked spinach, 1 clove of garlic in whole, dairy-free milk and seasoning (nutmeg, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper) and blend them until creamy.
Layering the Vegan Cabbage Lasagna
To ensure that the cabbage leaves do not stick to the bottom, we place some vegan ground beef and marinara sauce first.
The layers should look like the following: pre-cooked cabbage leaves, vegan ground beef in marinara sauce, spinach alfredo sauce, dairy-free cheese.
And repeat... We needed the above combination 6 times to fill a 9 x 7 x 3 inch (23 x 18 x 8 cm) oven-safe glass dish.
Pre-heat oven for 400 F (200 degrees) and bake this vegan cabbage lasagna for 30 minutes.
Top tips to make perfect vegan ground beef from soy curls:
Soaking TVP (soy curls) in veggie broth gives them an additional flavor boost.
If you soak them in cold water, you may need 2-3 hours to get them ready for cooking.
TVP doesn't need to be cooked long as they are already soft after soaking.
We used canned chopped tomatoes as it is not always easy to get juicy fresh tomatoes.
You can use red onion instead of purple onion.
Top tips to make perfect spinach cashew alfredo sauce:
We blanch the spinach leaves as it is easier to handle and blend them afterward. The more scientific explanation is that it removes the oxalic acid to better absorb the calcium. That being said, you can absolutely use fresh spinach leaves without blanching.
Nutmeg and nutritional yeast are optional ingredients, although they give the alfredo more flavor.
Can you use regular or gluten-free pasta instead of cabbage leaves?
If you eat soy-free or prefer a whole foods substitute, we have step-by-step instructions for you to make minced walnut-cauliflower "meat" within our Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese recipe. That will also work perfectly.