Throw it all in the slow cooker and forget about it! That’s all you have to do with this slow cooker lasagna stew topped with pumpkin ricotta. Vegan, oil-free, nut-free, and easily gluten-free with only 10 minutes of prep required. Take your next weekday dinner up a notch with this fall twist on a classic comfort dish.
I love lasagna! On busy weeknights though…I don’t love the layering work required. Enter this slow cooker lasagna strew with pumpkin ricotta. It’s seriously just like de-constructed lasagna. And this version has an autumn twist! So grab your slow cooker and food processor. Get ready for a delicious meal that requires only 10 minutes of preparation.
Slow Cooker Lasagna Stew
This recipe is really great for those short on time or beginners who don’t have much kitchen practice yet. Simply dice you onion and toss it into the slow cooker with the drained and rinsed lentils, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, and herbs. Set your slow cooker to high and let it do the work for you. Test your lentils after 5 hours to make sure that they’re pretty well cooked. Next, break up your lasagna noodles, stir them into the stew, and make sure they’re covered with liquid. Cook for an additional hour until the noodles are al dente and the lentils are soft.
Lasagna Stew Tips
Be sure to use regular lasagna noodles. By that I mean, noodles that require boiling. If all you have are no-boil lasagna noodles I suggest adding them about 30 minutes before the stew is finished. If you cook them for 60 minutes they will be mush.
Also, when you add the noodles you may need to add more vegetable broth. I would start by adding 1/2 a cup. Then determine if the consistency is to your liking. Adding extra liquid will also ensure that there is enough to cook the noodles.
Vegan Pumpkin Ricotta
If you’ve never made vegan ricotta don’t be intimidated. It’s amazingly simple, satisfying, and delicious. I have amped up the flavor of this slow cooker lasagna stew by adding a fall flavored pumpkin ricotta topping. And it’s creamy and savory without the use of nuts or oil. Let’s dive in, shall we?
First, make sure that your tofu is extra firm and is thoroughly pressed to remove excess liquid. Real ricotta cheese has very low moisture. So, in order to achieve that texture with our vegan version, we need to get as much of the liquid out of the tofu as possible. I have found that pressing my tofu for about 30 minutes achieves the best vegan ricotta texture and low moisture level. The tofu can be pressed ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Secondly, this is a savory pumpkin ricotta. You can definitely make this a sweet version by adding more pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup, while reducing 0r eliminating the use of sage and fresh basil. This sweet type of ricotta would work better in a dessert recipe though seeing as how this recipe is meant to be a savory dish.
Finally, once you have pressed your tofu and determined your spice preferences, throw all the ricotta ingredients into your food processor. Pulse the mixture and be sure to stop occasionally to scrape down the sides. Make sure that the ricotta is evenly seasoned and that all the tofu clumps have been worked out.
I hope that you will enjoy this fall twist on a classic comfort food. And if you give this recipe a try please rate it and leave me comments below. I’d love to hear from you.
Ingredient Health Benefits
Basil- phytochemicals; volatile oils (antibacterial properties)
Onion- antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate
Pumpkin- fiber, potassium, selenium, vitamin A
Spinach- fiber; vitamin K; calcium; iron; magnesium; manganese; folate; vitamin B; vitamin A; glycolipids (cancer cell growth suppressors)
Tomatoes- vitamin C; potassium; polyphenols
Tofu- calcium, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, isoflavones
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Lasagna Stew with Pumpkin Ricotta
Vegan, oil-free, nut-free, and easily gluten-free with only 10 minutes of prep required. Take your next quick dinner up a notch with this fall twist on a classic comfort dish.
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 2, 15oz can diced tomatoes
- 1, 15oz can crushed tomatoes
- 3 cups vegetable broth (see notes*)
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 5 lasagna noodles**, broken into large chunks (gluten-free if necessary)
- 2 cups fresh spinach (optional)
- 8 oz extra firm tofu, pressed
- ¼ cup vegan parmesan (see notes***)
- ⅓ cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ½ tsp sage
- 4-5 fresh basil leaves
- water to thin (see notes****)
Slow Cooker Lasagna Stew
In a large, 8 quart slow cooker place all lasagna stew ingredients except lasagna noodles. Stir to combine and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 until lentils are soft but not soggy.
In the last 60 minutes of cooking, add broken lasagna noodles to stew, cover and continue to cook until lasagna noodles are al dente. If adding spinach, shut off the slow cooker and add to lasanga stew. Stir to combine and cover allowing spinach to wilt for 10-15 minutes. Top with vegan pumpkin ricotta, vegan parmesan cheese, and fresh basil.
Vegan Pumpkin Ricotta
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy but not runny. If the mixture is too dry add water 1 tsp at a time until desired texture is reached. Serve over slow cooker lasagna stew. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
*Adding 3 cups of vegetable broth with result in a stew-like consistency. For a thinner stew or soup add an extra 1-2 cups of broth.
**Do not use no boil lasagna noodles.
***I use this recipe from Choosing Chia.
****Only add in water after all other ricotta ingredients have been added and processed. If the ricotta looks too thick, add water 1 tsp at a time until ricotta is thick and creamy but not runny.