This stunning gluten-free vegetarian lasagna is made completely from scratch, making it the ultimate comfort food dish to serve for any special dinner! Short on time? Use provided shortcuts to make this recipe quicker! Either way this lasagna is so flavorful and easy to make. It's a special meal the whole family will love!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Lasagna is the perfect comfort food to serve for lazy Sunday suppers and special Holiday dinners alike. Layers of pasta and gooey cheese come together in one perfectly cozy casserole that is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters! This crowd-pleasing traditional lasagna recipe is sure to hit the spot!
This gluten-free vegetarian lasagna is the real deal! It features a spinach-ricotta filling, gluten-free lasagna noodles, and a simple gluten-free tomato sauce all made from scratch! It is truly the best lasagna you'll ever make!
You can make it all from scratch or use the provided shortcuts to make this meal even easier and quicker! Either way, everyone will love this delicious recipe.
This lasagna is a great make ahead meal and is also freezer-friendly! If you need to feed a large crowd, whether for Christmas dinner or a dinner party, lasagna is a great choice!
Here's What You'll Need
- Gluten-Free Lasagna Noodles: These homemade noodles are so good and so worth it! You'd never know they weren't regular lasagna noodles made with wheat!
- Baby Spinach: Use fresh spinach found in the produce aisle.
- Ricotta Cheese: You can substitute cottage cheese if you can't find Ricotta.
- Parmesan Cheese: Freshly grated, real parmesan cheese is best!
- Eggs: Can be omitted if necessary. No substitutions needed.
- Mozzarella Cheese: Either slices, shredded, or both! I like to use sliced Mozzarella in between the layers and then gluten-free shredded cheese on top.
- For the Sauce: You will use mostly easy to find pantry items; crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, dried Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper.
- Lasagna Noodles: If you don't want to make gluten-free noodles from scratch, feel free to use Barilla Gluten-Free Oven-Ready Lasagna. You can use other brands as well, this is just the one I have had the most experience with. Follow the directions on the box as to whether or not you should boil your noodles if you're using another brand.
- Jarred Sauce: Skip the homemade sauce and use your favorite jarred pasta sauce! You'll need about 8 cups, which is 64 ounces total. I am partial to Rao's or Mezzetta!
- Frozen Spinach: Instead of sautéing fresh spinach, feel free to thaw 1 box of frozen chopped spinach. After thawing the spinach according to the package instructions, place the spinach in a piece of cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. If you skip this part your lasagna will be extremely watery!
- Meat Sauce: If you love a good meat lasagna, feel free to add that to your sauce! Before making the tomato sauce, brown and crumble 2 pounds of Italian sausage, ground beef, or a combination of the two in your sauté pan, drain the fat and set the cooked sausage aside. Then add the sausage back into the sauce while it simmers.
- Béchamel Sauce: Some lasagna recipes skip the ricotta mixture and use béchamel sauce instead. If that is how you prefer to make lasagna, you can use my recipe for gluten-free béchamel.
- Dairy-Free: Feel free to make this recipe dairy free with a dairy-free ricotta cheese and dairy free mozzarella cheese shreds.
- Vegan: For a vegan lasagna, you'll need some more modifications. You can omit the eggs in the ricotta filling. You can also use vegan ricotta and vegan cheese. As far as the pasta, you'll need to be sure to use a vegan pasta as well, as the pasta used here does contain eggs.
- Add Even More Veggies: Want to add extra veggies to this dish? Sauté diced zucchini, yellow squash, red or green bell peppers, mushrooms, or eggplant along with the onions when you're making the sauce. How many veggies is really up to you! 1-2 cups total of diced veggies would be a good amount to add to the sauce. Be sure to sauté the veggies until tender and allow excess moisture to evaporate before adding the tomatoes to the sauce.
- Use Zucchini Noodles: Feel free to substitute the pasta with thinly sliced zucchini noodles if desired.
How To Make and Assemble Lasagna
Making lasagna from scratch can seem like a daunting task, but it's actually simple to make when broken down into steps. You can even do these steps across multiple days if you'd like. In short, you'll make your fresh pasta, make the tomato sauce and ricotta filling, then you'll assemble the lasagna. Let's get started and walk through the process so you can see it all from start to finish!
Step 1: Make the Pasta
Be sure to head over to the gluten-free lasagna sheets recipe to see all the details on how to make the best homemade lasagna noodles! Everything you need to know is there and this post would be entirely too long to include all over again here. You can do this up to three days in advance.
If you just can't fathom making fresh pasta, please use store-bought noodles! I promise the lasagna will still be just as delicious!
Step 2: Make the Tomato Sauce and Ricotta Filling
- Sauté the spinach in a pan with garlic and crushed red pepper until wilted. Remove from the pan to cool.
- In the same pan, sauté the onion and garlic. Then add your dried spices.
- Next, add the canned tomatoes to the pan and simmer on low for at least 30 minutes.
- While the sauce simmers, stir together the spinach, ricotta, eggs, and parmesan cheese.
Step 3: Assemble the Lasagna
Once all of your components are ready, it's time for the fun part, assembling the lasagna!
- Grab your desired casserole dish or a 9x13 inch pan. Layer some tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan.
- Place a layer of noodles on top. Don't worry if the noodles don't reach right to the edge of the pan. They can, but a little space is also ok. Also, don't waste noodles with a lot of overlap, a single layer is perfect!
- On top of your noodles, add a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture.
- Followed by a layer of mozzarella cheese!
- Now you're back to the beginning of the layering process, so it's time for another layer of tomato sauce.
- Followed by pasta, ricotta filling, cheese, and another layer of sauce.
- To finish the lasagna, place one final layer of pasta on top of your last tomato sauce layer.
- Then top with more tomato sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.
Now that your lasagna is layered, either cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake or store the dish in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake it!
To bake lasagna, keep the dish covered with foil. Bake until the casserole is bubbly. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes to brown the cheese a bit.
What to Serve with Lasagna
To make lasagna a complete meal, you don't need a whole lot of extra items! Keep it simple and serve lasagna with a tossed salad and a side of gluten-free garlic bread.
How to Make It Ahead
You can make this lasagna, or any of the separate components, about 1-2 days in advance. Keep the casserole, or components, refrigerated until you're ready to assemble or bake.
When you're ready to bake the lasagna, allow the casserole dish to come to room temperature for about one hour before putting it in the oven. This will help to prevent thermal shock from cracking your casserole dish.
Also note, your lasagna may take a little longer to bake if it is cold.
How to Freeze Lasagna
- Layer the lasagna in a freezer-safe dish and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
- Freeze uncooked.
- Thaw in the refrigerator and bake according to the recipe. It will take at least overnight to thaw in the fridge, so plan ahead!
- Then bake as directed in the recipe instructions.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They can be reheated the next day or two, either in the microwave or the oven. If reheating in the oven, keep the pan covered to prevent the lasagna from drying out.
Top Recipe Tips
- Pan Sizes: This recipe makes a lot of lasagna, usually enough for about two 2-quart casserole dishes. Feel free to use whatever size pan you wish and just layer the lasagna as usual. You can keep making pans of lasagna until you run out of ingredients. Baking times may vary depending on the pan you use.
- Halve the Recipe: If you don't need so much lasagna, feel free to halve the recipe using the buttons on the recipe card.
- Easy Freezer Portions: For easy freezing, use disposable foil pans. They come in all sorts of sizes and are the best price at the dollar stores! The mini loaf pans are the perfect size for 1-2 servings.
- Don't worry if the noodles don't reach right to the edge of the pan. They will expand a little as they cook.
- For pickier eaters, use kitchen shears to chop up the spinach a bit before mixing with the ricotta. It will blend in more with the sauce and no one will get a big bite of spinach!
There are a few ways to check if your lasagna is done. You can check the temperature by poking a digital instant read thermometer in the center of the lasagna. If it is about 165°F, the lasagna is likely done. If the edges are bubbling but not watery, that is also a good sign it may be done. Lastly, use a toothpick to poke in the center, if the noodles are soft, meaning you don't feel much resistance, the lasagna is likely finished.
Leave the lasagna covered for most of the cooking time. This will keep the moisture in which aids in cooking the pasta. It also prevents the top of the cheese from getting too brown. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes or so, when the lasagna looks just about finished, to allow the cheese to get a little golden brown.
If you layer the lasagna in an oven-safe dish that also fits in your instant pot, you can cook the lasagna in the Instant Pot, even from frozen! Place a trivet inside the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Place the lasagna, covered with foil, on the trivet. Cook for 22 minutes on High Pressure. Carefully remove the lasagna from the Instant Pot, remove the foil, and pop the lasagna under the broiler, provided your pan is broiler-safe, for a few minutes to brown the cheese.
I hope you enjoy this delicious recipe for gluten-free vegetarian lasagna! It is a bit of work but the end result is so worth it!
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Gluten-Free Vegetarian Lasagna
For Marinara Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, 2 cups diced
- 6 cloves garlic, 1 Tablespoon minced
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 56 ounces canned crushed tomatoes, 2-28 ounce cans
- 15 ounces canned diced tomatoes
For Ricotta Cheese Mixture
- 12 ounces fresh baby spinach, or 10 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess moisture
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 32 ounces Ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs
To Assemble Lasagna
- 1 recipe homemade gluten-free lasagna noodles, (12 sheets) or 2 packages Barilla Gluten-Free Oven-Ready Lasagna Noodles
- 16 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
- 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
Make the Marinara Sauce and Ricotta Cheese Mixture
- In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the fresh baby spinach to the pan along with 2 cloves of minced garlic, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon pepper. Sauté the spinach until wilted, then remove from the pan, drain or squeeze out any excess moisture, and set aside. (Skip this step if using frozen spinach. See notes.)
- Now make the sauce. In the same pan, heat another tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the diced onions and 1 tablespoon of minced garlic until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add in 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, and ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes.
- Stir in the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and diced tomatoes.
- Turn the heat to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes, with the lid partially covering the pot. Stir occasionally.
- While the sauce simmers, finish the ricotta mixture. Add the wilted spinach to a large bowl. Use kitchen shears to chop up the spinach a bit, if desired. Then, add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and eggs and stir until well combined.
Assemble the Lasagna
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease two 2-quart casserole dishes.
- Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce in the bottom of each pan.
- Place a single layer of noodles on top of the sauce.
- Spread a layer of the ricotta mixture over the noodles.
- Place a layer of the mozzarella cheese slices on top of the ricotta.
- Top the cheese with another layer of tomato sauce, pasta, ricotta mixture, and then mozzarella cheese again. If you have enough ingredients and space in your pan, you can repeat the layers one more time, saving enough sauce and pasta for one final layer.
- For the final layers, spread a layer of tomato sauce on top of the cheese, followed by a layer of noodles, then a final layer tomato sauce. Top the lasagna with a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
- Cover the lasagna with foil. Bake at 350°F for 60-90 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 15-20 minutes to brown the cheese. The lasagna is done when the internal temperature in the center is 165°F, the sauce is bubbling throughout but not watery, and the cheese is melted and golden brown on top. Use a toothpick to poke the center and feel the noodles, if they feel soft without much resistance, the lasagna is done.
- For frozen spinach, thaw the frozen spinach according to package directions. Place the spinach in a cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel to cool and drain. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much water as possible from the spinach.
- To skip the homemade sauce and use jarred, you will need 64 ounces of your favorite jarred marinara sauce.
- Feel free to use whatever size pan you wish and just layer the lasagna as usual. You can keep making pans of lasagna until you run out of ingredients. Baking times may vary depending on the pan you use.
- For easy freezing, use disposable foil pans. Mini loaf pans are the perfect size for 1-2 servings.
- Don't worry if the noodles don't reach right to the edge of the pan. They can, but a little space is also ok.