Vegetarian chickpea lasagna Bolognese

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna Bolognese is the ultimate comfort food. 

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

Back when I posted the cauliflower pesto recipe, I mentioned that my mom’s spaghetti Bolognese was my favorite dish, well one of many. While I don’t miss eating meat, I do really miss my mom’s cooking. And one of the things she did best was a  lasagna Bolognese, obviously very similar to spaghetti Bolognese, but with a lot more cheese.

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

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, the pasta layered just perfectly and 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 quickly heated in the oven or microwave tastes divine, although I also always stole a few bites while it was still cold too.

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

As mentioned before, I don’t really miss meat and  I’m not too crazy about meat substitutes either. And it’s a shame, but there are things you can’t even really find a substitute for, like beef tartar, Karst prosciutto or Baccalà Mantecato.

Bolognese sauce is one of those rare foods that holds a special place in my heart because of my mom. And so when certain days come when I feel nostalgic and a bit gloomy and I want a big plate of something comforting, I think of this lasagna.

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

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.

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

And on the topic of béchamel, I’m definitely a béchamel gal, if there is such a thing! I’ve seen a lot of lasagna recipes online over the years which call for ricotta mixture instead of béchamel and I always find this interesting. I have to admit I’ve never made a lasagna with ricotta before, because I really feel béchamel is as important as the other layers, a real classic, and I just don’t have the heart to skip on it. And when prepared well, it makes all the difference and any lasagna truly amazing.

My mom always made her lasagna twice as high as these individual lasagnas, with more layers and I often do that when I make a spinach lasagna. But for this version, I really prefer the smaller size served in stoneware pans, I feel they make the lasagna look even more comforting and each portion easy to reheat.

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

It really hardly gets better than this Vegetarian chickpea lasagna Bolognese. Being the ultimate comfort food, you’ll wish you had room for more after you eat a serving.

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna bolognese is the ultimate comfort food!

Vegetarian chickpea lasagna Bolognese

This recipe makes two lasagnas and serves two people very comfortably, but can be split into 4 portions. Baked in two 20x14x5 cm (7.8×5.5×2 inch) stoneware rectangular dishes.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 2 - 4 servings



  • 300 gr 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 400 gr 14 oz or 1 small can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 10-15 grams 1 bunch of parsley and fresh basil (or one of the two)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil + more for greasing the pans
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 40 gr 1/3 stick unsalted butter
  • 40 gr 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 400 ml 1 2/3 cups very warm milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

The rest

  • 10 uncooked pasta sheets
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons freshly ground Parmesan
  • 100 gr aged, low moisture mozzarella
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley


  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (392°F). Grease two baking dishes with oil and place them on a baking sheet. Set aside.

First prepare the “bolognese”:

  • In a blender combine the tomatoes, chickpeas, parsley and basil. Pulse until the chickpeas are crushed and crumbly, but not completely mashed. You want the sauce to have texture.
  • Warm a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil, once warm add the oregano and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the tomato chickpea mixture and mix in the paprika, nutmeg, salt and sugar and bring to a simmer. Set aside.
  • In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Set aside.

Make the béchamel:

  • 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.
  • Let the béchamel cook for about 5 minutes, keep on stirring. Season it with salt, nutmeg and few grinds of black pepper.
  • Once it thickens up set it aside and start preparing the lasagnas.


  • Put 4 pasta sheets into the pot with hot water. This will soften them and make them easier to handle. (After about 30-60 seconds take them out. )
  • Put a few teaspoons of the bolognese and béchamel on the bottom of each pan. Put two pasta sheets into each one. Top with a few tablespoons of bolognese, gently spread it over all pasta, then add 2-3 tablespoons of bechamel and top again with the pasta; and so on. Top the last pasta layer with any leftover sauce and béchamel, sprinkle parmesan on top and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove the baking sheet with the pans from the oven and top each lasagna with sliced mozzarella and sprinkle with parsley.
  • Bake for another 10 minutes until the cheese is completely melted and bubbly.
  • Serve immediately or keep covered with aluminum foil until you are ready to serve.
  • (optional) Sprinkle with additional chopped parsley or basil.


I always make the “bolognese” with both parsley and basil, but if I don’t have one or the other on hand I just use whatever I do have. Basil does add a special kick to the tomatoes, but parsley alone is just as great too.
I do 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.
This individual lasagnas 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.
The easiest way to assemble the lasagna is if you lay everything in front of you - the pans, the pasta, the bolognese, the béchamel and cheese. Then you can just work in an order and not skip a step.
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.
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. I always warm my milk in the microwave as it’s fast and easy.
If you feel this recipe uses too much cheese, feel free to skip either Parmesan or the mozzarella, whichever you prefer.
Grated Edam cheese is great too, if you don't have Parmesan or mozzarella on hand.
If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can finely chop all the ingredients needed for the chickpea bolognese.
Once it’s done a lasagna will stay warm for up to an hour. It can be easily reheated in the microwave or in the oven set to 180°C. Store it in the fridge for up to two - three days, if you manage to stay away for that long.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: European, Italian
Author: Alice
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  1. Kelsey M wrote:

    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 🙂


    Posted 4.20.15 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

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

      Posted 4.21.15
    • Angela wrote:

      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.

      Posted 1.18.20
    • Alice wrote:

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

      Posted 1.18.20
  2. Care V. wrote:

    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!

    Posted 9.23.15 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      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! 🙂

      Posted 9.23.15
  3. Fey wrote:

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

    Posted 5.29.16 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

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

      Posted 5.29.16
  4. Camille wrote:

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

    Posted 2.15.18 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

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

      Posted 2.16.18
  5. Leigh wrote:

    So I just made this today and it was sooo amazing! I’ve always eaten meat but recently become vegetarian so I’m not yet over the depth of flavour I know meat can bring to a good casserole or such like.

    I doubled up the quantities and before adding the Bolognese sauce I sautéed some onions in butter with two cloves of crushed garlic and a large sprig of rosemary (later removed, prior to assembly). I also used gluten free lasagne sheets and made a gluten free bechamel.

    Wow, my tummy is so big now after eating more than my fair portion size! I e bookmarked this recipe as will definitely make again!! Thank you ?

    Posted 5.28.18 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      So happy you like this, Leigh! Thank you.
      And those are some great recipe twists (the onions + rosemary, GF pasta, ..), I need to try that sometime. 🙂

      Posted 5.28.18
  6. Tammy Cohen wrote:

    Based on the book eat right for your type, type A blood can’t eat chickpeas, tomatoes or white flour.
    How come you are unsung all these for this lasagne?
    It looks delicious by the way.

    Posted 8.23.20 Reply
    • Alice wrote:

      Hi Tammy, I’m using these because I like them!

      Posted 8.23.20