Layers of garlicky cheesy goodness in this easier no boil lasagna with ricotta recipe. This vegetarian mushroom spinach ricotta lasagna feeds a small crowd and leftovers freeze with ease! This recipe is vegetarian and easily gluten free.
To Boil or Not to Boil?
I used to hardly ever make lasagna. Boiling the lasagna noodles added too much time to the whole affair, and this coming from someone who loves to be in the kitchen! My resistance was long before no boil lasagna noodles were even heard of.
Funny thing, though, I was always confused about if I had to buy “no boil” labeled noodles or if I could just cook the dry noodles in the lasagna with a little recipe tweaking. But with time and making lots of veggie lasagnas, I learned that by adding just a bit of water to the sauce mixture, I could simply add the dry lasagna noodles to the lasagna, cover and bake.
This lasagna with ricotta recipe works well without boiling the noodles. You can use gluten free or gluten full noodles! See my recommendations below.
What are the best gluten free lasagna noodles?
Since I ate gluten free for a trial period, I’ve tried a few new to me gluten free lasagna noodles in this no boil lasagna recipe. These are my favorite:
- Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice Pasta Lasagne: dry noodles
- Jovial Foods Organic Gluten Free Brown Rice Lasagna: dry noodles
- Taste Republic Brown Rice Lasagna Sheets: fresh/frozen noodles
I’ve found the texture of brown rice lasagna to be appealing and similar to gluten filled pasta. However, one issue I’ve experienced with dry gluten free lasagna is the sheets tend break easily in the box. I find this breakage to be especially true when receiving them from an online order. When this occurs, I simply piece them back together while assembling the lasagna (see below). When purchased at the grocery store, their seems to be less breakage.
What are the best gluten full lasagna noodles?
I’ve made this spinach and mushroom lasagna recipe with gluten free and with gluten full noodles. If not gluten free, try Bionaturae Whole Wheat Lasagna Noodles. They’re delicious and work well in this recipe.
Can you make lasagna without boiling the noodles?
Absolutely! And it’s much easier than boiling the noodles before assembling the lasagna, but there must be enough moisture in the sauce to cook the noodles. Here is how I do it:
- add just a little bit of water to the sauce.
- cover the lasagna and bake it for 45-55 minutes, then bake it uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Adding water to the sauce and covering the pan ensures the noodles have enough moisture to cook until tender. During the last 10-15 minutes of uncovered baking and also 10 minutes of rest time out of the oven allows excess moisture to steam off.
Quick Guide: How to Make Vegetarian Spinach Ricotta Lasagna
Absolutely flavor packed, in summary, here’s how to whip up a pan of pesto lasagna (see recipe card below for details):
- First, sear the mushrooms in a bit of oil. Add the shallots and garlic, then the tomato sauce, paste and water. Stir and warm through. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, mix the ricotta, feta and pesto. Set aside
- Next, squeeze out the water from the thawed spinach. Set aside.
- To assemble: in a 9″x 9″x 2 1/4″ pan (deep square pan), spread about a cup of sauce in the bottom. Place four lasagna noodles over the sauce, spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the uncooked noodles, dot 1/3 of the spinach over the ricotta and sprinkle 1/4 of the shredded mozzarella. Repeat this two more times.
- Finish the top of this pesto lasagna with a layer of mozzarella, feta, parmesan, red pepper flakes and dried oregano.
- Finally, cover the lasagna with foil, tenting it so that it does not touch the top of the lasagna. We don’t want all that cheese sticking to the foil! Bake for 45-55 minutes. When the noodles are tender, remove the foil and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until the tomato sauce is bubbly around the edges and the cheese is melted and golden.
Allow the lasagna with ricotta recipe to rest about 10 minutes before serving.
A Few Recipe Notes
- For this mushroom and spinach lasagna recipe I use a deep, 9″ square pan. You can use a 13″x9″ pan, but instead of three layers, you’ll have two.
- For a bolder, more garlicky-pesto flavor omit the ricotta mixture and replace it with my Pesto-Spinach Whipped Ricotta Dip. I typically have a jar or two in the freezer and have used it several times in this recipe. It’s just so convenient and delicious!
- Because pasta can vary in cook time, I start checking the lasagna noodles for doneness after baking the covered lasagna for about 45 minutes. A sharp knife inserted in the center of the lasagna should yield to gentle pressure when the noodles are done. This is when the foil can be removed.
- Freezer friendly? Yes please! Freeze in individual storage containers for lunch, or in a larger storage container for dinner. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a 350F (175C) oven, covered, for about 15 minutes.
More Vegetarian Pasta Recipes to Love
- Lemon Garlic Orzo with Roasted Vegetables
- Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna
- Eggplant Pomodoro Pasta – from Foolproof Living
- Orecchiette with Garlicky Kale and Breadcrumbs
- Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Spinach-Mushroom Pesto Ricotta Lasagna Recipe
- 1 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 14 oz (400g) Mixed Mushrooms like Crimini and Button Top brush clean and remove stems, slice
- 1/3 C (40g) Shallots minced, about one small
- 1 Tbs Minced Garlic divided
- 2 Tbs Tomato Paste
- 2, (25.5oz / 720g) Jars of Pasta Sauce I like Lucini
- 1/3 C (78g) Water
- 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes divided
- 1/2 tsp Fine Sea Salt divided
- 2 C (16oz /453) Ricotta I like whole milk Ricotta Con Latte
- 1/2 C (125g) Pesto I like garlic scape or basil
- 1/2 C (110g) Mediterranean Feta crumbled fine, divided
- 2, 10oz (566g) Packages of Chopped Frozen Spinach thawed
- 9 oz (280g) Lasagna gluten free or gluten full, see notes or blog post for recommendations. you'll need 12 sheets, one box will do it.
- 2 C (225g) Shredded Mozzarella Blend divided
- 1/4 C (36g) Grated Parmesan Cheese divided **see note
- 1 tsp Oregano dried
- Fresh Basil or Parsley and Fresh Ground Pepper for garnish
- In a large saute pan add the olive oil and bring it to shimmering on medium heat. Add the mushrooms and allow to sear, stirring only occasionally for 7-8 minutes. Adjust heat to medium low as needed. Stir in the shallots, 1/2 Tbs of garlic and tomato paste. Cook on low for one minute. Stir in the pasta sauce, water, 1/4 tsp of red pepper flakes and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Taste for salt adjustment and add more if needed. Set aside.
- For the Ricotta Mixture: In a medium mixing bowl, add the ricotta, pesto, 1/4 C (55g) feta, 1/2 Tbs garlic, a generous few grinds of fresh ground pepper and 1/4 tsp sea salt. Stir thoroughly to incorporate. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a strainer, press out as much liquid as possible in the spinach. Use a tea towel to give it a final squeeze or two. It should be very dry. Set oven rack in the center and preheat oven to 400F (204C)
- In a 9"x9"x2 1/4" baking pan: a) Spoon in about 1 C of sauce, just to cover the bottom of the pan. Fish out any mushrooms and put them back in the with the tomato sauce so that the base of the lasagna layers lay flat. b) On top of the sauce, layer 4 uncooked lasagna noodles, snapping an end off to fit (if needed). If any noodles are broken, simply piece them together in position the best you can. c) Smooth 1/3 of the ricotta mixture on top of the uncooked lasagna noodles. d) Evenly dot 1/3 of the spinach over the top of the ricotta. e) Sprinkle 1/4 C of the shredded Mozzarella blend over the spinach. f) Over the mozzarella, spread about 1/3 of the of the remaining pasta sauce. Repeat steps b-f two more times, finishing the top with the remaining mozzarella, feta, a good sprinkle of parmesan, a pinch of dried oregano and 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes.
- Tent a large piece of foil over the pan, making sure that the edges are sealed. If the foil touches the top of the lasagna it will stick so make sure the foil isn't touching the lasagna. Set the pan on a parchment lined sheet pan to catch any sauce that may spill over. Bake the lasagna at 400F (204C) for 45-55 minutes. Depending on type of noodle used (gluten free or not), bake time can vary. I start checking my lasagna at 45 minutes by gently pulling back the foil (be careful, it will be steamy!) and inserting a knife in the center. You're testing to see of the noodles are tender. If a sharp knife gives under gentle pressure, the noodles are done and you can move on to removing the foil. If the pasta doesn't give way to gentle pressure, the lasagna needs more time under the foil. Give it 5-10 more minutes. Reseal the foil being careful to tent it so that the cheese doesn't stick. Just do your best.When you're satisfied that the noodles are about done, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the lasagna is bubbly, and cheese on top is melty and golden. Darker edges are okay. Remove from oven and let stand at least 10-15 minutes before slicing and sharing. Run a knife around the edges of the lasagna to ease the edges, then cut into nine pieces.
- Serve with more parmesan, pepper flakes, fresh parsley or basil and fresh ground pepper.
- Cool completely before freezing. I freeze in individual cut pieces in a lidded container for easy dinners or in individual lunch portions. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in a 350F oven for about 15 minutes.
Just a quick question, hope you’ll respond quickly as I’m thinking about making this on Friday for company dinner… has anyone tried roasting the mushrooms instead of sautéing them? Roasted mushrooms have a more meatier earthy taste!
Hi Sue! I’ve not read about anyone roasting the mushrooms instead of sautéing for this recipe. If roasting is your preferred method to cooking mushrooms, I’m confident it would work in this recipe. Keep us posted!
Thanks for the speedy response! I’ll give roasting a try!
Hello, I have been making lasagna over 50 years. All these years later I continue two types, meat and veggie. Meat always made with real cheese, veggie too until, discovering issues with dairy products. Now always made with vegan chez. I am happy to report all these later, vegan chez has improved! As to the sauce, I have never used a jar. Always have frozen sauce, always my Grandmothers. I make for myself, lots of veggie pies including mushroom&spinach.I Tweeked yours to fit my needs. Also, I have always cooked noodles before building the casserole, (Grandma’s label) Thanx for reading! any feed back is appriecated!raf
Terrific! Just made this tonight! Everyone loved it! Made it just like the recipe states. Perfect and delicious!!
SO happy to hear, Stephanie! Thank you for your note and giving the recipe a go!
Good One Tracy… I like Lagiana…. Thanks Much….
I love all of your recipes that I’ve tried so far and so does everyone else! I tend not to make lasagna too often because I don’t do too well with all the cheese. Do you have any suggestions. My husbands loves lasagna! In the past I’ve just used less but it just isn’t the same. Is there a good substitue for ricotta?
Hi Sylvia! Thank you for your note. Indeed, it’s a treat around here too! You can give cashew ricotta a go in this recipe – it’s dairy free, which would reduce the amount of cheese in this recipe. My friend Sarah has a cashew ricotta recipe you might like. I’m working on a recipe but haven’t perfected it yet! :D I hope this helps!
So happy to hear Lewis! Thank you for your note!
Geraldine | Green Valley Kitchen
I love lasagna, Traci – but don’t make it very often because it’s seems too time consuming to make. So I LOVE the idea of skipping a step and not boiling the noodles before hand. The tip about adding a little extra water makes total sense. Love all the veggies and the feta (my favorite) that you’ve added. Our weather has been very cool and rainy here – so this will make the perfect dinner!
Sarah | Well and Full
Traci, this lasagna looks SO delicious. I love how there’s so much flavor in every layer! :)
Traci! I am absolutely saving this recipe! I’m of the “do I boil or not” lasagna noodle camp and often shy away from making it cause it makes SO much and then there’s all that gluten… First of all, this looks amazing, but the fact that you made it in a smaller pan AND you have gluten-free noodle options, I’m all in!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
Such a fantastic comfort food dish Traci! I never boil my lasagna noodles anymore. So much easier! Even Mr. Picky would totally enjoy this. He loves mushrooms and has really been coming around to spinach too. Miracles do happen! Your photos are just beautiful too Traci. They are leaving me incredibly hungry!
Oh goodness Mary Ann! Mr. Picky would like this too? I’m impressed and happy! Hooray! But the spinach has me over the moon, lol!! Isn’t it so much easier than boiling those noodles? The only other time I’d boil is if I’m making those roll ups. Thank you for your kind words, Mare… and for sending a smile :D
Lasagna holds a special place in my heart…it’s the meal my gram made for all of the big holidays, and it was incredible. I can still see her at the oven peaking in to see when it was perfectly set and ready for her family. I love your recipe! This is a keeper, my friend!
I knew it would, Annie! And I bet you have that recipe your gram made for you too. Seems there’s so many recipes for lasagna… I love it’s versatility!
Very much looking forward to trying this tonight! Do you think using fresh spinach instead of frozen affect the othe steps?
Hi Hannah! I’ve used fresh spinach in this recipe before, but it requires an extra step. You’ll need two big bunches since it wilts down a great deal. Steam the spinach in a large saute pan until it wilts – about 1-2 minutes. Then, let it cool and squeeze out all the water. Use it as you would the frozen spinach. I hope this helps and you enjoy the recipe!
Lasagna holds a special spot in comfort foods for me as it’s one of my favorite things my Mom used to make. While I’m a ‘shroom lover the rest of my family just can’t quite get on board (though my son is and an excellent forager) but we are fans of your butternut squash and kale lasagna. I may have to try this recipe without the addition of the mushrooms to the sauce. The arctic chill has definitely been calling for a dish like this! Stay warm, Traci!
I LOL at your ‘shroom lover comment. My hubs is not a fan either, so I chop them small and he doesn’t notice. I love that butternut lasagna too! I hope you enjoy this one the same, Jean! Y’all stay warm… they’re calling for snow here on Sunday! :o !!
Liz @ Floating Kitchen
Oh my this looks SO SO comforting. Polar vortex be damned! And so happy to be able to skip the step of boiling the noodles. I’m all about taking any shortcuts I can get!
Haha! Polar vortex be damned! Love it! We’re supposed to get snow on Sunday, Liz! 80% chance – woah! Hope you’re keeping warm and have all the good eats without having to get out in the storm. xo