The Ultimate 3-Course Vegan and Gluten-Free Meal

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This article was written by an iHerb staff writer.

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For a delicious and budget-friendly night in, try this vegan and gluten-free meal you can make at home.

The meal starts out with a clever Mediterranean appetizer that pairs firm polenta, tangy olives and smoky red peppers. In keeping with the Mediterranean theme, the entreé, is a delicious vegan lasagna made from gluten-free noodles. A tasty Italian tiramisu loaded with coffee liqueur, cocoa and coconut cream finishes off this elegant supper on a delicious note.

The Appetizer: Baked Polenta With Olive Tapenade

Baked polenta topped with olives and red peppers is a fun twist on the bruschetta traditionally served as an Italian appetizer. Instead of making the polenta from gluten-filled bread, this recipe shows how to substitute in cornmeal. Although polenta has a reputation for being finicky, these foolproof instructions will help anyone make polenta without producing any lumps or burnt spots.



  1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium-sized pan. Add the salt, and slowly stir in the cornmeal with a whisk.
  2. Stir and simmer for two to three minutes, turn the heat to low and continue cooking for 45 minutes. Be sure to stir every 10 minutes.
  3. Lightly oil a baking pan, and spread the polenta at a thickness of roughly 1 inch. Place in the refrigerator until chilled.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  5. Remove the polenta from the fridge and slice into bite-sized squares.
  6. Put squares on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes until crisp. Flip once while they are cooking.
  7. While the polenta is cooking, place the olives, garlic, capers and olive oil in a food processor and blend until smooth.
  8. Once the polenta is done, gently spread the homemade tapenade on top and sprinkle with the roasted red peppers and herbs.

The Entreé: Vegan Mushroom Lasagna

For the entreé of this handmade dinner, go for an old-school Italian classic. The key to this dish is creating a delicious mushroom Bolognese sauce that tastes rich and savory without requiring any meat. The almond milk béchamel sauce adds plenty of creamy deliciousness to enhance the lasagna further. The end result is a lasagna that hits all the right flavor notes without relying on gluten or animal products.



  1. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan.
  2. Add the minced onion, carrot, celery and garlic and cook until lightly browned.
  3. Stir in the mushrooms and textured vegetable protein and cook until the mushrooms are browned.
  4. Add the tomato paste and wine (or broth) to the pot and simmer until the amount of liquid has reduced by half.
  5. Mix in the tomatoes, bay, rosemary, sage, salt, pepper and liquid aminos. Simmer for 30 minutes and set aside.
  6. Cook the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions, but drain them two minutes before the package specifies.
  7. Melt the coconut oil in a pot over medium heat, and add in the thyme and garlic.
  8. Cook a minute before stirring in the rice flour.
  9. Allow the roux to cook for a minute or two.
  10. Gently whisk in the almond milk and simmer for about three minutes or until thickened. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and remove from heat.
  11. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. In a 9-inch-by-13-inch dish, alternate layers of lasagna noodles, sauce and béchamel until the dish is full.
  13. Bake for 25 minutes (35 if it was refrigerated) and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
  14. Slice and serve.

Homemade Dessert: Coconut Cream Tiramisu

This clever and tasty dessert blends oat flour and xanthan gum to provide the signature light texture of ladyfinger cookies without using ingredients that contain gluten. Creamy coconut pairs perfectly with cocoa and espresso to make a delicious dessert to finish off this delectable three-course meal. Make sure to plan ahead so that it can be refrigerated for a few hours before eating. This chilling time is necessary to firm up the cream and let the flavors blend together.



  1. Place the cashews in a small pot with enough water to cover them. Boil for 10 minutes and drain.
  2. Put the cashews, ½ cup of milk, agave and 1 teaspoon of vanilla in the blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Open the can of coconut cream and place in a bowl, leaving behind any coconut water in the can. Beat until fluffy, and fold in the cashew mixture. Set aside in the fridge while making the ladyfingers.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Mix together the erythritol, stevia, oat flour, sorghum flour, arrowroot, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt in a medium bowl.
  6. Stir the ¾ cup of almond milk, ½ teaspoon of vanilla and applesauce together in a small bowl. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix.
  7. Pipe the dough mixture onto a cookie sheet in 4-inch-long lines. Leave 2 inches between each ladyfinger because they will spread.
  8. Bake 10 minutes or until firm.
  9. Stir the coffee liqueur and espresso together in a small bowl.
  10. Prepare the tiramisu by dipping half of the ladyfingers in the espresso sauce, placing them on a 9-inch-by-9-inch dish and covering them with half the cream mixture. Add another layer of ladyfingers dipped in espresso, and spread the remaining cream on top of the ladyfingers.
  11. Place in the fridge to chill for at least three hours or as long as overnight.
  12. Dust with cocoa powder, serve and enjoy.
Posted in Health & Nutrition.

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