This vegetarian chickpea lasagna Bolognese is my pride and joy. Based on a classic lasagna, the vegetarian bolognese sauce is made with tomatoes and chickpeas. It is flavorful and meaty. Layered with classic bechamel sauce and cheese on top, you’ll never miss meat when eating this satisfying meal.

vegetarian bolognese lasagna with cheese

I make this when I miss my mom’s cooking, which is all the time. One of the things she did best was a  lasagna Bolognese. It was my favorite thing to eat growing up.

Every layer in her lasagna was perfection. She was absolutely picky when it came to meat and so the Bolognese was always amazing. The béchamel was creamy without any lumps and the pasta layered just perfectly. Plus she never got skimpy with cheese.

And the best part was that she always made a lasagna so big, plenty was left for later. And honestly, leftover lasagna tastes even better. I think it tastes great cold, but I usually quickly warmed it up in the microwave.

About the recipe

I’m calling this a vegetarian lasagna Bolognese because it tastes and looks a lot like a regular lasagna alla Bolognese. I wasn’t trying to make it taste like meat, but overall it comes close to the classic flavors.

The basic sauce is made of chickpeas and whole peeled tomatoes, which gives a texture and flavor similar to bolognese. The rest of the ingredients are the same as in any other classic lasagna – pasta, cheese, béchamel sauce.

To me a lasagna has to have béchamel. It’s a white sauce made with butter, flour and milk. I’ve seen a lot of lasagna recipes online over the years which call for ricotta mixture instead of béchamel, which is an option. But my recipe calls for classic flavor, so don’t skip this sauce.

How to make lasagna

Start by choosing your baking dish. This recipe makes enough for one small lasagna, made in an 8×8 inch dish or similar equivalents. It’s also a great recipe for individual lasagna.

Once you have the baking dish, measure out how much lasagna sheets you need to cover the bottom and then multiply that by 3 or 4, depending on how many layers you want. This way you can be sure you have enough pasta sheets before you commit to doing anything.

lasagna sheets

Then you make the chickpea sauce first. It’s easy to make with a blender. It’ll simmer slowly on the stove as you make the bechamel.

vegetarian bolognese sauce

Bechamel comes together really quickly too, so you make this last.

bechamel sauce

And they all you have to do is assemble the lasagna. I am using pasta sheets that don’t need to be precooked. But I still always soften them in a pot of boiling water, because it makes the assembly much easier.

If you’re using fresh pasta sheets, you do not need to precook them.

assembling lasagna
assembling lasagna

I bake the lasagna first with just a layer of parmesan cheese. Then I take it out and add mozzarella on top and bake for another 15 minutes or so. Alternately, you could add all the cheese right away and bake the lasagna covered with aluminum foil for the first 20-30 minutes. This is because we don7t want to burn the cheese while the pasta cooks.

mozzarella on lasagna
Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese

It hardly gets better than this vegetarian Bolognese lasagna with chickpeas. It is the most comforting and filling meal.

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

More comfort recipes to explore

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese
vegetarian bolognese lasagna with chickpeas


Vegetarian chickpea lasagna Bolognese

Hearty lasagna made with a vegetarian bolognese sauce, based on tomatoes and chickpeas. Layered with classic béchamel sauce and pasta.
Prep 30 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4


Chickpea bolognese
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 14 oz can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 bunch parsley or basil or both
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cups milk
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper
For the lasagna
  • 10 uncooked pasta sheets
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons freshly ground Parmesan
  • 3.5 oz aged low moisture mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley


  • Preheat the oven to 395°F (200°C). Add a glug of oil to your baking dish to coat the bottom and set it aside. Bring a large pot of very salted water to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and leave it like that.
  • Make the chickpea bolognese: In a blender combine the tomatoes, chickpeas and parsley (and basil, if using). Pulse until the chickpeas are crushed and crumbly, but not completely mashed. You want the sauce to have texture.
  • Warm a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil, oregano and paprika. Cook for about 30 seconds or until fragrant, lower the heat to low and add the tomato chickpea mixture. Whisk in sugar, salt and nutmeg and bring to a simmer. Taste and season with more salt if it's bland and more sugar if it's too acidic for your taste. Let it on a low simmer as you do the rest.
  • Make the béchamel: Warm milk in your microwave or over the stove and set it aside, you need it very warm. In a small saucepan melt the butter. Immediately add the flour and whisk until you get a smooth paste. Slowly add the warm milk, stirring constantly.
  • Keep stirring and cook the sauce for about 5 minutes, until it thickens but is still spreadable. Season it with salt, nutmeg and few grinds of black pepper. Remove from heat.
Assemble lasagna
  • Put pasta sheets into the pot with hot water for at least 60 seconds. This will soften them and make them easier to handle.
  • Add a few tablespoons of chickpea sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Add a layer of pasta sheets. Top with an even layer of bolognese (don't make it too thick, just enough that it covers the pasta). Continue with the bechamel sauce – drizzle it all over and gently spread it around, just enough to mostly cover the area. Cover with a single layer of pasta sheets, then repeat the process as many times as needed until you get to the last layer of pasta and little sauce.
  • Add the remaining sauces on top, covering all of the pasta in a thin layer. Sprinkle Parmesan all over and bake lasagna for 20 minutes.
  • Remove lasagna from the oven and add the mozzarella and a sprinkle of parsley. Bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and bubbly.
  • Allow the lasagna to sit for about 10-15 minutes before serving. If waiting for longer, cover it with aluminum foil. Keep leftover lasagna covered in the refrigerator and eat with 2 days.


I use pasta sheets that do not need to be cooked prior to using. But I still prefer to soak them in hot water for up to a minute, just to soften them up and make the pasta easier to handle and fold if necessary.
The béchamel thickens as it cooks and once it’s cooked it’ll keep on thickening. If you notice it’s gotten too thick while you’re assembling your lasagna, thin it out with a tablespoon (or more) of really warm milk. 
This individual lasagnas in the photos only have a few layers. I use exactly 5 pasta sheets per pan, 2 on the bottom and then 1 1/2 for the second and third layer. If you want more pasta you can easily add more, you can also make more layers. If making a bigger lasagna, double the ingredients for the bolognese and béchamel and know that the baking time will be longer.
To test if the pasta is cooked, use a cake tester or sharp thin knife and pierce the lasagna all to the bottom of the pan. If the knife slides in, all the sheets are cooked. If they’re still raw, you’ll know immediately as you’ll feel the resistance of trying to slide a tester in.

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  1. Kelsey M says:

    This looks wonderful! My mom never really made lasagna but I’ve really been getting into it myself recently. And yes, a good béchamel sauce makes everything amazing 🙂


    1. Alice says:

      Thanks, glad to see you’re a béchamel fan too! 🙂

    2. Angela says:

      I love this recipe. I have two children one reformed ‘fussy eater’ And one passionate vegetarian and climate warrior (9 years old)! And they both very much enjoy this simple meal as does my very physically active husband.

      Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom and delights. It has been a real life changing decision to support our little one and embrace flexitarianism as a family.

    3. Alice says:

      Awww, thank you for sharing, Angela! I love that you’re so supportive of your kiddo and that your family enjoys this recipe. 🙂

  2. Care V. says:

    Made this last night for two very loyal carnivores, and they absolutely loved it. The “bolognese” is such a clever idea!

    I added some garlic powder to the béchamel, and some red pepper flakes to the chickpea mixture. Made 1 large lasagna, cooked at 400 F for about 25 min. + 10 min.

    Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Alice says:

      Hi Care, I’m so happy to hear that!
      And I love your additions to the sauces, I should try that the next time I make this.

      Thank you for sharing, your photo is making me really hungry right now! 🙂

  3. Fey says:

    What is ‘unstilted butter’? I have searched the internet and cannot find a definition or description of unstilted butter. Thanks.

    1. Alice says:

      Hi, Fey! Thanks for pointing that out, that’s supposed to be unsalted butter. I apologize for the mistake, I fixed the typo now.

  4. Camille says:

    I made your bolognese recipe and my lasagna is in the oven. The sauce is heavenly, thanks so much for the great idea!!

    1. Alice says:

      Thank you so much, Camille! I’m so happy you like it, it’s one of my favorite things to make. 🙂