Say hello to your new Italian-style favorite with a vegan twist—One-Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper Lasagna (Vegan + Gluten-Free Recipe), cooked to perfection in a Dutch oven or large skillet! Best part? This delicious meal turns an American classic into an easy weeknight dinner using gluten-free Mafalda pasta, or 'mini lasagna noodles,' for an authentic touch. With simple and easy steps, you'll have an inexpensive meal that doesn't skimp on flavor. Ideal for those busy evenings, this vegan and gluten-free recipe is a comforting, delicious meal you'll want to add to your weekly rotation.
In today's fast-paced world, easy weeknight inexpensive meals are more than a convenience; they're a necessity for many. Keeping them healthy and packed with nutritious vegetables isn't difficult when you've got cornerstone recipes to fall on, and this is one of mine!
This homemade hamburger helper recipe recipe calls for my Tofu Ground Beef, which can be meal-prepped ahead of time and pulled out for a busy evening when spending a lot of time in the kitchen isn't doable. The Vegan Meal Prep Series leans on the vegan beef recipe to make delicious weeknight dinners like:
In this post, I share the following:
- What brand sells gluten-free Malfada noodles (mini lasagna noodles)
- Ideas for sneaking in more vegetables!
- How to store this dish if you make it in advance or if you're sending it to a friend.
Use this section to jump to areas of interest within the post.
When I was a kid, I had my fair share of boxed mix Hamburger Helper (you guessed it, I'm a 90s kid), and while there wasn't much healthiness associated with boxed dinners, the flavors were divine. Gooey, cheesy, meaty, and comforting.
When creating this delicious weeknight recipe, I kept to three main highlights:
- 30 minutes or less - we're busy, but let's skip those easy meals sitting in boxes on shelves and make homemade, nutritious meals that don't take your entire evening.
- Healthy & homemade with easy ingredients - it's important to use healthy ingredients, mostly from the produce section, for this meal. No chemicals or preservatives are allowed. That's why you're reading this recipe, right? You want a homemade vegan version of your favorite childhood dinner.
- It must be absolutely delicious! - Comfort food at its finest. You'll get a plate full of cheesy, meaty flavors that have you feeling like a kid again.
What you'll need for this one-pot meal:
- Tofu Ground Beef is an option for this recipe. It's what I use and love, but you can use any other vegan ground beef or meat alternative. You can also skip the ground beef entirely if that's your jam!
- Malfada noodles - To keep this recipe gluten-free, you'll need to grab a box of Malfada noodles from Jovial Foods. Most grocery stores & health food stores carry Jovial noodles, but if yours does not, you can order online from Amazon.
- Onion & garlic - diced and minced
- Vegan shredded cheese - is an obvious ingredient for this comforting dish!
- Tomato sauce + diced tomatoes - You can also use marinara sauce instead of tomato sauce.
- Vegan chicken stock or vegetable broth - I prefer chicken-less bullion since it has less sodium, and I can control the taste of the final dish better.
- Spices - You'll want to use Italian seasoning or sprinkle in ¼ teaspoon of each: garlic, oregano, basil, and thyme.
See the recipe card for full quantities and instructions.
Pasta - Use whatever pasta you desire! It doesn't HAVE to be Malfada, although they're cute, aren't they?
Vegan beef - you don't have to make your own, although I recommend it! If it's easier, grab a meat alternative from the store, like a package of vegan Italian sausage, or leave it out and enjoy it meatless by swapping in chopped vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, corn, squash, etc.
Add the onion, garlic, & seasoning:
In an oiled large skillet or Dutch oven, on medium-high heat, add the diced onions and minced garlic to the center and stir until the onion is translucent and fragrant - about 3-5 minutes.
Cook the vegan beef:
Next, add the vegan ground beef crumbles and season with salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic, and onion powder. Allow the spices to bloom with the other ingredients for 2- minutes.
Add the broth, pasta, and sauce:
Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, gluten-free Malfada pasta, and chicken-less broth. Ensure that the noodles are completely covered in the liquid. Add more broth if necessary. Stir everything together so that the noodles are fully covered. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through al dente. The sauce should be well absorbed as well.
Stir in the cheese and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until melted and cheesy. Garnish with parsley or fresh basil and red pepper flakes, and serve warm with a side of garlic bread!
For this recipe, you'll need a large skillet or Dutch oven, stovetop, and wooden spoon for stirring!
Can I make this in advance?
Absolutely! I get it. Sometimes even 30-minute meals are hard to whip up during the week. Make this as directed, allow it to cool, and store it in a freezer-safe, airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
This is also the PERFECT weeknight meal to share with a friend who needs a little love! Don't forget to add a note with reheating instructions, "Warm on medium heat in a skillet for 5 minutes".
Meal prepping for the week? Follow the instructions as directed, allow to cook, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. When ready to eat, reheat on the stove until warm.
Give it your own twist and sneak in some extra veggies! Add whatever is in season: broccoli, zucchini, squash, corn, mushrooms, etc.
Do I have to use Malfada pasta?
Nope! Either break large regular lasagna noodles into small pieces or use whatever small pasta you desire.
What cheese should I use?
Get creative and pick which one your family likes the best. I use shredded cheddar cheese or shredded mozzarella cheese. I think grated parmesan cheese would be delicious too!
More recipe ideas:
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One-Pot Homemade Hamburger Helper Lasagna (Vegan + Gluten-Free Recipe)
- 1 brick Tofu Ground Beef (swap for store-bought vegan beef or meat alternative)
- ¼ cup olive oil (to coat the pan)
- 12 ounces box of gluten-free Malfada pasta
- 1 small onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (Or ½ tablespoons dried thyme, dried sage, dried oregano, and dried basil)
- 1 teapsoon garlic granules
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 24 ounce tomato sauce jar
- 28 ounces fire-roasted diced tomatoes (a large can)
- 2 cups vegan chicken stock (Chicken-less bullion with water)
- 1 cup vegan shredded cheese
- In an oiled large skillet or Dutch oven, on medium-high heat, add the diced onions and minced garlic to the center and stir until the onion is translucent and fragrant - about 3-5 minutes.
- Next, add the vegan ground beef crumbles and season with salt, black pepper, Italian seasoning, garlic, and onion powder. Allow the spices to bloom with the other ingredients for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, gluten-free Malfada pasta, and chicken-less broth. Stir everything together so that the liquid fully covers the noodles. Add more broth if necessary. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked through al dente. The sauce should be well absorbed.
- Stir in the vegan shredded cheese and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute until melted and cheesy. Optionally garnish with parsley and serve warm!