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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