Easy Italian Meatless Lasagna -How to Make

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Lasagna is not a difficult Italian recipe to make at all, especially this easy meatless lasagna I’ve used for years. Fortunately, many people think lasagna is difficult to make, so when you serve it for dinner, friends and family are really super impressed! 

easy meatless lasagna

Most traditional Italian lasagnas do not include meat, and instead rely on the noodles, sauce, cheese and herbs to create the perfect blend of flavors. This is the type of Italian lasagna I grew up with in my Italian family, and is my favorite kind of lasagna!

About this Easy Meatless Lasagna 

My mom’s lasagna was always a household favorite and we always had it on major occasions like birthdays, Christmas and the like. Everyone in the whole family loved it when she made it. However, she used four various cheeses by adding cottage cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan and Ricotta.

I don’t do that – I keep it simpler and just use Romano (or Parm), Ricotta cheese and some mozzarella.  

However, you can choose to use your own cheese mixture and there is nothing wrong with that. I’ll offer some tips below. The main reason why I don’t use cottage cheese is because I rarely have it on hand.  Both versions turn out wonderful.

Italian Meatless Lasagna vs Vegetarian

Even though this is a meatless recipe, I’m hesitant to use the word vegetarian because this recipe was not created for vegetarians. I’ve discovered that many vegetarian lasagnas are actually veggie lasagnas, using all sorts of vegetables in the ingredients – such as my vegetarian lasagna with eggplant and mushrooms.

My Italian lasagna recipe that both myself and my Italian husband enjoy uses minimal ingredients and just doesn’t include meat such as ground beef or other types of meat. I’ll offer some tips for meat lovers below, so keep reading.

As with most of Italian cooking, keeping recipes simple while using quality ingredients is the secret to amazing Italian dishes. This lasagna is a perfect example. 

Let’s get started!

Equipment Needed

To make lasagna, all you need are the following kitchenware.

Mixing Bowls

Large mixing bowl for mixing the ingredients together.

Pot of boiling noodles

Large pot for boiling the noodles

Baking dish

Lasagna or casserole 11×9 baking pan

Ladel

Ladle for pouring the sauce on top of the cheese and noodles. You can also just use a large spoon.

Ingredients Needed

meatless lasagna ingredients

Here are the ingredients needed for making this easy lasagna recipe. Exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

Box of Lasagna Noodles. I use uncooked noodles, not no-boil.

Ricotta Cheese. Use quality whole milk ricotta.

Shredded Mozzarella. I like to use fresh mozzarella like I grew up with, but sometimes I just use regular store-bought shredded mozzarella instead. 

Romano Cheese. You can also use Parmesan cheese if that’s all you have.

Dried Parsley. You can use fresh parsley as well. Either curly parsley or Italian parsley is fine.

Pasta Sauce. I love using my simple tomato sauce, but you can also use your favorite store brand too. See my notes below about which type of sauce to use. 

How to Make Meatless Lasagna

lasagna meatless

Here are the steps for making this Italian lasagna. It’s so simple you’ll be amazed! Use the recipe card at the bottom to print out or for detailed measurements. 


Step 1. – Preheat oven to 375F.

lasagna noodles boiling

Step 2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the lasagna noodles according to package instructions. At first they will be hard to fit in due to the size, but they will soon start to soften and you can gently push them into the water. 

PRO TIP: Add a drop of olive oil to the water, not for flavor but for helping the noodles not to stick together. Give a gentle stir every once in a while. 

ricotta mixture

Step 3. While the noodles are boiling, in a large mixing bowl combine the ricotta, Romano cheese, ¾ of the mozzarella cheese, and the parsley. 

cooling lasagna noodles

Step 4. When the noodles are done (they should be al-dente meaning not fully cooked), carefully drain and rinse them with cool water to prevent any further cooking. You can leave them in the pot or spread them out on a cookie sheet. 

PRO TIP: Rinsing them with cool water also helps when you have to handle them. Try to avoid tearing them. 

sauce on bottom

Step 5. Add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Spread it around so the bottom of the pan is fully covered. 

layer of ricotta

Step 6. Lay down a layer of noodles, then sauce, then the cheese mixture.

sauce on final layer

Step 7. Repeat this process and then cover the top layer of noodles with sauce, making sure all exposed noodles are covered.  

If you have any leftover noodles, make lasagna roll ups by spreading any extra cheese mixture on them and roll them up, cover in sauce and bake them in a separate pan!

PRO TIP: Keep the best un-torn lasagna noodles off to the side so you can use these as the final top layer for a nicer presentation. Use torn noodles in the middle or bottom.

lasagna in oven

Step 8. Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil (shiny side down), and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until it is heated through and sauce is bubbling from below. 

Step 9. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top of the lasagna and bake uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted. 

PRO TIP: You can use any cheese for the top – sometimes i just use a sprinkling of Romano or Parmesan cheese.

Step 10. Let your fresh homemade lasagna cool for about 10 minutes before serving. I also recommend serving it with extra sauce and grated Romano or Parmesan on the side for people to use. 

About Cooking the Lasagna Noodles

al dente lasagna noodles

Anytime you are going to bake a dish like lasagna that has noodles, you have to boil the noodles first. This is the same process I use for my easy Italian baked pasta recipe.

However, you don’t want to over cook them, instead you want them to be slightly under cooked, aka al dente. The noodles will continue to cook in the oven as the lasagna bakes.

You don’t have to worry about the noodles drying out as they bake because you’ll make sure that the entire dish is covered with sauce. 

Any exposed noodles will become dry, so make sure the sauce is thoroughly spread over the noodles to prevent this from happening.

About the Lasagna Sauce

Choosing which sauce to use for your lasagna doesn’t need to be stressful. Here are my thoughts on which type of sauce to use.

Recipe Substitutions & Variations

There are various ways you can modify this simple lasagna recipe. Here are some ideas that you may like to try. 

  1. Add 16 oz of chopped spinach in with the ricotta cheese mixture. You can use freshly chopped spinach or frozen spinach. I use frozen to save time and it’s more convenient. 
  2. Use no-boil noodles to save a little bit of time, but the flavor and texture will be different. I do not use no-boil noodles. 
  3. Substitute half of the ricotta with the cottage cheese. Cottage cheese helps give the lasagna a slightly creamier texture. Some people like it and some don’t. 
  4. Add 2 cups of cooked ground beef by sprinkling it in between the layers. 

Meal Prep and Storage Tips

Lasagna is one of those Italian pasta recipes that can be frozen before or after you make it. Here are some tips to help. 

Freezing the Lasagna before baking

Prepare the lasagna up until you would bake it. Cover it tightly with foil and place it in the freezer on a flat shelf. Label and date the contents. It will store well in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Then simply take it out the night before and let it thaw in the fridge. Cook covered in the oven at 350F as you normally would. If it’s not at room temperature when you are about to cook it, then add an extra 15 minutes to account for the colder internal temp. 

Storing Leftover Lasagna

If you have leftovers, store your lasagna in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you want to store it long term, then place the airtight container in the freezer and it will keep for 3 to 6 months. I recommend using it within 3 months simply for freshness. 

Reheating Italian Lasagna

Reheating your meatless cheese lasagna is very easy. You can reheat it the following ways. 

  1. Reheat in the microwave on high for 3 minutes or until it is heated through. I recommend covering it so sauce doesn’t splatter while it gets hot. 
  2. Reheat the lasagna in the oven at 350F for 20 minutes or until heated through. Add extra sauce so the noodles don’t dry out and burn. 
  3. Reheat the lasagna slices in a skillet over medium heat, covered. Add a drop of water to help get some steam going. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes depending on how many you’re reheating.. 

Side Dishes for Italian Meatless Lasagna

For side dishes, I’d recommend the following standard dishes that go with lasagna. 

how to make garlic bread

Delicious homemade garlic bread is the way to go when wondering what kind of bread to use. Check out my easy recipe that doesn’t require you making your own bread.

italian salad

Any pasta dish like this goes great with an easy Italian green salad.

meatless meatballs recipe th

Serve with a bowl of meatless meatballs. My recipe uses bulgur which offers a great consistency and is delicious! If you have friends or family who love meat, then offer some all-beef meatballs they’ll love! This way those who don’t want meat can have it without meat, while those who like the meat can have the meatballs.

Additional Italian Meatless Recipes You May Enjoy

If you love Italian lasagna, then you’ll also love these Italian recipes.

Pasta and Peas Recipe

Italian pasta and peas is an easy single pan pasta dish. 

pasta with asparagus and lemon

If it’s springtime, this pasta with lemon and asparagus is definitely a winner!

eggplant-parmesan-th

My eggplant parmesan recipe is a family favorite which my mom made. I think you’ll love it too.

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I truly hope you’ve enjoyed this easy meatless lasagna recipe that we’ve been using for years. Let me know in the comments below how it turned out and if you made any changes to make it your own!

easy Italian meatless lasagna recipe th

Lasagna Meatless Recipe

A simple and easy way to make meatless lasagna.
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 549kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 2 lbs ricotta cheese
  • 6-8 oz shredded mozzarella 1/4 of it is used for topping
  • 3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried parsley flakes or 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 48 oz. pasta sauce (or 6 cups)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • In a large pan cook the noodles according to the package instructions – add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to water. Do not overcook the noodles, if anything under cook by just a couple of minutes.
    1 box lasagna noodles
  • Meanwhile in a separate large bowl mix the parsley, ricotta, and 3/4 of the mozzarella cheese, and Romano cheese.
    2 lbs ricotta cheese, 6-8 oz shredded mozzarella, 3/4 cup grated Romano cheese, 1/4 cup dried parsley flakes or 1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • When noodles are done, drain and rinse with cool water to prevent any further cooking. See tip below.
  • In 11×7 or 13×9 baking dish spread a layer of sauce.
    48 oz. pasta sauce
  • Lay a layer of noodles, then sauce, then cheese. Use un-torn noodles on top layer.
  • Repeat, ending with a layer of noodles and top with sauce making sure to cover all exposed noodles.
  • Cover with foil (shiny side down) and bake for 35 -45 minutes until heated through and sauce is bubbling from below.
  • Sprinkle remaining mozzarella cheese on top and bake for 5 or 10 minutes until cheese is melted.
  • Let cool for about 10 minutes until serving.

Notes

TIP #1: The olive oil in the water is not for flavor. It is to help prevent the noodles from sticking together as much when you take them out of the water and drain. You can cover the noodles with cold water so they are not so hot to the touch when you are ready to assemble.
TIP #2: I have actually made this recipe without mozzarella cheese, using Romano and Ricotta only.
TIP #3: If you have remaining unused lasagna noodles and filling, create lasagna rolls by using the broken noodles to wrap around the filling. Kind of like manicotti. Bake in a smaller baking dish.

Nutrition

Calories: 549kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 84mg | Sodium: 1154mg | Potassium: 795mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1439IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 486mg | Iron: 3mg
Easy Italian Meatless Lasagna -How to MakeEasy Italian Meatless Lasagna -How to MakeEasy Italian Meatless Lasagna -How to MakeEasy Italian Meatless Lasagna -How to MakeEasy Italian Meatless Lasagna -How to MakeEasy Italian Meatless Lasagna -How to Make

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