Perfectly baked sheets of pasta cradling layers of of melty cheese and bubbling marinara … this vegetarian lasagna might be simple but it is absolutely the BEST Vegetarian Lasagna recipe around.
I’ve been making this vegetarian lasagna recipe for, gosh, at least 20 years. And it is a hit every. single. time.
It’s adapted from a recipe that was in my very first vegetarian cookbook, The Moosewood Cookbook. And if I remember correctly, it’s one of the recipes that convinced me, when I decided to become a vegetarian in my 20’s, that it was all going to be okay. Because, hello, recipes like The Best Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe Ever are amazzzzzing just the way they are – absolutely no meat needed!
When I blogged this recipe the first time, I called it “Vegetarian Lasagna – Even Hardcore Carnivores Love This Stuff.” Which is totally true! I’ve fed this to many, many meat-eaters over the years and every single one has loved it.
Now that I’m rebooting and resharing the recipe, however, I’ve decided to go a bit bolder and claim it The Best Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe Ever.
I know, I totally know, that calling something the best ever is a bit over-the-top and could never really be true because there’s no way you one can really try every single recipe out there for comparison. But seriously, to me, this is truly the best vegetarian lasagna recipe ever.
So why do I think it’s the best ever?
- Everyone I’ve served it to or made it for loves it. LOVES it.
- I love it best (until I couldn’t eat cheese anymore, and now I mourn it, but I still make it for my carnivorous loved ones so that I can live vicariously).
- It’s simple. Super simple! No fancy extras. Not needed! Pasta, ricotta, mozzarella, parm, and sauce. The SAUCE.
- Seriously, the sauce.
If you want guaranteed success, make this lasagna with the homemade Italian Tomato Sauce that is a part of this recipe. (I’ve also blogged about it separately here – it’s my fave.) Vegetarian lasagna made with the homemade Italian Tomato Sauce is victorious lasagna.
Hint: Make the sauce ahead of time for a much faster assembly and cooking time. This vegetarian lasagna is also VERY freezer-friendly!
The Best Vegetarian Lasagna Recipe Ever
Italian Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion (diced small) (about 3 cups)
- 1 green bell pepper (diced smal) (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 4 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
- 6 medium cloves garlic (minced) (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1 28-ounce can whole fire-roasted tomatoes (diced fire-roasted tomatoes will work too)
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1 batch Italian Tomato Sauce (about 4 cups, or 32 ounces, of sauce)
- 1 pound lasagna noodles* (uncooked)
- 1 15- ounce tub (about 1 3/4 cups whole milk ricotta cheese)
- 1 pound whole milk mozzarella cheese (grated) (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese ((2 ounces))
Make the Italian Tomato Sauce
- Add the olive oil to a large pan over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, bell pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and translucent and the pepper is tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for one more minute.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, honey or sugar, salt, and pepper. If you’re using whole tomatoes, break up the tomatoes with a spoon. To save time, I will sometimes give whole tomatoes a quick spin in the blender to break them down a bit, then add them to the pot. (This is also a good method if you're serving people who don't like tomato chunks in their sauce).
- Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat, until the sauce comes to a boil. Turn the heat to low, partially cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the parsley, then remove from the heat.
Make the lasagna
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grab a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan. Smear a little of the sauce on the bottom of the pan. Add a single layer of pasta, breaking to fit as needed. Using a couple of spoons (one to scoop and one to scrape it off), plop half the ricotta all over the noodles in little mounds. Top with 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Sprinkle on half of the mozzarella.
- Repeat with a layer of pasta, then the rest of the ricotta, then another third of the sauce, then the remaining mozzarella.
- Add a last layer of pasta and spread the remaining sauce over the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
- Bake until bubbly and melty and the pasta is tender, about 45 minutes. If the top begins to get brown, cover with foil during the last 10 minutes or so of baking.
- Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.
- Keeps refrigerated covered or in an airtight container for about 3 days. It also keeps frozen for several months. I have also frozen single-portion leftovers in individual freezer bags for quick and easy lunches.