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Crispy, smoky lentils on top of lasagna noodles in a creamy sauce make this smoky skillet lasagna totally addictive. 

smoky skillet lasagna in the pan, topped with crispy lentils and fresh herbs
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This is a simple weeknight skillet lasagna with creamy, smoky sauce topped with lentils that have been crisped up in a skillet and coated with spices, soy sauce, and maple syrup to give them an incredible, bacon-like flavor. They make an amazing topping on this creamy pasta! And everything is cooked in just 1 Skillet!

You can make a big batch of these smoky lentils and use them over pastas, salads, bowls, and whatever other dishes you like.

I love skillet meals! Try my various skillet pastas and lasagnas and my skillet enchilada.  

close-up of smoky skillet lasagna in the pan, topped with crispy lentils and fresh herbs

Why You’ll Love Smoky Skillet Lasagna

  • crispy lentils have rich, bacon-y flavor
  • creamy pasta with a delicious sauce
  • one-pot meal
  • ready in under an hour
  • nut-free with gluten-free and soy-free options
fork taking a bite of smoky skillet lasagna our of the pan

More Vegan Skillet Lasagna Recipes

Smoky Skillet Lasagna with Crispy Lentils

5 from 17 votes
By: Vegan Richa
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Crispy, smoky lentils on top of lasagna noodles in a creamy sauce make this smoky skillet lasagna totally addictive. And it’s ready to eat in less than an hour!
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Ingredients 
 

For the crispy lentils:

  • 3/4 cup cooked brown lentils, or canned drained
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce, or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

For the pasta:

  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3 to 4 ounces of sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herbs
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, or use gluten-free flour
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or tamari
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup water, or broth
  • 15 ounce can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 7 no-boil lasagna sheets, , or Use 5 regular lasagna sheets, broken up. Or use about 5 ounces of pasta of choice.
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons vegan parmesan
  • 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed

For garnish:

  • more vegan parmesan, black pepper, fresh herbs such as basil, oregano

Instructions 

Make the crispy lentils.

  • Drain the cooked lentils, let them drain for at least 15 minutes before using, so that any excess moisture dries out. You can drain it in a strainer, and then put some paper towels under the strainer to absorb any excess moisture.
  • Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and then add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the lentils to the skillet and spread them out evenly and let them cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, stir or flip and continue to cook them until they start to get puffy and start to crisp up on some of the edges. This can take anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes, depending on your skillet and the stove.
  • Once the lentils are starting to get puffy, brown and crispy on the edges, add in the soy sauce, maple syrup, and the spices, tossing to coat the lentils really well. Continue to cook the lentils to crisp them up a bit more, another 2 minutes or so. Taste and adjust flavor, add a bit of salt, if needed, (add a few drops of liquid smoke for extra smokyness) then remove the lentils from the skillet.

Make the pasta:

  • Add the teaspoon of oil to the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, mushroom, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well, and continue cook until the onion starts to turn translucent. 3-4 mins. Then, add in all of the dry spices and herbs and the flour and mix, then cook for a minute, then mix in the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and half the water. Mix really well, so that all of the flour mixes in and there are no lumps. Then, add in the coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix in and bring to a boil.
  • Add the broken up lasagna sheets to the skillet, remaining water, and mix and press the lasagna sheet pieces into the mixture.
  • Cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 15 to 18 minutes. Stir once in between to make sure that the sheets are not sticking to the bottom. If the pasta needs more liquid, then add in another 1/2 to 1 cup of hot water.
  • Once the lasagna noodles are cooked to preference, add in the pepper flakes, vegan parmesan, and spinach and mix in. Cover the lid, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes or so, then turn off the heat.
  • Then, let the skillet sit for a few minutes, open the lid, and either or transfer the lasagna into serving bowls and top those bowls with the crispy lentils or top the skillet itself with the crispy lentils and some fresh herbs, black pepper, and more vegan parmesan, and serve.
  • Store: refrigerate for upto 3 days. Store the lentils separately so that they don’t absorb too much moisture from the lasagna. Reheat in the microwave or skillet

Video

Notes

This recipe is nut-free.
Coconut-free:  use other non-dairy cream. I like to use cashew cream, which makes it super creamy: blend 1/2 cup of cashews with 3/4 cups of water and use. Add 2 cups water/broth to cook the pasta and add cashew cream once the pasta is cooked, along with parm and spinach. Mix and bring to boil.
Glutenfree: use gluten-free lasagna noodles or other gluten-free pasta, tamari instead of soy sauce, and gluten-free flour.
To make this recipe soy-free, omit the soy sauce and use coconut aminos 
 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 290kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 11g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 562mg, Potassium: 507mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 2799IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 115mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe? Rate and comment below!
lentils, lasagna sheets, and other skillet lasagna ingredients in bowls on a kitchen counter

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • lentils – Cooked or canned brown lentils cook up crispy in the skillet.
  • bacon seasoning – Soy sauce, maple syrup, onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika give the lentils a bacon-like flavor that’s so delicious on this smoky skillet lasagna!
  • oil – To sauté.
  • onion and mushrooms – For umami and texture.
  • dried herbs and spices – Onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, Italian herbs, and crushed red pepper give the sauce a smoky, rich flavor.
  • flour – To thicken the sauce. You can use gluten-free flour, if needed.
  • soy sauce – Adds umami and saltiness to the sauce. Use tamari for gluten-free.
  • balsamic vinegar – Adds a hint of sweet and tang to the sauce that’s so good with the smoky flavors!
  • coconut milk – For creaminess. You can use cashew cream instead for coconut-free.
  • nutritional yeast – Gives the sauce a cheesy flavor and helps thicken it even more.
  • lasagna sheets – No boil or regular, Broken up lasagna sheets are your pasta. You can use regular or gluten-free lasagna sheets. You can also use other pasta, if you like.
  • vegan parmesan – Gives the sauce creaminess and a great flavor!
  • frozen spinach, thawed – For some green veggie action!

Tips

  • Measure all of your ingredients out while the lentils drain to save time cooking.
  • Double or triple the lentils, so you’ll have extra to top other dishes. You’ll be glad you did!
  • Make sure the pan has plenty of liquid, so you can submerge the pasta sheets. Add more liquid when you stop to stir, if needed.

How to Make Smoky Skillet Lasagna with Crispy Lentils

First, let’s make the crispy lentils. 

Drain the cooked lentils, let them drain for at least 15 minutes before using, so that any excess moisture dries out. You can drain it in a strainer, and then put some paper towels under the strainer to absorb any excess moisture. 

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and then add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the lentils to the skillet and spread them out evenly and let them cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

lentils in the pan before cooking

Stir or flip and continue to cook them until they start to get puffy and start to crisp up on some of the edges. This can take anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes, depending on your skillet and the stove. 

Once the lentils are starting to get golden brown, puffy and crispy on the edges, add in the soy sauce, maple syrup, and the spices, tossing to coat the lentils really well. Continue to cook the lentils to crisp them up a bit more, another 2 minutes or so. Taste and adjust flavor, add a bit of salt, if needed, and then remove the lentils from the skillet. 

smoky, crispy lentils in the pan after cooking

Now, make the pasta.

Add the teaspoon of oil to the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, mushroom, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well, and continue cook until the onion starts to turn translucent. 3-4 mins

onion and mushrooms in the pan, before cooking

Add in all of the dry spices and herbs and the flour and mix, then cook for a minute, then mix in the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and half of the water. Mix really well, so that all of the flour mixes in and there are no lumps.

onion and mushrooms in the pan, after cooking, with dried spices added
adding flour to the cooked mushrooms and onions

Then, add in the coconut milk, nutritional yeast, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix in and bring to a boil. 

adding coconut milk to the mushroom-onion mixture
mixing coconut milk into the sauce

Add the broken up lasagna sheets to the skillet, along with remaining half ( 1/2 cup) of water, and mix and press the lasagna sheet pieces into the mixture. 

adding broken up lasagna noodles to the sauce
lasagna noodles, submerged in the smoky sauce, before cooking

Cover the pan with a lid, and cook for 15 to 18 minutes. Stir once in between to make sure that the sheets are not sticking to the bottom. If it the pasta needs more liquid and the sauce is drying out, then add in another 1/2 to 1 cup of hot water. 

lasagna noodles in the smoky sauce, after cooking

Once the lasagna noodles are cooked to preference, add in the pepper flakes, vegan parmesan, and spinach and mix in. Cover the lid, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 minutes or so, then turn off the heat. 

adding vegan parmesan and nutritional yeast to the pan of smoky skillet lasagna
adding spinach to the smoky skillet lasagna
smoky skillet lasagna, after mixing in the spinach

Then, let the skillet sit for a few minutes, open the lid, and either or transfer the lasagna into serving bowls and top those bowls with the crispy lentils or top the skillet itself with the crispy lentils and some fresh herbs, black pepper, and more vegan parmesan, and serve.

smoky skillet lasagna in the pan, topped with crispy lentils
smoky skillet lasagna in the pan, topped with crispy lentils and fresh herbs

Frequently Asked Questions

Is skillet lasagna allergy friendly?

This recipe is  nut-free. 

If you don’t want to use coconut milk, you can use other non-dairy cream. I like to use cashew cream, which makes it super creamy: blend 1/2 cup of cashews with 3/4 cups of water and use. Add 2 cups water/broth to cook the pasta and add cashew cream once the pasta is cooked, along with parm and spinach. Mix and bring to boil.

This recipe can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free lasagna noodles or other gluten-free pasta, tamari instead of soy sauce, and gluten-free flour.

To make this recipe soy-free, omit the soy sauce. 

What is skillet lasagna?

Skillet lasagna is a one-pan meal where you cook lasagna noodles and sauce all together in a skillet, rather than as a casserole. It’s usually quicker and easier than making a traditional lasagna.

About Richa

Hi, I'm Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.

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5 from 17 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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33 Comments

  1. Mandy R says:

    5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight and it was so delicious! I am the only vegan at our house but the whole family loved it – even our picky eater. My husband requested this be added to the regular dinner rotation as well. 😀 I followed the recipe as is. The only thing I would do differently next time is trying canned lentils. I cooked some dry ones I already had on hand but overcooked them before using them in this recipe. So they were a little mushy when I tried crisping them in the skillet. But they still tasted good. I just don’t think they had the right texture.

    1. Richa says:

      Yay! Yes you need al dente lentils. Canned work best, or if you cook at home , use the heartier black lentils and cook them to just about done

  2. Wendy says:

    5 stars
    This was so good! The flavourful sauce and the delicious lentils were a winning combination! Thank you.

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      yay! thank you!

  3. Melany says:

    5 stars
    It was a lot of steps but totally worth it and so delicious. The noodles did stick after adding water but next time I will be stirring it more often! Thanks for another tasty recipe!

    1. Richa says:

      Awesome! Add a bit more liquid and yea stir often (depends on the pan)

  4. Ali says:

    5 stars
    What a great dish! I followed the recipe almost verbatim, with the only change being the addition of another pasta shape to round out my few lasagna sheets.

    I thought the coconut milk would be unusual with the Italian herbs, and I almost subbed cashew cream, but the result was so delicious. Savoury, creamy, smoky and utterly wonderful! I couldn’t detect any coconut flavour.

    Although their flavour was great, my lentils weren’t crispy. I think it might be because my skillet was too small. What do you think, Richa?

    1. Richa says:

      Probably the smaller skillet or a beet for longer cook time based on yum our pan or stove. Just keep crisping them for longer

  5. Lesley says:

    5 stars
    This rating is for the crispy bacon lentils. I needed a quick topping for vegan Mac n Cheeze. Canned organic lentils made the perfect double batch portion. Delicious! Glad there are extras to sprinkle on salad & baked sweet potatoes.
    Watch carefully at the end, so the lentils don’t burn.
    Will be making these yummy lentils again with the lasagna.

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      yay! thank you so much

  6. Megan says:

    5 stars
    This was so delicious and will now be in my regular recipe rotation! I loved the cashew cream sub listed at the bottom of the recipe. It worked out great! Can’t wait to make this again.

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      yay! thank you

  7. Shelley says:

    5 stars
    This was soooo delicious! I love how the mushrooms soaked up the sauce… and the crispy lentils, yum!

    1. Vegan Richa Support says:

      yay! thank you