The vegetarian lasagna of your dreams! Stuffed with green veggies, pesto, and a creamy no-cook ricotta white sauce, this is sure to become a family favourite!
This vegetarian lasagna is Italian comfort food at its finest. Creamy layers of ricotta bechamel and pea pesto topped with sliced potatoes and sauteed spinach, sandwiched between fresh pasta sheets.
This lasagna recipe is so much lighter compared to other recipes out there. And if you’re not a huge tomato sauce fan, this is a great tomato-free lasagna recipe for you to try.
I replaced the classic heavy white sauce with a much healthier no-cook ricotta cheese white sauce that comes together in just one minute and tastes incredible.
This green veggie lasagna is such a great recipe to try, even if you’re a novice cook – It comes together easily and you need very basic cooking skills, I promise!
Plus, I totally guarantee that the whole family will go absolutely crazy about, even the kids!
Best of all, it’s freezer-friendly and can also be made ahead of time!
Now, this is a meatless lasagna but if you don’t have any dietary restrictions, feel free to add in your desired protein between the layers.
Ground meat/turkey/chicken, steamed salmon, stir-fried prawns are some good choices.
Vegetarian Lasagna Ingredients
This modern version of the classic Italian dish is incredibly easy to put together, and not really time-consuming as you may think.
The main components of my super easy, veggie-loaded white lasagna are:
- Lasagna noodles
- Pea pesto
- Sauteed spinach leaves
- Steamed potatoes
- mozzarella cheese
- ricotta white sauce
Before we go through the process, I want to spend a few words on the ingredients I’ve used, because they truly turn this classic dish into a nutrient-packed modern version of comfort food.
Ricotta Cheese White Sauce
The no-cook “fake bechamel” is basically a ricotta mixture that is very similar in texture to the bechamel sauce, but so much lighter, because there’s no need to use butter and flour.
The only ingredients you need are fresh milk, ricotta cheese, and Italian-style hard cheese.
You can totally use Parmesan if you like, but note that the original Parmigiano Reggiano is not vegetarian.
However, there are lots of good Italian-style hard cheese alternatives available at the supermarket.
Triple check the labels before buying it, to make sure it’s veggie.
If you’ve been following me for some time, you now I’m crazy about ricotta.
I prepare homemade ricotta on a regular basis, but a good commercial one (better if you get it from an Italian-deli) is also an excellent choice.
Place the milk and cheeses in a blender, add in a pinch of sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and grated nutmeg, and blend until creamy.
Your no-cook ricotta bechamel is ready in less than 1 minute, and guess what, it tastes INCREDIBLE.
Lasagna: Fresh pasta or dry pasta sheets?
There is an ongoing debate on whether you get the best results by using fresh or dry lasagna noodles.
Fresh lasagna pasta sheets are available in the refrigerated section of the supermarkets.
They usually contain more eggs, taste better and a little more expensive than dry sheets.
You don’t need to pre-cook the pasta before assembling the dish. Simply cut the sheets into the exact size of your baking dish.
So your dish will definitely be quicker to put together.
Dry lasagna sheets are easier to find and a lot cheaper than fresh ones, however, my advice is to cook them first before use.
A well-known worldwide pasta maker once told me that dry pasta ALWAYS needs a little cooking time in the water, no matter what.
So, if you go for dry lasagna, drop 2 sheets at a time in boiling water for a minute, then transfer them on a clean kitchen cloth, and proceed until you have enough lasagne sheets.
I prefer fresh lasagna pasta sheets over dry lasagna sheets, and that’s what I’m using in this recipe, however, feel free to substitute with dry lasagna sheets if you like.
Also, if you don’t eat eggs as part of your vegetarian lifestyle, you can easily find egg-free lasagna noodles both in large supermarkets or online.
Easy-Peasy Pea pesto
My vegan pea pesto is one of my favourite things to make in the kitchen. It’s refreshing, with a sweet & tangy aroma, and it really takes only 5 minutes to put together.
All you need is very simple ingredients to make it: garlic, peas, lemon zest, pine nuts and good extra-virgin olive oil.
Throw everything in a food processor, blend until smooth, season with salt & pepper and it’s all ready. Easy-peasy, right?!
If you want to try something else, substitute it with this broccoli pesto, they’re equally delicious and go very well with this dish.
The Best Vegetables for Lasagna
I used thinly sliced steamed potatoes and sauteed spinach to fill up my lasagna. You can totally make these the day before and store them in the fridge until needed.
I stir-fry spinach leaves with a little extra-virgin olive oil and finely chopped shallot, or a mix of onion and garlic, but you can omit the garlic if you want.
Add in some chili flakes or grated nutmeg for extra flavor, if you fancy.
Here are some other vegetable lasagna fillings options that I recommend:
- green beans – steamed or stir-fried with garlic and olive oil
- kale leaves – steamed or stir-fried with shallot and olive oil
- mushrooms – stir-fried with a little butter
- purple potatoes – steamed and sliced
- butternut squash or pumpkin – sliced and steamed or roasted with thyme and olive oil
- broccoli – chopped into small pieces and stir-fried with garlic, olive oil, and chili flakes
- courgettes – thinly sliced and grilled with a little olive oil
How To Make This Veggie Lasagna with White Sauce
This beautiful modern Italian pasta dish comes together easily with very little effort.
Once you have all the ingredients ready, it’s just a matter of assembling them.
Start by brushing the bottom of a baking dish with a layer of creamy white sauce.
Then top with lasagna sheets, use a knife to cut them so it fits perfectly your baking dish.
Next, spread 1/2 of the pea pesto evenly over the lasagna noodles, and top with sliced potatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves.
Top with lasagna noodles then spread an even layer of ricotta cheese sauce over the pasta. Top with the sauteed spinach leaves.
Then, top again with lasagna sheets, and spread the remaining pea pesto over the pasta. Arrange the sliced potatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves on top.
Finally, arrange another layer of pasta noodles on top, and spread the remaining white sauce all over the noodles, to make a thick white layer.
Note that the ricotta white sauce tends to be a little drier than classic bechamel sauce, so be generous when you spread it all over the top.
Bake your lasagna in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through and the top is gently bubbling.
For some nice golden-brown spots over the top, place it under the grill for about 5 extra minutes.
Vegan Lasagna with White Sauce
You can totally make a vegan white lasagna using this recipe. First of all, make sure you use lasagna sheets that don’t contain eggs.
Swap the ricotta with vegan-friendly ricotta, you can even make your own vegan ricotta using soy milk if you want.
You will also need vegan Parmesan and mozzarella cheese, but supermarkets have so many alternatives nowadays, so that should be fairly easy!
Gluten-free Lasagna with White Sauce
Making this lasagna recipe gluten-free it’s totally easy actually. All you have to do is swap regular lasagna sheets with gluten-free lasagna sheets. That’s it!
Did you make this recipe?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook! Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!
Vegetarian Lasagna with No-Cook White Sauce
For the ricotta white sauce:
- 500 gr fresh ricotta cheese
- 220 ml fresh milk
- 2 tbsp vegetarian italian-style hard cheese or Parmesan for non-veggies, grated
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
- Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
For the sauteed spinach:
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 300 gr fresh or defrosted spinach leaves
- 1 medium shallot or red onion finely minced
To assemble the lasagna:
- 8-10 fresh lasagna pasta sheets
- 1 cup pea pesto
- 2 mozzarella balls very well drained, thinly sliced
- 2 steamed potatoes peeled and thinly sliced
- handful of basil leaves
- For the ricotta white sauce: place the ricotta, grated cheese, milk and olive oil in a blender and blend until creamy. Add a little more milk if necessary. Season with sea salt, black pepper and a pinch of nutmeg
- For the sauteed spinach: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Fold in the shallot and spinach leaves, cover with a lid and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Remove the lid, stir and cook for 2 more minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside until needed.
- Preheat oven to 180 and arrange a baking tray onto the middle rack.
- Brush the bottom of a 6x8 inches baking dish with a layer of ricotta white sauce.
- Then top with lasagna sheets, use a knife to cut them so it fits perfectly your baking dish.
- Spread 1/2 of the pea pesto evenly over the lasagna noodles, and top with 1/2 the sliced potatoes, 1/2 the mozzarella and 1/2 the basil leaves.
- Top with lasagna noodles then spread an even layer of ricotta cheese sauce over the pasta. Top with the sauteed spinach leaves.
- Then, top again with lasagna sheets, and spread the remaining pea pesto over the pasta. Arrange the remaining sliced potatoes, mozzarella and basil leaves on top.
- Finally, arrange another layer of pasta noodles on top, and spread the remaining white sauce all over the noodles, to make a thick white layer.
- Note that the ricotta white sauce tends to be a little drier than classic bechamel sauce, so be generous when you spread it all over the top.
- Bake the lasagna in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through and the top is gently bubbling.
- For some nice golden spots over the top, place it under the grill for about 5 more minutes.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and serve.