substitute for cheese in lasagna

Lasagna, a beloved Italian dish, often features layers of cheesy goodness. However, if you’re looking to avoid dairy or explore different flavors, finding substitutes for cheese is essential. This article delves into the purpose of cheese in lasagna, reasons for seeking alternatives, and a selection of cheese substitutes that can elevate your lasagna without compromising on taste.

Purpose of Cheese in Lasagna:

  • Flavor Elevator: Cheese contributes a rich, savory taste that defines the classic lasagna flavor.
  • Texture Enhancer: Its gooey, melted consistency adds a satisfying mouthfeel to each bite.
  • Binding Agent: Cheese helps hold the layers of lasagna together for a cohesive structure.
  • Browning and Crust Formation: Cheese on top creates a golden crust that adds visual and textural appeal.
  • Creaminess: Melted cheese adds a creamy element that balances the dish’s components.

Why Replace Cheese in Lasagna:

  • Dairy-Free Diets: Non-dairy substitutes cater to individuals with lactose intolerance or those following vegan diets.
  • Health Considerations: Some alternatives offer lower saturated fats and are suitable for health-conscious choices.
  • Flavor Variation: Exploring different flavors can bring a unique twist to the traditional lasagna taste.
  • Plant-Based Lifestyle: Alternatives align with plant-based, vegetarian, or vegan lifestyles.
  • Texture Adaptation: Certain substitutes can mimic the creamy and gooey texture of cheese.

Substitute: Vegan Cheese Shreds

Vegan cheese shreds offer a familiar taste and meltability to lasagna, creating a cheesy experience.

Nutrient Amount per 1 oz
Calories 70
Total Fats 5g
Carbohydrates 3g
Proteins 1g

How to Make: Use store-bought vegan cheese shreds and layer them between lasagna noodles.

Substitute: Cashew Ricotta

Cashew ricotta adds a creamy and tangy element, mimicking the texture of traditional ricotta cheese.

Nutrient Amount per 1 oz
Calories 90
Total Fats 7g
Carbohydrates 5g
Proteins 3g

How to Make: Blend soaked cashews with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, and salt to create cashew ricotta.

Substitute: Tofu Ricotta

Tofu ricotta offers a protein-rich alternative with a crumbly texture that resembles traditional ricotta cheese.

Nutrient Amount per 1 oz
Calories 20
Total Fats 1g
Carbohydrates 1g
Proteins 2g

How to Make: Blend soft tofu with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, and herbs to create tofu ricotta.

Substitute: Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast adds a cheesy flavor and slight nuttiness to lasagna, enhancing the overall taste profile.

Nutrient Amount per 1 oz
Calories 80
Total Fats 0.5g
Carbohydrates 7g
Proteins 9g

How to Make: Sprinkle nutritional yeast over layers of lasagna to add a cheesy flavor.

Substitute: Eggplant Slices

Thinly sliced and roasted eggplant layers can provide a meaty texture and a unique twist to your lasagna.

Nutrient Amount per 1 oz
Calories 10
Total Fats 0g
Carbohydrates 2g
Proteins 0g

How to Make: Roast thinly sliced eggplant and layer it between the lasagna sheets.


  • Will vegan cheese shreds melt like real cheese? Yes, many brands of vegan cheese shreds melt similarly to dairy cheese.
  • Can I use cashew ricotta in other dishes? Absolutely, cashew ricotta is versatile and can be used in various recipes.
  • Is tofu ricotta suitable for a protein boost? Yes, tofu ricotta is a good source of plant-based protein.
  • Can nutritional yeast replace the flavor of cheese entirely? While it adds a cheesy flavor, it won’t replicate the exact taste of cheese.


Discovering cheese substitutes for lasagna opens up a world of possibilities, allowing you to tailor the dish to your dietary preferences and explore new flavors. Whether you opt for vegan cheese shreds, creamy cashew ricotta, protein-rich tofu ricotta, nutty nutritional yeast, or hearty eggplant slices, each alternative adds its unique character to the lasagna experience. Embrace these substitutes to create a lasagna that caters to your taste buds and dietary choices.

Yuki Tanaka

Written by Yuki Tanaka

I'm from Utashinai and I love tasty food and nice words. I also write blogs, take pictures of food, and create recipes. Cooking and baking are my favorite things to do!

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