Easy Vegetable Lasagna

Lasagna is so many things: a comfort food, a perfect dinner party entrée, the best thing to freeze for future meals–it’s extremely versatile. But lasagna can also be a lot of work and time-consuming to prep. I used to spend hours preparing the different layers–my kitchen set up like an assembly line to build just one lasagna–before I realized it doesn’t have to be this difficult! Here is a vegetable lasagna made with a few short cuts that add in more flavor at the same time.

A healthy, easy lasagna

This lasagna recipe takes away all the heavy ingredients found in so many lasagnas and is more light and flavorful. It incorporates more flavor and nutrition by adding in more vegetables and changing to cottage cheese instead of traditional ricotta. And using no-boil noodles and my food processor cut down more than half my prep time.

It’s too easy to pass up!  You can add in additional ingredients like more vegetables (e.g. mushrooms, eggplant) or more textures. Experiment with different cheeses for more sharp flavors, or use different seasonal tomatoes to change up the sauce. Try adding my perfect pesto for a unique layer of flavor, or add your own combinations of fresh herbs. This dish can be gluten-free or vegan—the possibilities are endless!!

Easy Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetable Layer

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, chopped (about ¾ to 1 cup)
  • 1 medium yellow zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup baby spinach, chopped

Sauce Layer

  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (Cento petite diced works best)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup basil, chopped

Cheese Layer

  • 2 cups low fat cottage cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Noodles

  • 10-12 lasagna noodles (No Boil, partially cooked al dente, whole wheat, or gluten free are all fine)

Topping

  • 1 ½ cup part skim mozzarella cheese, freshly grated or shredded

Note: Avoid the pre-packaged grated or shredded cheeses if possible– it melts better when you grate it yourself

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Prepare the vegetables: In a medium to large skillet over medium high heat, heat the extra virgin olive oil. Add the carrots, zucchinis, onions and salt and cook 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened.
  3. Gradually add in spinach, stirring frequently until spinach is wilted. Repeat until all the spinach is used. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Prepare the sauce: Drain off the excess liquid from the tomatoes. Add the diced and drained tomatoes to the bowl of a food processor. Add the garlic, salt, parsley and basil. Pulse 8-10 times until the mixture is broken down but not watery. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the inside of the food processor bowl.
  5. Prepare the cheese: Add 1 cup cottage cheese to food processor bowl and pulse until smooth but not watery. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and wipe out the inside of the food processor bowl.
  6. Add the cooked vegetables and spinach mixture to the food processor bowl. Pulse until finely- chopped (about 4-6 times) but not pureed or watery. Add the vegetable mix to the cottage cheese in the large mixing bowl. Add in the last 1 cup of cottage cheese, salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
  7. Assemble: Spread ½ cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom of a lasagna dish (typically 7 x 6 inch) or a 9 x 13 baking pan.
    • Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top of tomato sauce, overlap or cut to evenly fit to the edges.
    • Spread ½ the cheese mixture evenly over the noodles.
    • Add ¾ cup tomato sauce over the top of the cheese mixture and sprinkle with ½ cup of the grated mozzarella cheese.
    • Top with 3 more lasagna noodles followed by the remaining cheese mixture and a ½ cup of the grated mozzarella (There’s no tomato sauce in this layer on purpose!).
    • Top with 3 more lasagna noodles. Spread ¾ cup tomato sauce over the top to cover the noodles. Sprinkle with 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese.
  8. Cover the top with a piece of parchment paper the a large sheet of aluminum foil (do not let the foil touch the tomato sauce).
  9. Bake covered 20 minutes. Uncover, rotate pan, and cook another 15 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.
  10. Cool 15-20 minutes then slice and serve. Garnish with additional parsley, basil, or cheese. Serve with a green salad or steamed green vegetables.

Featured photo by Jason Briscoe 

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