Lasagna Casserole

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Addictively easy Lasagna Casserole uses cottage cheese and a special trick to cook quickly when you want lasagna without the long bake time! This is a quick and easy alternative to lasagna is family friendly without the hassle.

lasagna noodles, cheese, vegetables, and meat layered on a plate with a fork
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Easy Lasagna Casserole

We love lasagna- but I’m not always good at planning far enough ahead of time to have the rich, hearty meal- since my lasagna takes at least an hour to bake- let alone noodle cook time (when making a whole lasagna, I prefer the traditional non-quick noodles). I love to toss in veggies that nobody knows are there but me- but sometimes I just need to cook it, quick!

Thankfully, this method makes it easy to quickly cook, without compromising noodle integrity (that’s totally a thing, ok?). The secret all lies in your sauce and noodles- we’re using the bake-ready kind of noodles, and a thinner pasta sauce. Doesn’t matter what kind of sauce you prefer- just pick one that isnt too thick with veggies. We’re going to add plenty of veggies anyways- so keep your sauce on the smoother side. It will help the noodles soak up more liquid!

Speaking of the noodles- we’re only going to add two layers (normally I have 4-5 layers of noodles in lasagna)- and we’re going to break up the noodle sheets into small pieces. This helps them cook faster, and thicken your casserole! Please be sure to use the oven-ready kind that don’t need to be pre-boiled, or this will result in a crunchy dish. Otherwise, feel free to add veggies, meat, or switch up cheeses! (Though I swear by cottage cheese- my cottage cheese lasagna recipe is on the blog and my all time favorite!)

How to Make Lasagna Casserole

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Cottage cheese (2 cups) – Adds a creamy, rich texture to lasagna, offering a lighter alternative to traditional ricotta cheese.
  • Onion (1) – Provides a foundational flavor, adding sweetness and depth to the lasagna’s sauce and filling.
  • Zucchini (1) – Introduces a mild, garden-fresh element and a tender texture, making it a healthy addition to the layers.
  • Bell peppers (2) – Contribute a slight sweetness and crunch, enhancing the overall taste profile with their vibrant colors.
  • Spaghetti sauce (1 large jar) – Serves as the heart of the dish, enveloping the ingredients in a rich, tomato-based melody of herbs and spices.
  • Mozzarella (1 large package) – Melts into stretchy, gooey layers, bringing a delightful cheese pull and mild, milky flavor to every bite.
  • Sea Salt (1/2 tsp) – Enhances the overall flavors of the casserole, highlighting the sweetness and savoriness of the ingredients.
  • Black Pepper (1/4 tsp) – Adds a subtle heat and complexity, rounding out the dish with its aromatic warmth.

Use this Method

Layer. In a casserole dish or pie pan, layer lasagna noodles that have been broken into small pieces onto the bottom. Add a layer of sauce. Add a layer of onions peppers and zucchini. Add a layer of cottage cheese and mozzarella. Add more sauce. Top with another layer of broken lasagna noodles. Top with sauce, cottage cheese, and mozzarella.

Bake. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes- until cheese on top is bubbly and golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

lasagna noodles, cheese, vegetables, and meat layered on a plate with a fork

Tips and Tricks for Making Lasagna Casserole

Choose Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality cheeses, fresh vegetables, and premium meats. The quality of your ingredients will directly impact the flavor of your lasagna.

Pre-Cook Noodles Properly: If you’re using traditional lasagna noodles, ensure they’re cooked al dente. Overcooking can lead to mushy lasagna layers. For no-boil noodles, ensure there’s enough sauce to cover them so they cook evenly in the oven.

Season Each Layer: Season each component separately (meat, ricotta mixture, vegetables) to ensure your lasagna is flavorful throughout.

Ricotta Mixture Tip: To keep the ricotta cheese mixture from being too dry, mix it with an egg and a bit of milk or cream. This helps create a creamy layer that spreads easily.

Layering Technique: Start with a layer of sauce at the bottom of your baking dish to prevent the noodles from sticking. Then layer in this order: noodles, cheese mixture, meat/vegetables, sauce, and repeat. Finish with a generous layer of cheese on top.

Let It Rest: Allow your lasagna to rest for 10-15 minutes after baking. This helps the layers set, making it easier to cut and serve without falling apart.

Use Fresh Herbs: Incorporate fresh herbs like basil or oregano for a burst of flavor. Add them between layers or as a garnish on top.

Moisture Management: To prevent a watery lasagna, especially if using vegetables like spinach or mushrooms, pre-cook them to release excess moisture.

Cover During Baking: Cover the lasagna with foil during the initial phase of baking to keep it moist. Remove the foil towards the end to allow the cheese on top to become bubbly and golden brown.

Freeze for Later: Lasagna freezes well. You can prepare it ahead of time, freeze it before baking, and then thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before baking as usual.

Baking Dish Choice: Use a deep baking dish to accommodate multiple layers without overflow. Glass or ceramic dishes are preferred for even heat distribution.

Cheese Varieties: Experiment with different types of cheese for variety in texture and flavor. Alongside ricotta, consider mozzarella, Parmesan, or even a bit of smoked provolone or Gouda.

FAQ’s

Can I make lasagna Casserole ahead of time?

Yes, you can assemble the lasagna ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours before baking. If you want to freeze it, wrap the assembled lasagna tightly and freeze for up to 3 months; thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking.

How can I prevent my lasagna from being watery?

To avoid a watery lasagna, ensure that your ingredients, especially vegetables, are not too moist before assembly. Pre-cook vegetables to release excess water, and consider using thicker sauces or letting your ricotta cheese strain if it’s particularly wet.

Can I use no-boil noodles, and do they work as well as regular noodles?

Yes, you can use no-boil (oven-ready) lasagna noodles, and they work quite well, saving time and effort. Ensure that each noodle is covered in sauce because the moisture from the sauce is necessary to cook the noodles properly.

How do I store and reheat leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, cover with aluminum foil and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) until heated through, or microwave individual portions.

Can I substitute cottage cheese with something else?

Yes, if cottage cheese is not to your liking or unavailable, ricotta cheese is a popular alternative. You can also use béchamel sauce for a different texture or mascarpone for a creamier layer.

How can I make my lasagna more flavorful?

Incorporate fresh herbs, like basil or oregano, into your layers or sauce for added flavor. Also, seasoning each component (meat, ricotta mixture, vegetables) individually before assembly can enhance the overall taste.

A slice of lasagna on a plate.

What to Serve with Lasagna Casserole

Garden Salad: A fresh garden salad with a mix of greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette balances the richness of the lasagna.

Garlic Bread: Crispy, buttery garlic bread is a classic accompaniment for lasagna, perfect for soaking up the sauce.

Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplants add a healthy and colorful side to your meal.

Sauteed Spinach or Kale: Greens sautéed with garlic and a dash of lemon juice add a flavorful nutrient boost.

Caprese Salad: Slices of tomato, fresh mozzarella, basil, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze make a refreshing side.

Red Wine: A medium-bodied red wine, such as Chianti or Merlot, complements the tomato sauce and richness of the cheese.

Sparkling Water: For a non-alcoholic option, sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime refreshes the palate.

Italian Soda: A sweet, fizzy drink can be a fun non-alcoholic beverage to pair with the meal.

Craft Beer: A lager or pilsner pairs nicely with lasagna, balancing its hearty flavors without overwhelming them.

Tiramisu: This classic Italian dessert with layers of coffee-soaked ladyfingers and mascarpone cheese is a delightful follow-up to lasagna.

Gelato: A scoop of gelato, in classic flavors like vanilla, chocolate, or pistachio, offers a cool, creamy finish.

Cannoli: Crispy shells filled with sweet ricotta cream and chocolate chips make a satisfying end to the meal.

Panna Cotta: A smooth, creamy dessert often served with a berry coulis or caramel sauce complements the richness of the lasagna.

Try these vegetable recipes:

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lasagna noodles, cheese, vegetables, and meat layered on a plate with a fork

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Lasagna Casserole

This quick and easy alternative to lasagna uses cottage cheese and a special trick to cook quickly when you want lasagna without the long bake time!
Course Casseroles
Cuisine American
Keyword casserole, italian, lasagna, main dish, vegetable casserole, vegetarian lasagna
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 151kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • ½ lasagna noodles package bake-ready
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 zucchini finely diced
  • 2 bell peppers diced (optional)
  • 1 large jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 large package mozzarella
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a bowl combine the salt, pepper, and cottage cheese.
  • In a casserole dish or pie pan, layer lasagna noodles that have been broken into small pieces onto the bottom.
  • Add a layer of sauce to the dish.
  • Add a layer of onions peppers and zucchini.
  • Add a layer of cottage cheese and mozzarella.
  • Add more sauce.
  • Top with another layer of broken lasagna noodles.
  • Top with sauce, cottage cheese, and mozzarella.
  • Bake at 400 for 30 minutes- until cheese on top is bubbly and golden brown.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 586mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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1 Comment

  1. creativejewishmom/sara says:

    Great recipe and really wonderful to “meet” you on craft schooling Sunday, hope you’ll join the party again soon!