The Best Vegetable Lasagna (no ricotta)
Learn how to make my family’s famous vegetable lasagna without ricotta cheese! It’s layered with rich marinara, roasted carrots & peppers, mushrooms, and spinach. A healthier version of one of my all-time favorite meals!
I am truly the happiest when eating lasagna. What could be better than a stack of thin noodles layered with rich marinara, chopped vegetables, and melted cheese?! That’s right. Nothing.
One thing with lasagna is you’ll find a lot of classic recipes have three kinds of cheeses involved – ricotta (or sometimes mascarpone), parmesan, and mozzarella. This recipe has two types of cheese: parmesan and mozz!
Why no ricotta? Over the years I’ve found ricotta to be a super heavy ingredient that I’m not always in the mood for in baked pastas. It can compliment a dish or it can overwhelm it. I’ve also found a lot of readers have enjoyed my baked ziti recipe because it’s one of the few baked pasta recipes that doesn’t call for ricotta.
This veggie lasagna is layered with small chopped vegetables that complete the “filling” without additional cheese. And I’m positive you will love it just as much as I do!
Everything You’ll Need
Here’s the full list of ingredients you’ll need for this recipe: lasagna noodles, pasta sauce, yellow onion, carrots, mushrooms, spinach, garlic, oil, peppers, mozzarella, parmesan, and fresh basil.
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Lasagna Noodles: Boil or no boil?
When it comes to choosing the right noodles for your lasagna, I know it can be tricky to know which one is best. Over the years my mom has taught me her tips on choosing the right noodles and how to properly prepare them.
Use oven-ready no-boil noodles: these thin noodle sheets are ready to go and require zero, yes zero, preparation. All you have to do is layer, bake, and done – no boiling noodles required! These are fantastic if you want to save time and not have to fuss over a pot of noodles while prepping the rest of your ingredients. You can also use whole wheat oven-ready noodles – we love these and use them often!
Boiling noodles the traditional way (tips): Even though no boil noodles save lots of time, my mom always believed in boiling the noodles because of the authentic texture and taste. Since it can be tricky, I’m sharing some of her tips for the best practices with this method.
- Noodles “made in Italy” is key: Not all noodles are created equal. We have found most (if not all) of the noodles we used that were NOT made in Italy completely fell apart after boiling. We recommend using Barilla to ensure success.
- Keep prepared noodles from sticking together: once my mom is done cooking the pasta noodles, she carefully drains them and places them in a shallow dish with a little cold water to prevent them from sticking together. Shake off excess water when layering lasagna.
How to Make Vegetable Lasagna (step by step)
First, prep the veggies!
- (1) Preheat oven to 425F. Drizzle carrots and peppers with oil and toss with pinch of salt. Bake at 425F for 20 minutes (flipping halfway through), then lower oven and roast at 325F for 10 additional minutes.
- (2) While veggies are roasting, sauté onions and garlic, then add chopped mushrooms. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
- (3) Add spinach and cook until wilted.
- (4) Remove vegetables and let cool. Remove stems from mini bell peppers.
- (5) When cooled, chop peppers and carrots into diced pieces.
Next, layer and bake!
Layer in this order: sauce, noodles, sautéed and roasted veggies, chopped fresh basil, sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan. Repeat.
Preheat oven to 375F. Cover baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake uncovered for additional 20 minutes. Broil on HIGH in the last minute to brown the cheese.
Extra Tips to Remember
Types of peppers to use: we love using baby bell peppers in this recipe because they are so sweet and require little prep! All you have to do is remove the stem after roasting and then chop them into small pieces. You can also swap with regular bell peppers, but remove the core and slice before roasting.
Use fresh basil – not dried: we love layer our family lasagnas with tons of fresh basil. We do not recommend using dried because it will not have the same fresh flavor. If you want to add even more flavor, layer with 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh oregano! So good.
Sauces to use: If you’re making homemade sauce for your lasagna we recommend using my family’s famous san marzano tomato sauce or use fresh tomato sauce! You can also save time and use my family’s favorite store-bought marinara.
More veggies you can use: we have used tons of different vegetables in this recipe. We love using cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, and leeks. Make sure vegetables are chopped very small when layering into the lasagna.
How to Freeze Lasagna and Store Leftovers
Freeze after baking: you can bake the lasagna, then let cool. Wrap in several layers of plastic wrap and then tightly wrap in foil. Freeze up to 1 month. Remove and thaw at room temperature. Cover with foil and bake at 375 until hot.
Freeze before baking: Prepare lasagna, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil. Freeze for 1-2 months. When ready to bake, let defrost at room temperature. Then bake as recipe instructs.
Keep leftovers fresh: store leftovers in airtight container for up to 3-5 days in refrigerator. Reheat in oven until warm covered with foil at 375F.
This lasagna is something my mom makes for birthdays, holidays, and especially Christmas eve. It is a meal that is loved by all and brings everyone around the table!
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!
From my family to yours.
How to Serve it
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Learn how to make my family's famous vegetable lasagna without ricotta cheese! It's layered with rich marinara, roasted carrots & peppers, mushrooms, and spinach. A healthier version of one of my all-time favorite meals!
- 1 lb dried oven-ready lasagne noodles (see notes for boiled noodle instructions)
- 6 cups pasta sauce (2. 26 oz. jars)
- 1 lb mozzarella
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 Tablespoon oil (divided)
- 2 lbs sweet mini bell peppers (or 3-4 regular bell peppers, chopped)
- 4 large carrots
- 1 yellow onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 cups spinach
- 1 pint white button mushrooms
- salt to taste
Prepare vegetables: Peel skin off onion and dice. Cut off stem of garlic clove and finely mince. Leave skin on carrots (for flavor and nutrients). Cut off stem, slice lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch thick "sticks". Clean mushrooms with paper towel if needed, then roughly chopped in small pieces.
Roast peppers and carrots: Preheat oven to 425F. Lay mini bell peppers and carrots on sheet pan, drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil and pinch of salt. Toss in oil, and bake for 20 minutes – flip halfway through. Lower oven to 325F and roast additional 10 minutes.
Sauté vegetables: while other veggies are roasting, cook diced onion in a sauté pan with 1 teaspoon oil and pinch of salt. Cook 3-4 minutes or until soft, then add minced garlic in last minute. Add chopped mushrooms with pinch of salt to cooked onions & garlic, cook for 3-5 minutes. Add spinach leafs 1 cup at a time and mix into vegetables until soft and wilted.
Chop roasted veggies: when peppers and carrots are finished roasting, let cool. Remove stems from peppers (if using baby bell peppers) then chop with carrots.
Layer lasagna: Gather all of ingredients and layer in a 9×13 baking dish. Spread thin layer of sauce on bottom, then oven-ready noodles, several spoonfuls each of sautéed and chopped roasted vegetables, generous sprinkle of chopped basil, pasta sauce/marinara, mozzarella, then parmesan. Repeat until finished.
Bake: Preheat oven to 375F. Cover baking lasagna dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Broil on HIGH for last minute to brown the cheese. Slice lasagna and serve with additional chopped basil and fresh parmesan. Enjoy!