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Easy Vegetarian Lasagna
There is nothing like digging into layers and layers of pasta stuffed with veggies, sauce, cheese and more cheese. Hey there, welcome lasagna lovers!
Currently, I have a freezer stuffed with lasagna because I made this recipe four times before sharing it here. I wanted to get everything just right, from how much filling you needed to how much sauce and what happens when you use no cook lasagna sheets and even how to freeze leftover lasagna. Because all these questions are important and the answers make the best vegetarian lasagna there is.
I call recipes like these vegetarian lasagna my weekend projects and I have quite a few of those on the blog (I’ll list them below). That’s because these recipes will never be 30 minutes or just dump and go. They are a labour of love and the result justifies – they always taste fabulous and you want to pat yourself on the back a few times after you finish. Plus praise from family is high!
layers in this lasagna
There are three main layers in this lasagna – spinach ricotta which adds a layer of creaminess, pan roasted vegetables, cheese and sauce. You will need to make three main elements for this recipe, and these can be made ahead, so that all you finally have to do is assemble and bake.
vegetables in this lasagna
I’ve used the vegetables that I think go best in a lasagna – red bell peppers, mushrooms and zucchini. The easiest and fastest way to prepare them is by pan roasting them in some oil with onions and garlic. But you can also roast them in the oven. We also have spinach in the recipe that goes in the spinach ricotta layer. So you really have a ton of veggies that go here!
the pasta in this lasagna
I always buy the no cook lasagna sheets (I use Barilla’s lasagna sheets). The advantage with them is that you don’t need to pre-boil them before using them. They are much easier to handle and cook as the lasagna cooks. You can also use fresh lasagna sheets if you can get your hands on them.
How To Make Vegetable Lasagna
Step 1: Prepare the veggies
First, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Layer the pan with zucchini, garlic, eggplant, and pepper, and cook until the zucchini is slightly soft. This should take about 3-5 minutes. Then, add the spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until it is completely wilted down. This will take about one minute.
Step 2: Begin to assemble
Go ahead and preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Then, spread 1/2 cup of marinara onto the bottom of a 9×9 inch casserole dish. Next, layer on 1/3 of the lasagna noodles, snapping some to size as needed to fit into your pan.
Step 3: Add the bechamel
Once you’ve created one layer of marinara and noodles, it’s time to add some bechamel. Heat the milk in the microwave for about 2 minutes, just until it’s warm. Then, melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat and whisk in the flour. Cook and stir the mixture until it’s slightly golden brown and no longer smells like raw flour. Slowly whisk in all of the milk, stirring well to evenly combine.
Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until it thickens, which will be about 5 minutes. Finally, remove from the heat and stir in parmesan, salt, and pepper.
Once complete, layer 1/3 of the mixture on top of the noodles!
Step 4: Add the veggies
Here is where we add our veggie mixture. Layer 1/2 of the veggies on top of the bechamel.
Step 5: Add the cheese
Sprinkle 1/3 of your mozzarella cheese on top of the veggies. If you’re a cheese lover like me, feel free to be a bit generous with these layers!
Step 6: Cover in marinara
Using about one cup of marinara, cover the layer of mozzarella cheese. Then, top with another layer of lasagna noddles.
Repeat by adding another 1/3 of bechamel, 1/2 of the veggies, 1/3 of the cheese, and then 1/3 of the marinara.
Once you’ve added the marinara, complete one more layer, spooning on the remaining noddles, bechamel, veggies, and mozzarella.
Step 7: Bake the lasagna
Lastly, it’s time to bake! Covered tightly with aluminum foil, bake for 35-45 minutes, or until bubbling at the edges. If desired, remove foil and broil for 2-3 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
EASY VEGETABLE LASAGNA TIPS
What are some variations of this easy vegetable lasagna recipe?
This recipe can be modified and changed to whatever you’re craving! Use whatever kind of veggies you want in this recipe, while keeping in mind that they get roasted first. Sliced carrots, butternut squash and eggplant are some of our suggestions. If you want to make it dairy-free, feel free to eliminate the mozzarella and Parmesan, and substitute your favorite dairy-free or vegan cheese instead. You can also substitute no-boil noodles for boiled lasagna noodles if you like—just make sure to cover the noodles completely with sauce so they have enough liquid to cook.
What’s a side dish that goes with lasagna?
Some must-have side dishes for lasagna include homemade Italian bread and an Italian side salad.
Can you make this easy vegetable lasagna ahead of time?
Yes! Assemble the lasagna as directed, wrap tightly, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. If cooking from frozen, allow time to thaw overnight before baking. The next day, bake the lasagna, covered, at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, and then uncovered for an additional 15.
Leftover lasagna will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Cover the lasagna loosely with foil. Warm the dish in a 350° F oven just until heated through, about 30 minutes. You can also reheat individual slices of lasagna in the microwave until warm, about 1 minute.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH VEGETABLE LASAGNA
This hearty lasagna is delicious when paired with a Caesar salad or a simple green salad dressed in Italian Balsamic Vinaigrette. You might also like to offer a side of garlic bread or homemade focaccia bread.
HOW TO MAKE HEALTHY VEGETABLE LASAGNA FOR A LIGHTER CHOICE
If you’re looking to lighten up the dish and make it even healthier, there are a few swaps that you can easily make:
- Whole Wheat Pasta: you can purchase whole wheat no-boil lasagna noodles. If using the whole wheat noodles, check the cooking instructions on your package. Most whole wheat pasta requires a slightly different cooking temperature and time (usually about 450° F for 40 minutes covered, then 5-10 more minutes uncovered).
- Cottage Cheese: use small curd (or “whipped”) cottage cheese in lieu of the ricotta. For this recipe, you will need a 16 ounce container of small-curd cottage cheese (about 2 cups).
- Reduced-Fat Mozzarella: look for a lighter shredded mozzarella to reduce fat and calories.
- Marinara Sauce without Added Sugar: look for a high-quality store-bought marinara sauce that doesn’t include added sugar. We love Rao’s brand, but any similar sauce will work.