Voilà! I set out to create the best vegetable lasagna recipe, and here it is. This vegetarian lasagna is cheesy (of course), and loaded with vegetables, spinach and a simple tomato sauce.
If you have any meatless-meal skeptics in your life, this lasagna will change their mind. I’m sure of it.
Yet, I wanted to offer a classic vegetable lasagna suitable for holidays and weeknights, and this is it. The tomato sauce is the same across all three recipes, but the vegetables vary.
For this recipe, you’ll chop bell pepper, zucchini and carrot into very small pieces and sauté them until they’re nice and golden on the edges. That caramelization brings out so much more flavor. Then, add spinach to the skillet and cooked it down for a few minutes so it doesn’t get too soggy.
The Best Vegetable Lasagna
Five reasons to love this recipe:
- You can easily adjust the vegetables to suit the seasons or your pantry (see recipe notes).
- The sauce is made from scratch with basic ingredients. It only takes a few minutes to make.
- Use no-boil noodles and you don’t have to bother cooking them. Just layer them up!
- I recommend cottage cheese instead of ricotta, which has more protein and flavor (trust me).
- You can even make this recipe gluten free and/or vegan. See the recipe notes for details.
The end result is a super flavorful, nutrient-dense, veggie-packed lasagna. This lasagna might not be the quickest weeknight option around, but it is a reasonably simple recipe that will absolutely satisfy your comfort food cravings.
Enjoy, and please let me know how this recipe turns out for you in the comments! Your feedback is so important to me.
Best Vegetable Lasagna
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour (plus 15 minutes cooling time)
- Yield: 8 servings
- Category: Entree
- Cuisine: Italian
Seriously the best veggie lasagna! This lasagna recipe is packed with bell pepper, zucchini and carrots, sautéed until golden and tender on the edges. Recipe yields one 9″ lasagna, enough for 8 slices.
Veggies and spinach
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 5 to 6 ounces baby spinach
Tomato sauce (or substitute 2 cups prepared marinara sauce)
- 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil + additional for garnish
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 cups (16 ounces) low-fat cottage cheese, divided
- ¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 9 no-boil lasagna noodles*, preferably whole wheat
- 8 ounces (2 cups) freshly grated low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- To prepare the veggies: In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Once shimmering, add the carrots, bell pepper, zucchini, yellow onion, and salt. Cook, stirring every couple of minutes, until the veggies are golden on the edges, about 8 to 12 minutes.
- Add a few large handfuls of spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until the spinach has wilted. Repeat with remaining spinach and cook until all of the spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, to prepare the tomato sauce: Pour the tomatoes into a mesh sieve or fine colander and drain off the excess juice for a minute. Then, transfer the drained tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor. Add the basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes.
- Pulse the mixture about 10 times, until the tomatoes have broken down to an easily spreadable consistency. Pour the mixture into a bowl for later (you should have a little over 2 cups sauce). Rinse out the food processor and return it to the machine.
- Pour half of the cottage cheese (1 cup) into the processor and blend it until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to large mixing bowl. No need to rinse out the bowl of the food processor this time; just put it back onto the machine because you’ll need it later.
- Transfer the cooked veggies and spinach mixture to the bowl of the food processor. Pulse until they are more finely chopped (but not puréed!), about 5 to 7 times, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of whipped cottage cheese. Top with the remaining cottage cheese, then add ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt (to taste) and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Stir to combine. Now it’s lasagna assembly time!
- Spread ½ cup tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of a 9” by 9” baking dish. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top (snap off their ends to fit, and/or overlap their edges as necessary). Spread half of the cottage cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Top with ¾ cup tomato sauce, then sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheese on top.
- Top with 3 more noodles, followed by the remaining cottage cheese mixture (we’re skipping the tomato sauce in this layer.) Sprinkle ½ cup shredded cheese on top.
- Top with 3 more noodles, then spread ¾ cup tomato sauce over the top (you may have a little sauce leftover) to evenly cover the noodles. Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup shredded cheese.
- Wrap a sheet of parchment paper around the top of the lasagna (or cover the lasagna with aluminum foil, but don’t let the foil touch the cheese). Bake, covered, for 18 minutes, then remove the cover, rotate the pan by 180° and continue cooking for about 10 to 12 more minutes, until the top is turning spotty brown.
- Remove from oven and let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes, so it has time to set and cool down to a reasonable temperature. Sprinkle additional basil over the top, then slice and serve.
Change it up: Feel free to play around with the vegetables here. You’ll want to use about 3 cups chopped veggies total (excluding the onion). Mushrooms or butternut squash might be nice!
Make it gluten free: Substitute gluten-free lasagna noodles. Choose no-boil (oven ready) noodles if possible; if not, cook them according to package directions. (Fair warning, I tried using DeBoles brand of no-bake lasagna noodles and they weren’t done cooking in the time specified here. Reheated leftovers were ok, though.)
Make it dairy free/vegan: Double the recipe for Cashew Sour Cream (available in my cookbook, page 217) and use 2 cups instead of the cottage cheese. Skip the step where you would blend the cottage cheese and just barely blend the spinach/veggies into the sour cream. Omit the mozzarella and use all of the tomato sauce for the final layer. Serve the lasagna with a dollop of additional sour cream on top or, better yet, my basil pesto.