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Walnut Tomato Sauce with Zucchini Lasagna Noodles (Vegan)

Sharon Palmer

Who says that enjoying lasagna has to be an event mired down with gooey cheese, rich meat sauce, and layers of pasta? This recipe for Walnut Tomato Sauce with Zucchini Lasagna Noodles is proof! Offering a modern reinvention of lasagna, this dish is based on zucchini noodles (actual strips of zucchini!) and a tomato sauce filled with the goodness of walnuts in place of ground beef. That’s right! Finely ground walnuts can take on a “meaty” texture in recipes like pasta sauce, reminding you that you won’t even miss the meat in classic recipes like lasagna. Plus, layering in strips of fresh zucchini gives you a chance to both reduce the carbs in a meal, plus amp up the servings of veggies. Now, that’s a recipe for health benefits!

Eating more nuts, such as walnuts, is a great way to boost your health. Research shows that you can reduce your risk of cancer, including colorectal cancer, by including more nuts like walnuts in your diet. Rich in healthy fats (even omega-3s), protein, fiber, and, magnesium, walnuts are a great addition to your diet for heart and brain health, too. That’s why nutrition experts recommend munching on a handful of nuts, including walnuts, every single day. Plus, eating a more plant-based diet, featuring plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and pulses, and less animal protein, is a good strategy to cut your risk of cancer. You don’t need to exclude animal foods completely from your diet if you don’t want to—just start feasting on more meals featuring whole plants, and reap the health rewards. Starting with this super delicious, gorgeous, and easy recipe for Walnut Tomato Zucchini Lasagna, which I partnered with AICR and California Walnuts to develop.

Follow along with this step-by-step guide for making this recipe below.

Step-by-Step Guide:

Slice zucchini into thin strips and drain on paper towels.
Cook onion, garlic, celery, mushrooms, tomato sauce, seasonings, and walnuts in a large pot to make the sauce.
Create a layer of zucchini “noodles”.
Top with walnut tomato sauce and plant-based cheese. Repeat to make three layers.
Bake uncovered until golden brown and tender.

Check out the video for this delicious, plant-based recipe here.

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Walnut Tomato Sauce with Zucchini Lasagna Noodles (Vegan)

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  • Author: The Plant-Powered Dietitian
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Walnuts provide a “meaty” texture in this flavorful, completely plant-based recipe for lasagna, which features layers of zucchini “noodles”, a rich tomato-walnut sauce, and plant-based cheese.



Zucchini “Lasagna Noodles”:

  • 4 small zucchini squash

Walnut Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 5 ounces (about 2 cups) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 32-ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning blend
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups ground walnuts, divided*


  • 1 cup shredded plant-based cheese


  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley


  1. Slice zucchini horizontally into long, thin slices (about 5 horizontal slices per squash). Place on paper towels and set aside (to soak up extra moisture).
  2. Place a Dutch oven or large saucepan on medium heat and add olive oil, bringing it to a heat.
  3. Add onion, garlic, and celery, and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add mushrooms and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Add marinara sauce, tomato paste, soy sauce, red wine, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and salt (optional). Stir well and cover. Simmer over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened and vegetables are tender.
  6. Measure out 1 ¼ cups ground walnuts* (may chop in a food processor or high-powered blender; should resemble consistency of course grains of sand, but should not be overly processed to a flour texture), reserving remaining ¼ cup ground walnuts for topping. Add the 1 ¼ cups ground walnuts to the sauce, and heat for 2 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  8. Spray a 13×9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place one-third (6-7 slices) of the zucchini slices on the bottom of the dish. Layer with one-third of the walnut tomato sauce. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the shredded plant-based cheese. Repeat layers two more times, for a total of three layers of zucchini “noodles”, walnut tomato sauce, and plant-based cheese.
  9. Place baking dish in the oven uncovered for 40 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup ground walnuts over top of lasagna and set oven to broiler setting. Broil for 2 minutes, until golden brown.
  11. Remove from oven, garnish with fresh chopped parsley, slice into squares, and serve immediately.


Written by Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian for the American Institute of Cancer Research and California Walnuts.

  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: American, Italian


  • Serving Size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 282
  • Sugar: 12 g
  • Sodium: 231 mg
  • Fat: 17 g
  • Saturated Fat: 4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 26 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 5 g

Keywords: vegan lasagna, healthy lasagna, vegan zucchini lasagna

For other plant-based lasagna recipes, check out:

Cauliflower Spinach Lasagna
Baked Mediterranean Lasagna

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