Creamy, with fontina béchamel, warming and pure comfort food, Butternut Squash Lasagna makes a memorable vegetarian main for holidays, special occasions or just when you need a hearty serving of fall on a plate! This recipe is vegetarian.
This recipe first appeared on Vanilla And Bean Nov. 2014. I’ve updated the photos, and recipe notes. The recipe remains largely unchanged except I increased the amount of butternut squash slightly, added a bit more cheese, and include a no-cook noodle method. Updated Nov. 2020.
Creamy and Rich Comfort Food
Cold, windy, and rainy days require comfort food and this Butternut Squash Lasagna fits the bill. A recipe perfectly suited for the holiday table, and in a small batch for quieter celebrations. But even if not for the holidays, this lasagna is worth spending time in the kitchen for!
A rich, and easy to make lasagna with butternut squash, this recipe features a creamy, easy peasy no fuss béchamel steeped with fresh herbs, spiked with warming spices and nutty fontina cheese. Layer in kale (my favorite) or spinach, caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash and garlic, and lasagna noodles for a seasonal delight!
This Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna recipe was given to me by a friend a many years ago. I first tried her version at a potluck and knew I had to have the recipe. Over the years, I’ve made a few tweaks to her recipe and it’s become a family favorite ever since. It’s a must make during squash season.
How to Make Butternut Squash Lasagna
A lot of prep work goes into this lasagna, but while one or two ingredients are working, there’s time to focus on other tasks. In summary, here’s how to make this creamy, flavor packed vegetarian lasagna (see recipe card below for full details):
- First, roast the garlic and butternut squash.
- Second, caramelize the onions.
- Third, steam the kale (or you can use frozen spinach).
- Fourth, stir the onions and kale together.
- Fifth, once cooked, mash the squash and garlic together.
- Sixth, if cooking the noodles, cook them now. Otherwise have your dry noodles handy.
- Seventh, shred the cheese and make the béchamel sauce.
- Next, layer the ingredients and top with cheese.
- Last, bake!
Allow the lasagna to rest for at least 15 minutes prior to serving. This helps the layers to relax and also, to steam off any excess moisture.
Save Time by Prepping Ahead
Like many lasagnas, this roasted butternut lasagna is a labor of love. Time intensive, yes, but there are ways to get a jump on the amount of time spent in the kitchen preparing so you’re not doing it all in one day.
Also, I took a tip from Cori who left a note in the comments that she made this recipe without precooking the noodles, and she used whole wheat lasagna (not a no-cook variety). So, I gave it a go! A complete time saver, thank you Cori!
The brand I use is called Bionaturea who offers whole wheat and regular noodles. This brand is not labeled no-cook, but they work beautifully! I find Bionaturea at our local food Co-Op, Whole Foods and Amazon.com stocks Bionaturea as well. It comes in wider and shorter noodle sizes (3″ X 7″) perfect for a smaller batch lasagna. I’ve not tried other brands of lasagna (no cook or otherwise) in this specific recipe.
Here are a few things to do ahead if desired:
- Up to two days ahead:
- Roast the garlic and butternut and mash em’ together.
- Caramelize the onion and steam the kale.
- On the day of assembly:
- Whip up the easy béchamel.
- Cook the lasagna noodles if cooking.
- Layer the ingredients and bake.
This roasted butternut squash lasagna can also be assembled, baked and then rested overnight in the fridge. The next day, simply reheat the lasagna and share. The lasagna noodles are a bit softer with this method, but it still produces delicious results.
Let’s Layer this Lasagna!
A Few Recipe Notes
- Make ahead? Yes please! There are several ways to approach it. See meal prep tips above for starting this recipe a few days ahead. You’ll need to be sure to promptly store leftovers in the freezer however, due to the lead time on already prepped veggies. You can also opt to refrigerate this lasagna after baking and reheat the next day.
- Dry or Cooked Lasagna Noodles? Bionaturea who offers whole wheat and regular noodles works beautifully in this recipe because they fit the pan easily. This brand is not labeled no-cook, but they work well if pre cooking or not. I find Bionaturea at our local food Co-Op, Whole Foods and Amazon.com stocks Bionaturea as well.
- Freezer Friendly? Yes please! I’ve frozen this lasagna in individual pieces that have already been baked, so, if you freeze the whole thing, let us know! Cool baked lasagna completely then freeze. Thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat, covered in a 350F oven for about 25 – 30 minutes.
- For this small batch butternut lasagna, you’ll need an 8 x 8 (2 Qt) baking dish. I like this versatile clay baker by Emily Henry (also found on Amazon.com).
More Vegetarian Pasta Recipes to Love
- Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
- Lemon Garlic Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
- Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna – gluten full or gluten free
- Stovetop Pumpkin Mac & Cheese
- Orecchiette with Kale and Toasted Breadcrumbs
Butternut Squash Lasagna
- Cooking Spray for baker
- 2 1/2 lb (1.1kg) Butternut Squash about one medium butternut (you'll need about 2 C mashed / 390g)
- 2 Tbs + 2 tsp Olive Oil divided
- 1 tsp Sea Salt divided
- 1 1/2 Tbs Sage dried
- 1 head of Garlic medium, top sliced to expose garlic
- 1 (325g) Purple or Yellow Onion large, sliced in half, then sliced thin in half moons.
- 2 Tbs Water
- 1 (9oz / 255g) Bunch of Kale Red Russian or curly green, stems removed and chopped into 1" pieces (see note on spinach)
- 4 C (880g) Whole Milk divided
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 4 Springs of Thyme or an herb bundle of thyme, rosemary and/or sage
- 4 Tbs All Purpose Flour
- 1/4 tsp Pepper ground
- 3/4 tsp Nutmeg ground
- 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 6 Dry Lasagna Noodles whole wheat or regular (I use 3"x7.5" / 7.6cm x 19cm Bionaturae noodles so they fit the pan easily)
- 7 oz (200g) Fontina Cheese grated, divided
- Parmesan Cheese
- Chopped Parsley or Thyme
- Preheat oven to 425F. Spray an 8 x 8 (2 quart) casserole or baking dish with pan spray, set aside. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Prep the Veggies:
- Split and deseed the butternut squash. Drizzle 1 Tbs oil on the flesh and spread it around on the surface. Sprinkle flesh with 1/2 tsp sea salt and all the sage. Turn the flesh face down to roast. Wrap the garlic sprinkled with 2 tsp oil in foil and place on the same pan as the butternut squash. Roast garlic for 30-40 minutes and butternut squash for 40 - 55 minutes or until the garlic is soft and butternut gives under gentle pressure. If roasting two smaller butternut squashes, they'll roast faster than one large one. Keep an eye on them and start checking around 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool until both can be safely handled. Scrape flesh of butternut squash from the skin and discard skin. Squeeze the garlic out of it's papery skin. Discard the skin. Using a potato masher, mash the garlic and butternut squash together (I do this right on the roasting pan). A few chunks are ok. Set aside.
- While the squash is roasting, slice the onions. Add 1 tsp of oil to a dutch oven or large saute pan (non stick is helpful here), heat until oil shimmers then add the onions with 1/4 tsp salt. Caramelize the onions for about 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, on low heat. Lid the onions about 10 minutes in, stirring occassionally. The'll probably start sticking, so add a splash of water to loosen, several times if needed.. The onions should be browned and soft. Spoon into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In the same dutch oven or saute' pan, add the chopped kale with 2 Tbs water on medium heat. Cover and steam for 3 minutes, opening at 2 minutes, stirring, and recovering. The kale should be slightly wilted. Drain any excess water and add to bowl with caramelized onions and stir to incorporate the ingredients.
Prep the Noodles:
- UPDATE 11/20: I been making this recipe recently using dry Bionaturae lasagna noodles (both whole wheat and plain), layering them in the lasagna without cooking them first and making sure they're covered in sauce. I cooked the lasagna for 10 minutes longer covered (for a total of 40 minutes) as opposed to the original 30 minutes covered. We love the results!ORTo Cook the Noodles: In a large stock pot bring water to a boil to prepare lasagna pasta. Cook according to package directions. Drain and lay noodles flat and separated onto a dry work surface. It's ok if they cool.
Make the Béchamel:
- Wipe out the dutch oven or saute' pan and add 3 1/2 C of milk, bay leaf, and thyme (or herb bundle). Bring to a simmer, just until the milk begins to bubble around the edges of the pan, then remove from heat. Allow the herbs steep in the milk for 10 minutes. Remove the herbs and bayleaf and discard. To the reserved 1/2 C of milk, whisk in the all purpose flour. Add the milk/flour mixture into the steeped milk and whisk over medium high heat, whisking until blended. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low to low and gently simmer for about 5 minutes, until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 1/4 tsp of salt, pepper, nutmeg and red pepper flakes. Stir in 3/4 C of the grated fontina. Set aside.
- In the prepared 8x8 baking dish spread a scant 1 C milk/cheese mixture in the bottom. Layer in two lasagna noodles (without overlapping the noodles). On top of the noodles, spread 1/2 the butternut squash mixture, then 1/2 the kale/onion mixture. Spread a scant 1 C of milk/cheese mixture on top of the kale, then add two more lasagna noodles. Spread the remaining squash on the noodles, then top with the remaining kale and a scant 1 C of the milk mixture. Finish the lasagna off with the last two lasagna noodles and the remaining milk/cheese mixture.Sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
- To cover: tent a sheet of foil taking care not to touch the surface of the lasagna with the foil. Bake at 425F, covered, for 30 minutes if baking with cooked noodles. If baking with dry noodles, bake for 40 minutes, covered, testing the noodles using a knife inserted in the center that yields to gentle pressure. Bake 5-10 more if needed. I have a bit of overspill when baking this recipe, so I simply place a parchment lined sheet pan on the rack below the lasagna to catch any spillage. Remove the foil and broil for 2-4 minutes or until cheese on top is lightly browned and bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with parmesan and parsley.
Storage and Reheating:
- Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze for up to two weeks. Thaw in the fridge overnight and gently reheat individual slices, covered in a 350F oven. MAKE AHEAD NOTE: I made this lasagna a day before I intended to serve it. I covered it with foil and stored it in the fridge once completely cooled. The following evening, I baked it covered in a 350F oven for about 50-60 minutes. The noodles were a bit softer than when shared right after baking fresh, but the results were satisfying.
- Roast the butternut squash and garlic up to two days ahead.
- Caramelize the onions and steam the kale up to two days ahead.
- When ready to assemble, whip up the béchamel sauce, assemble the lasagna and bake.