Simple Vegetarian Lasagna

We don’t eat much meat in our family. We aren’t vegetarians, but I just don’t bother with it very often. I’ve been making a traditional lasagna bolognese recipe for years, and the sauce alone simmers for four hours, before I even get started on the lasagna assembly. It’s a process, and frankly, I’m over it so I set about to make an equally delicious, meat-free version that takes a mere 30 minutes of preparation.

The secret here is high-quality tomatoes, good olive oil, onions and garlic. Oh, and none of that ricotta business. Make yourself a bechamel, it’s truly the only way to live.


Vegetarian Lasagna

Cheesy tomatoey, meat free lasagna, with all the big flavors and none of the fuss.

  • Author: ljacksnacks
  • Prep Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1.5 hours
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Cuisine: Italian


For Sauce:

1 pinch of red pepper flakes

1 large onion – chopped

2 cloves garlic – minced

2 tbsp good olive oil

1 28 oz can of good tomatoes – whole or crushed

1 large sprig of basil – with plent of leaves

1 large sprig of oregano

salt to taste

For lasagna:

1 quart of bechamel

1 12 oz bag of low moisture mozz – shredded

3-4 oz grated parmesan – the good stuff, reggiano preferably

Tomato sauce – from above

2 packages of fresh lasagna sheets – I like fresh lasagna sheets if you can find them – often times in the “fresh pasta” section of the cooler at the grocery – dried lasagna will do, but you won’t get as many layers


For Sauce:

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat and add red chili flakes while oil is heating

2. Add onions and garlic and saute until onions are translucent – about 5-7 minutes

3. Add tomatoes and simmer – if using whole tomatoes simmer for 5 minutes and then break them up with a potato masher

4. Add basil, oregano and a pinch of salt. Don’t bother taking the leaves off the stems of the herbs, just chuck the whole thing in there, it makes it easier to remove at the end.

5. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, until the metallic taste has left the tomatoes. Remember to taste your food. Add salt if necessary.

6. Remove from heat and discard the basil and oregano. 

For lasagna:

1. Make 4 cups of bechamel and allow to chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before assembly.

2. In a casserole dish – size and shape does not matter, just use what you have – ladel a small spoonful of tomato sauce on the bottom of dish. Top with lasagne sheet, covering the entire bottom of the dish.

3. Layer another ladel of tomato sauce, creating a thin layer over top of the pasta.

4. Add a layer of bechamel, followed by a generous sprinkle of both mozzarella and parmesan

5. Repeat until you have run our of lasagna sheets. It’s ok if the layers rise out of the pan, in fact I find it preferable

6. Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 F, or until the edges are crisp and you can hear a simmer coming from inside the pan.

7. Allow the lasagna to rest for about 30 minutes, and serve.

Keywords: Casserole, Lasagna, Vegetarian, Meat Free, Veggie, Hot Dish, Italian, Bechamel, Tomato, Mozzarella, Parmesan


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