Main Dish | March 24, 2019

Four Cheese Vegetable Lasagna

This is THE BEST LASAGNA RECIPE… I’ve taken my Grandma’s recipe and amp’ed it up. Added more fresh flavors, herbs while keeping it traditional and tasting like home! Layers upon layers with cheesy goodness in every bite your whole family will loooove this four cheese vegetable lasagna (and the kids will never know they even ate veggies!)

9x13 pan of lasagna with parsley topped

Lets Talk about some BASIC LASAGNA TIPS:

HOW MANY LAYERS SHOULD LASAGNA HAVE?

Lasagna (for it to be “lasagna”) needs to have more than three noodle layer. I always cook the entire box of noodles and put the entire contents in my pan. Usually thats about 4 laters of 4 noodles across (see pictures below). Depending on how tall your baking dish is and what you are adding in-between the noodles you can add more or less layers.

HOW LONG DO I COOK LASAGNA NOODLES

ANY pasta you are boiling follow the directions on the box for al dente timing. It’s as easy as that! No guessing needed. If a box says boil for 8-10 minutes- boil for 8. Keep it on the shorter end because the noodles will be cooking more as they bake.

Other Noodle PRO TIPS:

  1. Salt the water before adding pasta! This will enhance you pasta’s flavor.
  2. Rinse with cold water, or add a little oil to the water to keep from sticking. Normally I dont do this with my pasta- becuase the starches on pasta after cooking help the sauce to adhere to the noodles, HOWEVER with lasagna noodles you will be handling them and letting them cool while layering and they become so stick they often tear.

cooked lasagna noodles strained

HOW TO MAKE FOUR CHEESE VEGETABLE LASAGNA!

Start by boiling your noodles, while the water is heating and noodles boiling you can prepare your other ingredients.

Ingredients you will need for the layers in this lasagna recipe:

    • SPINACH chopped small
    • ZUCCHINI chopped small
    • MOZZARELLA
    • MARINARA or MEAT SAUCE (ingredients and directions for meat sauce in recipe card)
    • RICOTTA mixture

spinach, zucchini, ricotta, parmesan cheese ingredients

WHAT DO I PUT IN THE RICOTTA LAYER?

For the ricotta layer I love to add fresh basil, fine shredded parmesan cheese and spices. The spices and basil will absorb into the smooth creamy ricttoa and flavor the entire dish! Also, Dont forget to add a slightly beaten egg to your ricotta layer of your lasagna

WHY DO I ADD AN EGG TO LASAGNA?

Adding an egg to your Ricotta will not change the flavor or make anything more fluffy. The reason we add an egg is because it helps to bind the cheese in the layers so when you cut into the lasagna it doesn’t all slide out.

ricotta, basil and spices mixed together

HOW TO LAYER LASAGNA

Now that we have all the parts ready lets make it a whole. A dang delicious cheesy lasagna!

  1. Marinara layer on the bottom!! this keeps the noodles from sticking! 
  2. noodles
  3. ricotta
  4. spinach
  5. zucchini
  6. marinara
  7. mozzarella
  8. REPEAT!

LAYERING PRO TIP:  Count your noodles and decide how many layers you will be doing. I did 4 layers of noodles so I divided my ingredients into thirds so it would all be even. (top layer noodles don’t count.)

step how to layer lasagna

Once you’ve reached your last 3 or 4 noodles you should be completely done with your other ingredients.

  1. Add one additional layer of noodles.
  2. Dump the rest of your marinara sauce over the lasagna. Make sure to spread over the edges!
  3. Add oodles of cheese. I love adding a SHARP cheddar to really bring out all the contrasting cheese flavors.

steps to topping lasagna

HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN LASAGNA IS DONE BAKING?

Now you bake! You want to make until the middle is heated though ( 165 degrees F), the sauce on the edges are bubbling and the cheese is all melted. This usually takes about 30-45 minutes depending on how thick and warm your ingredients are before they go into the dish. (for instance my meat sauce is usually heated from cooking the meat, and the noodles are warm from being boiled. If everything is about room temp when it goes into the oven, or cold because it was made ahead it’ll need additional time) 

PROTIP: If you don’t want your cheese to over-cook cover your lasagna with foil until about 15 minutes before removing from oven. If you are worried about foil touching the cheese- add some toothpick, leaving about 1/2 inch sticking out and the foil will rest not he top of the toothpicks.

pan of cheesy lasagna with slice taken out

CAN LASAGNA BE MADE AHEAD OR FROZEN?

YES!! That is the beautiful thing about lasagna! If you are not eating the lasagna within a couple of hours of preparing chill in fridge or freeze.

If Refrigerating: if you are refrigerating more than three days you will need to freeze it.

If freezing: be sure to cover it air tight so it will not frost bite. Also, be cautious what you freeze it in, glass dishes can break if they are thawed too quickly.

HOW TO REHEAT LASAGNA FROM FREEZER

If you have made your lasagna a head of time, and it is cold. Cover your lasagna with foil and cook until it is about 160 degrees F. Remove the foil and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes to let the top layer of cheese fully melt and the internal temp of the lasagna reaches 165 degrees.

upclose shot of lasagna layers

Tell me about it!

Try this recipe or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave us a comment below. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to see what else we’re getting up to!  And don’t forget to pin this recipe to save for later.

5 from 1 vote
pan of cheesy lasagna with slice taken out
Four Cheese and Vegetable Lasagna
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

The BEST lasagna recipe you'll ever make! Delicious four cheeses + a few sneak vegetables come together for this classic comfort food. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian American
Keyword: four cheese lasagna, Vegetable Lasagna
Servings: 12
Calories: 364 kcal
Author: Desarae
Ingredients
Meat Sauce
  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • 1/2 med onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 24 +oz marinara sauce
Lasagna layers
  • 12 Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 zucchini chopped small
  • 2-3 cup mozzarella cheese set aside 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese set aside
Ricotta Mixture
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 10-15 basil leaves chopped
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pepper a few shakes
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
Instructions
  1. Bring water to boil and add 1 TBS salt. Boil noodles according to package directions. Rinse with cold water for 5 seconds to help prevent sticking. 

Meat Sauce
  1. In a pan, saute garlic, onion and ground meat until cooked. Add sauce and let simmer for 15 minutes.
Ricotta mixture
  1. In separate bowl mix ricotta, basil, and Parmesan cheese, salt and lightly beaten egg. 

How to layer lasagna
  1. In a 9x13 pan start by adding 1/4 cup sauce to the bottom of the pan. Spread out evenly so noodles don't stick.

  2. Layer ingredients as follows- Noodles, ricotta, spinach, zucchini,1/4 cup sauce. 1/2 cup mozzarella, repeat until you have 3-4 noodles left and ingredients are all gone. Add noodles, top with remaining sauce- spreading over entirety of noodles surface. Top with mozzarella and cheddar cheese that were set aside.

  3. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes at 350. Take off foil and bake another 15 minutes. Lasagna is done with middle has reached 165 degrees. 

Recipe Notes

Noodle Pro Tips:

  1. Salt the water before adding pasta! This will enhance you pasta's flavor.
  2. Rinse with cold water, or add a little oil to the water to keep from sticking. Normally I don't do this with my pasta- becuase the starches on pasta after cooking help the sauce to adhere to the noodles, HOWEVER with lasagna noodles you will be handling them and letting them cool while layering and they become so stick they often tear.

LAYERING PRO TIP:  Count your noodles and decide how many layers you will be doing. I did 4 layers of noodles so I divided my ingredients into thirds so it would all be even. (top layer noodles don't count.)

PROTIP: If you don't want your cheese to over-cook cover your lasagna with foil until about 15 minutes before removing from oven. If you are worried about foil touching the cheese- add some toothpick, leaving about 1/2 inch sticking out and the foil will rest not he top of the toothpicks.

CAN LASAGNA BE MADE AHEAD OR FROZEN?

YES!! That is the beautiful thing about lasagna! If you are not eating the lasagna within a couple of hours of preparing chill in fridge or freeze.

If Refrigerating: if you are refrigerating more than three days you will need to freeze it.

If freezing: be sure to cover it air tight so it will not frost bite. Also, be cautious what you freeze it in, glass dishes can break if they are thawed too quickly.

HOW TO REHEAT LASAGNA FROM FREEZER

If you have made your lasagna a head of time, and it is cold. Cover your lasagna with foil and cook until it is about 160 degrees F. Remove the foil and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes to let the top layer of cheese fully melt and the internal temp of the lasagna reaches 165 degrees.

PRESSURE COOKER: Pre-cook noodles, or use no-boil kind. In inner pot, begin to layer 1 c sauce and 1/2 c water, then continue to layer as directed in recipe. Lock lid, set to soup/stew setting, time adjust for 20 minutes. Slow or natural release when done.

Nutrition Facts
Four Cheese and Vegetable Lasagna
Amount Per Serving (1 c)
Calories 364 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 29%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 81mg 27%
Sodium 482mg 20%
Potassium 299mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 1g
Protein 21g 42%
Vitamin A 13.5%
Vitamin C 5.2%
Calcium 27.3%
Iron 8.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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