Hearty lentils and tender noodles are simmered up in chunky tomato soup and topped with creamy vegan pesto ricotta to make this cozy vegan lasagna soup.
I keep saying I need to use the slow cooker more often, and I really do! Now that it's getting cooler out I'm all about having dinner simmering on the counter all day, so I think it's going to actually happen.
A few months back I posted this chili mac recipe, which was a revelation. The idea seems really simple, but for some reason it never occurred to me that I could let my liquid ingredients cook up in the slow cooker, and then throw pasta in at the end. With my newfound discovery, I decided it was time for some vegan lasagna soup.
If you haven't yet seen the non-vegan versions of this soup floating around on Pinterest, here's the deal: tomato heavy soup, all the flavors of lasagna, noodles, and in most cases, copious amounts of cheese. Obviously, I had to work around the whole cheese thing.
Fortunately, ricotta cheese is one of the easiest things ever to veganize. I have a few formulas for vegan ricotta, but since I'm trying to keep things simple, I went with my basic cashew-tofu blend, flavored with some premade pesto. Easy!
My vegan lasagna soup turned out to be every bit as satisfying as a big slab of regular old lasagna, and after hanging out in the fridge for a day, the leftovers pretty closely resembled lasagna, thanks to the noodles sucking up most of the broth. This is the perfect healthy, cozy, and meal-worthy soup to have around during the week after a holiday feast.
Make a big batch, pack it up, and enjoy it for days.
Slow Cooker Vegan Lasagna Soup
Hearty lentils and tender noodles are simmered up in chunky tomato soup and topped with creamy vegan pesto ricotta to make this cozy vegan lasagna soup. It's easy to make and hearty enough for a meal!
For the Lasagna Soup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil (stove-top version only)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 ½ cups vegetable broth
- ¾ cup dried brown lentils
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 (14 ounce or 400 gram) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (14 ounce or 400 gram) can crushed tomatoes
- 8 lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
- 3 cups chopped spinach leaves
For the Vegan Pesto Ricotta
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4 to 8 hours, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup unflavored soy or almond milk
- ¼ pound extra firm tofu, drained
- 3 to 4 tablespoons prepared vegan pesto, to taste
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt & pepper, to taste
Make the Lasagna Soup (Stove-Top Version)
Coat the bottom of a large pot with olive oil and place it over medium heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the onion. Cook it for about 5 minutes, until it begins to soften up.
Add the garlic and cook it with the onion for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.
Stir in the broth, lentils, basil, and oregano. Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and allow the soup to simmer for about 30 minutes, until the lentils are just slightly firm at their centers. Add water to the pot if the liquid reduces too much. Prepare the pesto ricotta (instructions below) while the soup simmers.
Stir in the crushed and diced tomatoes, noodles and spinach. Continue simmering the soup until the noodles are tender and the spinach is fully wilted, about 8 to 12 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat and season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the Lasagna Soup (Slow Cooker Version)
Place the broth, onion, garlic, basil, oregano and lentils into slow cooker and stir a few times to blend.
Set the slow cooker to high and cover. Allow the soup to cook until lentils are just a bit on the firm side, about 2 hours.
Add the diced and crushed tomatoes to the slow cooker and stir. Allow to continue cooking on high for 2 to 3 hours more.
Add the noodles and spinach to the slow cooker and give the mixture a stir. Allow the soup to continue cooking until noodles are tender and the spinach is wilted, about 12 minutes.
Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the Vegan Pesto Ricotta
Place the cashews and milk into the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth.
Add the tofu and pulse a few times, just until the mixture takes on a ricotta-like texture. Add pesto to taste, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide soup into bowls, and top each with a dollop of vegan pesto ricotta. Serve.
You may have some extra ricotta. It will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days, or you can freeze it. Use it as a pasta or salad topper, or save it for another batch of soup.