Lasagna: layers of noodles blending hearty Bolognese sauce, melted cheese or bechamel sauce with mushrooms, chicken, sausage…whatever your palate craves, then baked until bubbly and browned on top.  The creator of this dish deserves a place in the Gastronomic Hall of Fame. I like to think it was a grandma from Firenze, but some sources indicate that she was actually born in Greece! Whatever the origin, today you will find all sorts of lasagnas, some so streamlined that it’s inappropriate to even keep the name. If you google “vegetarian lasagna” you’ll find yourself sorting through many thousands of hits. I browsed through a few pages for inspiration, but then I made my own version, which even that old Italian grandma would be pleased with.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 package of lasagna noodles
4 cups white mushrooms, sliced
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper
3 cups milk
3 T butter
4.5 T flour
ground nutmeg
3 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise 1/8 inch thick
lemon juice and zest
1 pound ricotta cheese
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 small package of frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1 ounce shredded mozzarella cheese
Grated Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese

Boil the noodles according to the instructions on the package (don’t overcook).  Plunge the noodles in ice cold water to stop them cooking, drain well and spread on a towel to remove excess moisture.  Lay them on a baking sheet brushing them ever so slightly with olive oil if you want to keep the cooked noodles in the fridge for assembling the lasagna later.  Cover well with plastic wrap.

Saute the mushrooms in olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper, until soft and all moisture has been released and evaporated.  Reserve.   Mix a couple of tablespoons of olive oil with some lemon juice,  brush the zucchini slices,  season with salt and pepper and grill until nicely marked on both sides.  Reserve.

Prepare the ricotta filling by mixing the ricotta with the beaten egg and the spinach, seasoning with salt, pepper, and a little lemon zest.  Reserve.

Prepare the béchamel sauce:  warm the milk in the microwave.  Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.   Add the hot milk all at once, whisking to prevent lumps from forming.  Season with salt, pepper, and freshly ground nutmeg.   Cook until thickened (about 5 minutes).  Reserve (dot with butter and place a plastic wrap over it to prevent a thick film from forming).

Assemble the lasagna:  Spread some of the béchamel sauce on the bottom of a baking dish.  Layer noodles to cover the surface with a slight overlap.  Add the mushrooms, and moisten them slightly with a few tablespoons of béchamel sauce.  Add another layer of noodles.  Layer the zucchini slices over them, add another layer of noodles.   Spoon the ricotta mixture carefully on top, add noodles to cover it, and spread the béchamel sauce on top, making sure to cover the whole surface.   Add the shredded mozzarella, sprinkle some Parmiggiano, and cover with aluminum foil.

Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes, uncover, and bake for 15 minutes more to brown the surface.  If necessary, increase the oven temperature or turn the broiler in the last few minutes.   Remove from the oven, let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Most current recipes call for no-boil lasagna noodles.  I’ve used them, and in a pinch I’d do it again, but not for a special dinner.  It is a little extra work to boil the pasta, but your guests (and you) deserve it. With boiled noodles the lasagna bakes more uniformly and the different layers better enrich each other, so that the final dish becomes more than the simple sum of its parts.  It’s gastronomic synergy in action 😉.  If you don’t believe me, make two small, identical lasagnas, one by boiling the pasta and the other using the “no-boil” method. Then, let your taste buds be the judge.

Most vegetarian lasagnas use eggplant and mushrooms, a tasty combination.   I kept the mushrooms as one layer, but substituted grilled zucchini for the eggplant, because the texture of its skin is much better.  My version is lighter on cheese and the béchamel sauce filling, which I mostly reserved to the top of the dish with an appetizing gratin cover.

There’s something inexplicably nice about spending a Saturday afternoon preparing the fillings, cooking the noodles and assembling the lasagna, especially on a huge kitchen counter top with nice music in the background…😉   I am very pleased with the way my veggie lasagna turned out, and hope that you’ll love it too.

Lasagna freezes extremely well, so we have leftovers conveniently packed in the freezer for our next trip home.  They’ll come in handy when we arrive from the airport,  a perfect antidote for the “peanut & pretzel treatment” that the airlines inflict on their passengers… 😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Brazilian Pao de Queijo (which happens to be one of my favorite posts)

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1 pacote de massa para lasanha
4 xícaras de cogumelos brancos, cortados
2 colheres de sopa de azeite
sal e pimenta
3 xícaras de leite
3 colheres de sopa de manteiga
4,5 colheres de cha’ de farinha de trigo
noz-moscada moída
3 abobrinhas média, cortadas longitudinalmente em fatias finas
suco e raspas de 1 limão
450 g de ricota
1 ovo ligeiramente batido
1 pacote pequeno (1 xicara) de espinafre congelado, descongelado e espremido
1 xicara de mussarela ralada
Queijo parmesão ralado

Cozinhe a massa de acordo com as instruções da embalagem (não cozinhe demais). Assim que estiver cozido, mergulhe as tiras de lasanha em água gelada para interromper o cozimento, escorra bem e espalhe sobre uma toalha para remover o excesso de umidade. Transfira para uma assadeira umedecendo ligeiramente com azeite se quiser manter as tiras de massa na geladeira para montar a lasanha mais tarde. Cubra bem com filme plástico.

Refogue os cogumelos no azeite, temperando com sal e pimenta, até que cozinhem por completo e fiquem sequinhos. Reserve. Misture duas colheres de sopa de azeite com um pouco de suco de limão, pincele as fatias de abobrinha, tempere com sal e pimenta e grelhe em ambos os lados. Reserve.

Prepare o recheio de ricota, misturando a ricota com o ovo batido e o espinafre, temperando com sal, pimenta e um pouco de raspas de limão. Reserve.

Prepare o molho bechamel: Aqueça o leite no microondas. Derreta a manteiga em uma panela, acrescente a farinha e cozinhe por 2-3 minutos, mexendo constantemente. Adicione o leite quente de uma só vez, mexendo para evitar a formação de grumos. Tempere com sal, pimenta e noz-moscada moida. Cozinhe até engrossar (cerca de 5 minutos). Reserve.

Monte a lasanha: Espalhe um pouco do molho bechamel no fundo de uma assadeira. Cubra com uma camada de massa de lasanha, adicione os cogumelos, e umedeça levemente com algumas colheres de sopa de molho bechamel. Cubra com outra camada de massa. Coloque as abobrinhas grelhadas, e sobre elas mais uma camada de massa. Adicione a mistura de ricota e espinafre cuidadosamente com uma colher, espalhando homogeneamente. Coloque uma camada final de massa, espalhe na superficie o molho bechamel restante e polvilhe a mozzarella e o queijo parmiggiano.

Cubra com papel alumínio e asse em forno quente por 30 minutos. Retire o papel aluminio e asse por mais 15 minutos. Se necessário, aumente a temperatura do forno nos minutos finais, para garantir um gratinado bem bonito.

Deixe a lasanha descansar a temperatura ambiente por 15 a 20 minutos antes de servir.


  1. Parece ótimo! Vc já usou a berinjela no lugar da massa? Fica ótimo para uma pedida mais light. Como uma vez por semana assim e, obvio, só com um molho de tomate e muzzarella no recheio e parmesão por cima. Vou experimentar adicionar a ricota com espinafre. No Natal, vai sua versão completa, inclusive com massa que requer pre-cozimento! Bjo


  2. I am allergic to mushrooms so this is a no-go recipe for me. I was wondering if you could come up with something that I could substitute for mushrooms. I love almost all vegetables except okra and sometimes eggplant.


    • Hi, Dick

      too bad about the mushroom allergy, but in that case I think I would go with a layer of roasted butternut squash puree, maybe with some walnuts to give a little crunch. Actually, hazelnuts are a good complement to butternut squash, and I remember a lasagna recipe from Giada de Laurentiis that calls for that combo (they are a bit pricey, though, so I normally substitute walnuts)


  3. I made your lasagne in the week, but …. didn’t boil the lasagne sheets first….sorry to let you down…. and we used aubergine instead of courgettes because that’s what we had.

    But, IT WAS DELICIOUS anyway so thanks for inspiring me with dinner🙂


  4. This is a tasty spread made from leftover butternut squash which had been baked for Thanksgiving dinner. Use it as a dip for crudités or on toast for breakfast. We liked it in sandwiches with lettuce, sliced cucumbers and hard-boiled eggs. We also liked black beans mixed into it.

    * ½ C baked butternut squash
    * ½ C fresh ricotta cheese
    * 2 t finely minced ginger
    * ¼ C finely shredded fresh parmesan
    * Juice of ½ large lime
    * I used a hand held mixer on lowest speed. You can mix this by hand.

    We use local food and local suppliers and independent stores when possible. The ricotta cheese in this recipe is made at our local, family-owned and operated grocery store from organic milk produced within 50 miles. We eat it straight from the container, look for recipes with ricotta, and create excuses to use it.


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