Lasagna Stew with Pumpkin Ricotta

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.

Slow cooker lasagna stew with pumpkin ricotta in a blue bowl with vegan parmesan and pumpkins in the background.

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?

Ricotta tips

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.

Slow cooker lasagna stew with pumpkin ricotta in a blue bowl surrounded by vegan parmesan and pumpkins.

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.

Enjoy friends!

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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: lasagna, lasagna soup, lasanga stew, lentils, pasta, pumpkin, pumpkin ricotta, slow cooker, tofu, vegan, vegan ricotta
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Lasagna Soup

  • 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

Pumpkin Ricotta

  • 8 oz extra firm tofu, pressed
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan see notes***
  • 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****

Instructions

  • 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.

Notes

*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.

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Almond Butter Brownies

These vegan almond butter brownies are moist, chewy, and filled with something unexpectedly good for you. They also happen to be refined sugar free. Get ready to change the way you look at desserts!

White plate filled with almond butter chocolate brownies topped with chocolate chips and slivered almonds

Hey everyone! I hope that this week has treated everyone well and that you’re all looking forward to the weekend as much as I am. My eldest daughter started Kindergarten last Monday so the past few weeks have been an emotional rollercoaster for everyone in the house. New experiences, new schedules, new routines.

It’s been such a challenge trying to make time to do the things I love most which includes cooking. But I think we’re finally starting to hit our stride.

A bite from a almond butter chocolate brownie topped with melted chocolate chip and slivered almonds

Anyway, a few weeks back, to celebrate the beginning of the school year for all the kids on our cul-de-sac, we decided to have a dessert party. It was our last hurrah for summer and we wanted to end the season with a bang. Naturally, when I think of dessert I think of…CHOCOLATE! And what better grab and go, running around playing, form of chocolate is there than a brownie?!

Behold: The chocoloate-y, chewy, moistness that are these vegan almond butter brownies. And you know what I love about giving these brownies to the kids? Why, the secret ingredient of course! Are you ready for this? RED LENTILS! I swear! It may sound crazy but these brownies owe much of their awesomeness to the fiber filled, protein-packed red lentil.

Batch of almond butter chocolate brownies topped with chocolate chips and slivered almonds.  Red lentils in a measuring cup and slivered almonds on the side.

Trust me when I say: you cannot taste the lentils. I’m not sure they would have been a hit with the kids had there been even the slightest “bean-y” flavor. But don’t just take my word for it! Whip these guys up yourself and see just what I’m talking about. Do it! Go! Now! Kids and adults alike will thank you.

White plate with crumbs of the almond butter chocolate brownies

Ingredient Health Benefits

Almonds: Good source of protein, fiber/Vitamin E, magnesium, calcium, iron

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Almond Butter Brownies

These vegan almond butter brownies are moist, chewy, and filled with something unexpectedly good for you. They also happen to be refined sugar free. Get ready to change the way you look at desserts!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: almonds, brownies, chocolate, dessert, lentils
Servings: 9 brownies
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Brownie Batter

  • ½ cup red lentils
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup vegan mini chocolate chips
  • cup smooth almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • cup flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Almond Butter Base

  • ¾ cup crunchy almond butter
  • cup maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened plant-based milk

Toppings

  • slivered almonds
  • mini vegan chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F and line an 8×8 baking dish with parment paper.

Brownie Batter

  • Begin by cooking the red lentils. Sort and thoroughly rinse the lentils. Add water and lentils to a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring to boil thenlower to medium-low heat and cook for 15 minutes until lentisl are very tender and water has been absorbed.
  • While lentils are cooking warm canola oil and maple syrup in a small pot over medium heat. When hot but not boiling remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips. Continue to stir the mixture until all the chips have melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • When the lentils are done cooking add them to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend. Set aside.

Almond Butter Base

  • Whisk together crunchy almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla & plant-based milk. The mixture should be thick and resemble a paste.
  • Evenly press the almond butter base into the bottom of the parchment-lined baking dish. Pour in the brownie batter. Sprinkle with slivered almonds and mini chocolate chips if desired.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes unitl a toothipick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before slicing with a serrated knife.
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