Maria Faires Meatless Quinoa Vegetable Lasagna


Makes: 8 servings Active time: 45 minutes Total: 1 1/2 hours

This recipe has become a favorite meatless recipe. It uses highly nutritious quinoa in the most delicious way: paired with red sauce, vegetables and cheese!

Quinoa is officially a seed but is classified as a whole grain and is a great source of plant protein and fiber. Unlike some plant proteins, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own. One cup cooked provides about 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.

Its easy to mix and match vegetables. I have successfully made it with roasted eggplant, instead of zucchini or spinach and have also had success if I didn’t happen to have either the mushrooms, zucchini or spinach on hand. Power greens (baby spinach, kale and chard) also work well in this.

If you do choose to add some meat, use half a pound of browned and cooked lean ground beef or lean ground turkey breast. And diced tofu also works well here as its flavor is masked by the spaghetti sauce and the tofu adds another source of complete yet, plant-based protein. 

And this reheats in the microwave so leftovers can be taken to work for lunch.

1 3/4 cups water

1 cup quinoa

2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 ½ cups tomato sauce or 1 jar prepared pasta sauce

2 cups low-fat cottage cheese (or reduced fat ricotta)

1 large egg, beaten

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

2 cups sliced zucchini

2 cups packed fresh spinach, tough stems removed (or package of frozen spinach, thawed, drained and liquid squeezed out)

1 1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

  1. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 13 minutes. Remove from heat. Fluff with a fork. Evenly spread the quinoa in the prepared dish. Save pan for next step.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. 3. Wipe out the saucepan you used for the quinoa, then add oil and heat over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, until transparent and starting to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the mushrooms; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are softened and very little moisture is left in the pan, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sauce. Stir until hot. Remove from heat.
  3. Combine cottage cheese and egg in a medium bowl; mix well. Stir in Parmesan, basil and oregano. And stir in frozen spinach if using.
  4. Spread one-half of the sauce over the quinoa. Make a layer of all the zucchini, then all the cottage cheese mixture, then all the spinach. Finish with the remaining sauce and sprinkle the mozzarella on top.
  5. Bake the lasagna uncovered until it is hot and the cheese is melted and slightly browned around the edges, 35 minutes. Let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
Nutrition Facts
Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 333
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9 g 14 %
Saturated Fat 3 g 13 %
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 36 mg 12 %
Sodium 415 mg 17 %
Potassium 1001 mg 29 %
Total Carbohydrate 53 g 18 %
Dietary Fiber 20 g 79 %
Sugars 8 g
Protein 17 g 35 %
Vitamin A 38 %
Vitamin C 17 %
Calcium 76 %
Iron 92 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.
Share Button

Plant-Based Sources of Protein

Tofu and Vegetables

Plant-based diets are good for  your heart, your weight and your overall health. Eating little meat and a variety of colorful fruit and vegetables, grains, and peas and beans helps reduce risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Vegetarians are those who only eat plant-based foods. Vegetarians do not eat meat, fish, or poultry. Vegans, in addition to being vegetarian, do not eat other animal products and by-products such as eggs, dairy products.

Plant-based proteins can be easily incorporated into meals. For example, quinoa and buckwheat can be served in place of traditional sides such as potatoes or rice. Beans and lentils are great protein additions to put in soups and salads. Other plant-based proteins such as tempeh, seitan and tofu can be cooked as you would meat (broiled, baked, grilled or sautéed) and enjoyed a number of ways.

The key to a nutritionally sound vegetarian or vegan plant-based diet is dietary variety. The healthiest vegan diet includes  a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, plenty of leafy greens, whole grain products, nuts, seeds, legumes, beans, seitan, tofu, and soybeans. This is to ensure adequate protein in addition to iron, calcium, omega-3s and B12 which can be lacking in the vegan diet. 

Green Peas One Cup 7.9 gram
Sunflower seed kernels Quarter cup7.3 grams
Sesame seeds or poppy seedsPer ounce, about two tablespoons5.4 grams
Chia Seeds 2 tablespoons4 grams
Hemp seeds2 tablespoons10 grams
Quinoa (a complete protein) One cup8 grams
SeitanHalf cup36 grams
Soy milkOne cup4 to 8 grams
Kidney beansOne cup26 grams
ChickpeasOne cup15 grams
TempehOne cup30 grams
Tofu (a complete protein) One cup40 grams
EdamameOne cup17 grams
BuckwheatOne cup6 grams
Mycoprotein (Quorn)Half cup 13 grams
Peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter2 Tablespoons8 grams
Tempeh One cup 31 grams
Lentils One cup 18 grams
Seitan, also called wheat gluten or wheat meat 3 ounces 18 grams
Ezekiel Bread1 slice4 grams
Tahini 2 Tablespoon5.2 grams
Amaranth (a complete protein) 1/2 cup uncooked 13 grams
Brown Rice 1 cup cooked 5 grams
Baked Beans1 cup 12 grams
Veggie Burger 1 patty 18 grams
Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), cooked1/2 cup cooked15 grams
Spinach, cooked1 cup 5 grams
Soy Milk 1 cup 10 grams
Potato1 Medium 4 grams
Almonds1/4 cup5 grams


Share Button