La-la-sagna! GREEN lasagna that is! Just as cheesy as regular lasagna, plus it’s packed with all sorts of glorious green stuff: zucchini, spinach, peas, and basil, and spinach lasagna noodles to boot. Make it vegan with our 1-minute vegan ricotta and vegan mozzarella or make it vegetarian with traditional ricotta and mozzarella.
What is green lasagna?
Traditional lasagna is a baked pasta dish made with tomato sauce, ricotta and mozzarella cheese, and of course, the eponymous lasagna noodles. For our green lasagna, we’re keeping the pasta and the cheeses, but we’re replacing the tomato (or red) sauce, with a green one made from fresh spinach, frozen peas, handfuls of fresh basil, a touch of lemon rind, and a little butter (or margarine).
How do you make green lasagna?
This lasagna, like traditional lasagnas, is made by making each of the layer components, and then layering them in a baking pan.
There are 4 or optionally 5 layers.
Layer 1: Green Sauce
For the green sauce, add the water and spinach to a blender and blend well. Add in the peas, basil, butter, lemon rind, and salt and pepper. The recipe calls for fresh spinach and fresh basil. If you don’t have fresh basil, you can substitute with dried (see the recipe card for details.) We use frozen peas or sometimes a mix of frozen peas and frozen shelled edamame beans. The edamame is a bit denser, so you’ll likely need to add a few extra tablespoons or more of water to the mix.
Layer 2: Ricotta Cheese
If you want a vegan or dairy-free cheese, make our 1-Minute Vegan Ricotta. If you’re vegetarian, use store-bought ricotta.
In a pinch, you could omit the ricotta entirely, and just layer in more mozzarella.
Layer 3: Zucchini (Optional)
For the full-on green lasagna experience, include a layer of lightly sauteed zucchini.
To prepare the zucchini: Slice the zucchini into long thin strips. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan, and saute the strips for a few minutes, until starting to brown. You will likely need to saute in batches, or in separate pans.
If you’re thinking about adding the zucchini raw to the lasagna, we don’t recommend it: We found that even after the baking period, it still seemed raw and was a bit jarring against the creamy sauces and pasta.
Layer 4: Pasta
For the greenest of green lasagnas, spinach lasagna noodles are the ultimate choice. However, regular old wheat noodles will be just fine too. For the speediest preparation, use no cook noodles. These will be labelled “oven ready” or something similar and they are real time-savers, as you don’t need to boil them first.
You can also skip the pasta and replace with more zucchini if you’re looking for a wheat-free or gluten-free dish.
Layer 5: Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
The final layer is shredded mozzarella cheese. If you’re vegan, you should be able to find shredded mozzarella in most well-stocked grocery stores. For vegetarians, you can either buy a large piece and shred it yourself, or buy a package that’s pre-shredded.
The detailed steps are in the recipe card below, but big picture:
If your noodles are the kind that require boiling, get them started. While the noodles are boiling you’ll pan-fry the zucchini in a bit of butter or margarine. Once your noodles and zucchini are done, set them aside while you make the green sauce in the blender. Measure out the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses and now you’re ready for assembly.
We used a 6 by 9 inch lasagna pan for this. Put about one third of the green sauce in your pan, then layer about 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, a layer of zucchini, and then the noodles. Repeat this one more time, and then make a last layer with the remaining third of the green sauce and top it all with mozzarella.
Now just bake at 350F for about 25 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Other Recipes Packed with Green Goodness
- Zucchini and Green Pea Fritters (Vegan, Vegetarian topping options)
- Green Pasta Sauce (Vegan, Vegetarian topping options)
- Indian-Spiced Spinach (Saag) Vegan or Vegetarian
- Coconut, Cashew, Lime Sauce with Stir-Fried Broccoli (Vegan)
- 6 lasagna noodles
- 1 large zucchini, sliced into long thin strips
- olive oil
- 1 cup ricotta or 1-Minute Vegan Ricotta
- 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup water
- 6 cups spinach
- 2 cups frozen green peas (or a mix of peas and shelled edamame beans)
- 1/2 cup basil (You can put the whole basil bunch in the blender, stems and all. You can also substitute 1 tablespoon dried.)
- 2 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Prepare the Pasta
- If your noodles require boiling, boil them following the package directions.
Make the Optional Zucchini Layer
- Heat a large frying pan with a few teaspoons of olive oil. Saute the zucchini for a few minutes, until starting to brown. You may need to saute in batches. Once done, set aside.
Make the Green Sauce in the Blender
- Add 1 cup of water and the spinach to the blender. Blend for a minute or until well-combined.
- Add the remaining ingredients: peas, basil, butter or margarine, lemon rind, and salt and pepper. Blend until well-combined. The mixture should be pourable. Add water if necessary.
Assembly and Baking
- Spoon about 1/3rd of the green sauce into a 6 by 9 inch lasagna pan. Spoon 1/2 cup of ricotta or 1-Minute Vegan Ricotta on top, spreading it around. If using the zucchini, put in a layer. Put 2 lasagna noodles on top.
- Repeat the previous step: green sauce, ricotta, zucchini, pasta.
- For the final layer, use the last 1/3rd of the green sauce and then top with the shredded mozzarella.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Storage and ReheatingThis tastes best right out of the oven, but you can store in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat in a low oven (about 250F), covered in foil.
- If you don’t have spinach lasagna noodles, you can use regular noodles.
- If you don’t have frozen peas, you could substitute frozen shelled edamame beans, or you could do a mix of both vegetables. You will likely need to add a little more water to the blender if you use edamame. The end result should be a spoonable puree.
- If you don’t have fresh basil, you can substitute with 1 tablespoon of dried basil.
- If you are gluten-free, obviously you need to sub the lasagna noodles for gluten-free noodles. Or you could omit the noodle layer, and just layer with more zucchini.
Nutritional InformationNutrition information is an estimate only and is based on dairy ricotta and mozzarella
Please drop a note below if you have any questions or comments!