Lasagna, with its proud layers, old-school status, and bronzed, cheesy top, belongs on a pasta pedestal. When I tell you declaratively that this is the best, most ultimate Vegetable Lasagna, know that I am staking my claim with the utmost respect!
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Cheesy, saucy, and bursting with hearty Italian zest, this easy vegetable lasagna does justice to the Italian classic.
With its declarative hug-you-from-the-inside vibe, this vegetarian lasagna is a pan of comfort, exactly what you need when you find yourself craving lasagna in the first place.
It’s meatless, yes, but this lasagna recipe is about far more than the absence of meat. It is a vegetable party!
Spinach. Sweet potatoes. Bell peppers. Zucchini. This is a garden vegetable lasagna that celebrates bounty.
This recipe blends traditional cheesy goodness with modern healthy touches.
While traditional lasagna recipes can be bad for you in excess because they are made with heavy ingredients, this vegetarian lasagna is lightened up enough to be healthy. It still tastes decadent enough to satisfy.
How to Make Vegetable Lasagna
This veggie lasagna is made of whole wheat noodles, part-skim ricotta cheese, a mix of fresh and frozen vegetables, and doctored-up prepared tomato sauce to keep it easy.
A Vegetable Lasagna for All Seasons
Feel free to adjust the vegetables in this recipe for the vegetables you have in your garden or that are freshest at the market.
- For a summer vegetable lasagna, you might add more zucchini or eggplant in place of the sweet potatoes.
- For a fall lasagna, take a note from this Skillet Lasagna with Basil, Italian Sausage, and Butternut Squash and try diced butternut squash.
- Oven Ready (No Boil) Lasagna Noodles. Since lasagna already calls for a number of steps, I prefer to go the easy route and use oven-ready (no boil) noodles. You can add them right to the vegetarian lasagna, without the fuss of boiling, draining, and drying them first. I use whole wheat noodles for an extra fiber boost.
If you can’t find oven-ready whole wheat lasagna noodles (I use DeLallo), you can swap regular oven-ready lasagna noodles.
To use regular whole wheat lasagna noodles (ones that are not oven-ready/no boil), start by cooking the noodles until just al dente. Drain the noodles, then rinse them with cool water, making sure they don’t stick together. Let the noodles cool on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then use as directed.
- Part-Skim Ricotta Cheese. The key to the creamy filling. I find part-skim tastes plenty indulgent, and it helps to make the vegetable lasagna lighter.
Substituting ricotta cheese with cottage cheese in lasagna is a popular choice, especially if you grew up in the Midwest. Use the same amount of low-fat cottage cheese in place of the ricotta in this recipe.
- Vegetables. Sweet potato, bell peppers, red onion, and zucchini make up our nutritious garden of fresh veggies. They give the lasagna substance and delicious fresh flavor.
- Frozen Spinach. Using frozen spinach instead of fresh is a quick and easy shortcut that I love the use here.
- Dried Basil. Adds Italian flavor to the vegetable mixture.
- Tomato Sauce. As I share in my cookbook, using store-bought tomato sauce is a valuable timesaver. This stellar shortcut helps make this an easy vegetable lasagna without sacrificing any of the flavor!
- Balsamic Vinegar. Brings a deep, simmered-all-day flavor to the sauce. Don’t skip it. It makes the sauce pop.
- Melty Cheese. A delicious melty cheese like mozzarella, Fontina, or Provolone (I used all three!) will create that all-important and beloved cheesy goodness.
- Parmesan. A must-have addition to our cheese layers.
Vegetable Lasagna No Pasta
- Sauté the vegetables.
- Stir in the tomato sauce and vinegar. Bring to a simmer.
- Stir together the ricotta and spinach mixture.
- Add a thin layer of the tomato sauce mixture to the bottom of the baking dish. Top with 3 lasagna noodles.
- Spread more sauce over the noodles, then add half of the ricotta mixture. Top with additional sauce and part of the mozzarella.
- Add 3 more noodles, then spread the remaining ricotta mixture on top. Top with more mozzarella.
- Lay the 3 final noodles on top, then add the remaining sauce.
- Finish with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Cover and bake the lasagna at 400 degrees F for 25 minutes. Uncover and rotate the dish, then bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. DIG IN!
Why is My Lasagna Watery?
- Watery Spinach. When using frozen spinach, it is important to drain it and squeeze it VERY dry before using it in the recipe.
- Cooling Time. You should let the lasagna cool for a few minutes prior to cutting it, or it can become runny.
- Wet Noodles. If you use noodles that need to be boiled, you must drain them and let them dry completely before adding them to the layers.
Pair this lasagna with an Italian red wine, like Sangiovese or Chianti Classico. White wine fans can try a smooth, creamy Chardonnay.
- To Store. Refrigerate lasagna in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- To Freeze. Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
I like to cut my leftover lasagna into individual portions before freezing, which makes it easy to thaw meals on demand.
Meal Plan Tip
Prepare the unbaked lasagna as directed, then cover and refrigerate it for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 3 months (make sure your dish is freezer-safe). If refrigerated, let the lasagna come to room temperature prior to baking. If frozen, let the lasagna thaw overnight in the refrigerator before bringing it to room temperature and baking.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Baking Dish. Great for baking and beautiful for serving.
- Dutch Oven. Perfect for preparing the vegetable mixture.
- Extra Large Cutting Board. Ideal for recipes with lots of veggies to chop.
Beautiful Baking Dish
This beautiful, high-quality baking dish is an investment, but it will cook beside you for a lifetime.
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Ultimate vegetable lasagna, here to dish up layers of pasta love!
Vegetable Lasagna Recipe Video
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- 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small sweet potato peeled and ¼-to ½-inch diced (about 1 ½ cups)
- 2 red bell peppers chopped
- 1 small red onion diced
- 1 medium zucchini chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 2 (24-ounce jars) good quality tomato pasta sauce I use Roasted Garlic
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen spinach drained and squeezed dry
- 1 (15-ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
- 2 cups freshly grated melty Italian cheese such as Mozzarella, Fontina, or Provolone (I did a blend of all three. DELISH!)
- ½ cup freshly finely grated Parmesan cheese divided
- 1 large egg
- 9 oven-ready (no boil) whole wheat lasagna noodles (I like Delallo), about 5.5 ounces
- Fresh basil for serving
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sweet potato, bell peppers, red onion, zucchini, dried basil, and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Cook until the vegetables are tender and begin to brown, about 10 minutes.
Add the tomato sauce and balsamic to the vegetables. Stir to combine then bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl add the ricotta, ¼ cup Parmesan, egg, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Mix well, until the mixture is evenly combined.
Stir in the spinach, using a fork to break it up and distribute it as evenly with the ricotta mixture as possible.
Spread a thin layer of the vegetable tomato sauce on the bottom of the prepared baking dish in an even layer. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles on top, breaking the ends if needed so that they fit. Leave some space around the noodles, as they will expand as they cook.
Top the noodles with ⅓ of the remaining sauce, half of the ricotta mixture, the next ⅓ portion of the sauce, and ½ cup of the mozzarella.
Top with 3 more noodles, the remaining ricotta mixture, and ½ cup mozzarella (no tomato sauce in this layer).
Top the cheese with the 3 final noodles. Spread the remaining sauce over the top.
Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese and remaining ¼ cup Parmesan.
Cover the lasagna with foil (be careful not to let the foil touch the top of the cheese or it will stick—I like to stick a few toothpicks in the top of the lasagna so that they are poking up and keep the foil off of the cheese). Bake it covered for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven, uncover, and rotate the pan by 180. Continue cooking uncovered for 15 to 20 more minutes, until it is hot and bubbly and the cheese is beginning to have brown spots.
Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes to set. Sprinkle with fresh basil, then slice and serve.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate lasagna in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze leftovers in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
- TO MAKE AHEAD: Prepare the lasagna as directed, then cover and refrigerate it for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 3 months (make sure your dish is freezer-safe). If refrigerated, let the lasagna come to room temperature prior to baking. If frozen, let the lasagna thaw overnight in the refrigerator before bringing it to room temperature and baking.
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