This Easy Vegetable Lasagna Primavera is loaded with fresh veggies including zucchini, mushrooms and spinach. It is light and healthy and takes only a half-hour to get into the oven thanks to using purchased sauce and oven-ready noodles. This vegetarian meal is the perfect spring comfort food!
Why We Love This Easy Vegetable Lasagna Primavera
Lasagna is one of those classic and comfort food recipes that are so versatile. Whether you whip it up when entertaining, or meal prepping on Sunday for a make-ahead, it’s one dish that impresses and satisfies all in one bite!
And this Easy Vegetable Lasagna Primavera is one recipe you’ll want to add to your menu rotation. This healthy, vegetarian alternative to traditional meat-based lasagna is full of hearty veggies including earthy mushrooms, sweet carrots, spinach, and satisfying zucchini that even meat-lovers won’t notice it’s missing! All layered in a lighter yet oh-so-creamy cheese mixture that has all the traditional flavors of the Italian classic. Yes, this easy vegetable lasagna is definitely going to be one you’ll want to hang on to!
Now, if you are wondering why we call this veggie lasagna recipe “Primavera”, we titled it after the famous pasta with mixed vegetables. It is also the Italian word for spring. Since this lasagna is literally stuffed with veggies, we thought the name apt and the recipe perfect for this spring season. After trying it, we hope you’ll agree.
Before we get to the details on how to make this recipe, we wanted to point out a couple more healthy casserole recipes! After trying today’s recipe, be sure to try our savory Vegetarian Mushroom Lasagna, or this fun twist with Butternut Squash Lasagna, or this cozy Vegetable Pasta Bake.
Key Ingredients For This Recipe
Also called oven-ready noodles, they are very similar to “instant rice,” as they are precooked at the factory. If you cannot locate no-boil oven-ready noodles, feel free to make this dish with regular lasagna noodles. Boil according to package instructions until al dente, drain well and rise with cold water so they do not clump together. Then simply pat them dry with paper towels before assembling the lasagna.
Vegetables: Mushrooms, Frozen Spinach, Carrots, Onion, Garlic
- Mushrooms: We recommend using white mushrooms, also known as white button mushrooms, as they are readily available in most grocery stores and have a very mild flavor. When purchasing, look for mushrooms that are smooth, firm, and dry. Avoid buying mushrooms that are slimy, soft, and have brown spots as they are already past their prime. Brush them clean with a damp cloth. You can also sub in chopped cremini mushrooms instead.
- Zucchini: For this recipe, you will need 2 small zucchini weighing a combined total of 12 ounces. Look for a squash that’s 6 to 8 inches in length and relatively thin. The fruit should feel heavy for its size, and the skin should be dark green, smooth, and free of blemishes. If the skin is shriveled, even slightly, pass it up as it is no longer fresh. When cutting, cut the zucchini lengthwise into quarters and then into bite-sized pieces similar in size to the mushrooms, carrots, and onion.
- Frozen Spinach: You will need one pound of frozen spinach for this recipe. We recommend the brick package since they come in a full-pound size and most bags are not 16 ounces. Make sure to squeeze the spinach to remove the excess water.
- Carrots: become soft or have visible rot. Peel and chop the carrots to about the same size as the onion, zucchini, and mushrooms.
- Onion: We recommend using a diced sweet onion but feel free to use white.
- Garlic: Freshly minced is best but feel free to use pre-minced if that’s what you have on hand.
Mozzarella cheese adds a mild, creaminess to this traditional recipe when baked to golden-brown perfection. To keep this lasagna healthy and shave off extra calories and saturated fat, we used part-skim mozzarella, but feel free to use the full-fat version if you’d prefer a richer result.
Ricotta is an Italian cheese made from sheep, cow, goat or Italian water buffalo milk whey that is left over from the production of other cheeses. However, most ricotta bought in the US is made solely from cow’s milk whey and can be found in most cheese sections or deli sections of most major grocery stores.
To lower the calories and saturated fat in this recipe, we used part-skim ricotta however feel free to use full-fat if you’d prefer a richer flavor. You could also swap in full-fat or low-fat cottage cheese in place of the ricotta for an even creamier texture to the cheese mixture.
Freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano is used to garnish the casserole. We find that the distinct nutty flavor of this hard Italian cheese pairs well with the classic Italian flavors of this dish, however; if you are not a fan of this Parmesan, feel free to substitute in Pecorino Romano.
To save time in making a homemade red sauce we used store-bought marinara sauce instead. Feel free to use your favorite brand. If you’d prefer to add a little kick to your dish, feel free to swap in an arrabbiata sauce for the marinara or add a pinch of red pepper flakes with the other dried seasonings.
- Black Pepper
- Italian Seasoning
- Olive Oil
Step By Step Instructions To Make This Vegetarian Lasagna
Step 1: Prepare Baking Dish
Preheat oven to 350°F. While the oven is warming, coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and set it aside.
Step 2: Sauté Vegetables
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add vegetables, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté until the vegetables are softened and any liquid has evaporated 12 to 15 minutes. This helps to bring out the sweetness in the vegetables and removes excess moisture from them so that the lasagna will not be watery. Remove heat and stir in basil.
Step 3: Make Cheese Filling
In a medium bowl, mix ricotta, spinach, egg, and reaming salt and pepper.
Step 4: Assemble Lasagna
To the prepared baking dish, spread ½ cup marinara on the bottom of the dish. Next, place 3 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce. Then, evenly spread half of the vegetables on top of the noodles. And top with half of the ricotta mixture, spreading evenly. Then, spoon on 2/3 cup of sauce and top with ½ cup cheese.
Repeat with another layer of noodles, the remaining vegetables and ricotta cheese mixture, 2/3 cup of sauce, and ½ cup of cheese.
Finally, place the remaining 3 noodles on top and spread the remaining sauce over the top ensuring the noodles are moistened with the sauce. Do not top with cheese. Cover with parchment paper and cover with aluminum foil.
Step 5: Bake
Bake lasagna until steaming hot. The top layer of noodles needs to be fork-tender and the sauce bubbling along the edges. Remove foil, top with remaining cheese, and bake until cheese is golden-brown and melted, 8 to 12 minutes.
Step 6: Serve and Enjoy!
Let the casserole cool for 10 to 12 minutes before slicing and serving.
FAQs And Expert Tips
Store any leftover lasagna in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
When ready to enjoy, reheat leftovers in a 350°F oven, covered with foil, for 35 minutes until steaming hot all the way through.
This lasagna is the perfect freezer-friendly meal! For best result, follow instructions through step 4; assemble and cover with parchment and foil. Then tightly wrap with two layers of plastic wrap. Freeze flat.
When ready to bake, remove the plastic wrap and bake the frozen lasagna at 350°F for 1 hour 50 minutes. Then continue with instructions for removing the foil and topping with cheese to finish baking.
Sure can! If you do not have or cannot find no-boil oven-ready noodle, feel free to use regular lasagna noodles. Simply boil lasagna noodles according to package instructions until al dente, then drain them well and pat them dry with paper towels before layering into the lasagna.
Variations To Try
- You can substitute other vegetables in the sauté such as yellow squash, eggplant and red or green bell pepper.
- You can use full-fat or low-fat cottage cheese in place of the ricotta for an even creamier texture.
- We used part-skim mozzarella and part-skim ricotta to shave off extra saturated fat and calories, but you can use full-fat versions of either if preferred.
- You can add some spice by adding a pinch of red pepper flakes to the vegetables or use an arrabbiata sauce instead of marinara sauce.
Additional Healthy Baked Pasta Casserole Recipes To Try
- Healthy Beef Lasagna with Spinach and Basil is a hearty and satisfying dish full of vegetables, lean grass-fed beef, and fresh basil. This gluten-free variation is only 259 calories per serving and arguably better than the traditional recipe.
- Healthy, vegetarian, make-ahead Stuffed Shells with Spinach is perfect for meal prep or to whip up and serve when company stops on by!
- This healthy Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese is made with non-fat milk and no butter and is loaded with cauliflower, peas, edamame, and finished with a crunchy breadcrumb topping. This comfort food dish is lighter than the classic but still bursting with flavor.
- Classic macaroni and cheese gets a healthy makeover in this Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese! Made with whole-grain pasta, gruyere cheese, rosemary, and tons of butternut squash! This casserole is quite possibly the most perfect comfort food dish ever.
- Macaroni and Cheese with Broccoli is a delicious healthy make-over of the classic casserole. Tender pasta and broccoli are smothered in a creamy cheese sauce and topped with crunchy golden brown breadcrumbs. This will quickly become a family weeknight dinner favorite and it’s ready in just 45 minutes!
Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter for healthy recipes delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make these recipes, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie
This Easy Vegetable Lasagna Primavera is loaded with fresh veggies including zucchini, mushrooms and spinach. It is light and healthy and takes a half-hour to get into the oven thanks to using purchased sauce and oven-ready noodles.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 small zucchinis, diced (about 12 ounces)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning herb blend
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta
- 16-ounces frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 large egg
- 1 25-ounce jar marinara sauce
- 9 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 8 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch lasagna baking dish with cooking spray.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic, zucchini, onion, carrot, mushrooms, Italian Seasoning, ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring often until the vegetables are softened and any liquid has evaporated, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in basil.
- Meanwhile, mix ricotta, spinach, egg, the remaining ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl.
- Spread ½ cup marinara in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Layer on 3 lasagna noodles (they will expand when they cook.) Add on half of the vegetables, spreading evenly. Top with half of the ricotta-spinach mixture, spreading evenly. Spoon on 2/3 cup sauce. Top with ½ cup cheese. Repeat with another layer of noodles, the remaining vegetables, the remaining ricotta, 2/3 cup sauce and ½ cup cheese. Place the remaining 3 noodles on top and spread the remaining sauce over the top ensuring the noodles are moistened with the sauce. Do not top with cheese. Cover the lasagna with a layer of parchment paper and then cover with foil.
- Bake until the lasagna is steaming hot, the top layer of noodles is fork-tender and the sauce is bubbling along the edges of the baking dish, about 50 minutes. Remove foil, top with the remaining cheese and bake until the cheese is melted, 8 to 12 minutes.
- Let cool 10 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Ingredient Note: This recipe can be made with regular lasagna noodles if you do not have no-boil oven-ready noodles. Boil lasagna noodles according to package instructions until al dente, then drain them well, rinse and pat them dry with paper towels before layering into the lasagna.
- Reheating: To reheat the baked lasagna, place in a 350°F oven, covered with foil, for 35 minutes until steaming hot all the way through.
- Feeze Ahead: This lasagna can be built and then frozen up to one month ahead. Follow instructions through step 4 to assemble and cover the lasagna with parchment and foil. Then wrap tightly with two layers of plastic wrap. Freeze flat. To bake, remove the plastic wrap and bake the frozen lasagna at 350°F for 1 hour 50 minutes. Then continue with instructions for removing the foil and topping with cheese to finish baking.
- Variations: Substitute other veggies in the sauté such as yellow squash, eggplant, and red or green bell pepper. Or add some spice by adding a pinch of red pepper flakes to the vegetables or use an arrabbiata sauce for the marinara. And if you are looking for a creamier texture to the cheese mixture, feel free to use full-fat or low-fat cottage cheese in place of the ricotta.
- Serving Size: 1/8 lasagna
- Calories: 378
- Sugar: 5 g
- Fat: 15 g
- Carbohydrates: 38 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 38 g