Lasagna is one of my favorite Italian dishes, but we all know that it takes hours to prepare. That's why when I created this three cheese lasagna recipe, I wanted to use a few shortcuts and put in minimal effort. Hence why it takes only 15 minutes to put together.
While most lasagna recipes use ground beef or Italian sausage, this vegetarian version features my ricotta cheese mixture with three kinds of cheese, al dente lasagna noodles, and savory tomato sauce.
My favorite part about this cheesy lasagna recipe is that it always leaves me with leftovers, which taste even better the next day! Overall, there are NO reasons not to make it!
Ingredients You'll Need
Get all the details on these simple ingredients in the recipe card at the post's bottom.
- Lasagna noodles: I use uncooked lasagna noodles that don't need boiling. This saves time and effort.
- Ricotta cheese: This is the main ingredient for our cheesy filling. I suggest using full-fat ricotta cheese for the best results.
- Mozzarella cheese: You'll need it both for making the filling and for sprinkling between the layers and on top.
- Romano or Parmesan cheese: Adds saltiness, umami, and a depth of flavor to this cheesy lasagna. For best results, buy a whole block of Parmesan or Romano cheese and grate it yourself.
- Marinara or spaghetti sauce: I am using jarred vegan tomato sauce, but feel free to use your favorite pasta sauce or homemade marinara sauce.
- Egg: For giving structure to the ricotta filling.
- Fresh parsley: It brightens the lasagna and gives flavor. You can also use fresh basil.
- Spices: You'll need simple spices like salt, black pepper, and garlic powder.
How to Make Three Cheese Lasagna
First, make the ricotta filling. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, an egg, parsley, and spices.
Using a spatula, mix until creamy and smooth and the egg is fully incorporated.
Use a casserole dish to layer the lasagna. Add a generous amount of marinara sauce at the bottom to cover it well (~½ cup). Then, add a layer of noodles ( if your baking dish is too small, you may have to break some pieces to cover the bottom of the dish fully).
Then, add ⅓ of the ricotta mixture and spread it evenly. Add a few tablespoons of mozzarella cheese all over. You should have 3 layers in total.
Repeat the process, adding a thin layer of sauce, then lasagna noodles, then the ricotta filling and topping with cheese, until you've used all of the ricotta.
Lastly, top with a generous amount of shredded mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan cheese (optional).
Bake in a preheated oven to 400ºF (200ºC) for 40-45 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through and the top is golden brown. Top with red pepper flakes if desired!
- Use full-fat dairy for best results. In my books, lasagna is meant to be rich, hearty, and made with the best ingredients possible. If you're using low-fat cheese you're definitely going to make a comprise on flavor, so keep that in mind.
- Use freshly grated cheese. Pre-grated cheese doesn't melt as it should, because it has additives to keep the shreds from sticking. No matter if you're making cheesy lasagna, baked ziti, or mac and cheese, freshly grated cheese is always best.
- The last layer should end with a generous amount of tomato sauce. This will prevent the meatless lasagna from drying out.
- Cover it with aluminum foil halfway through if needed. Keep an eye on it after the halfway mark and don't forget to cover it to avoid burning.
- Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing. If you've ever tried to cut lasagna straight out of the oven, chances are it has fallen apart. To avoid that, I like to let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
- Give it enough time to fully cook through! One of the biggest mistakes I see people make with lasagna is to be impatient and take it out of the oven when the noodles are undercooked. A good lasagna needs at least 40 minutes in the oven, so don't say I didn't warn you.
Frequently Asked Questions
The easiest way to check this three cheese lasagna for doneness is to insert a sharp knife in the middle. If the knife slides right through with no resistance, this means the noodles are cooked through.
Yes, lasagna is perfect for freezing! First, let it cool completely and come to room temperature. Then, cut the lasagna into different portions and transfer the pieces into an airtight container. If you have to stack two or more pieces on top of each other, make sure to layer parchment paper between them to prevent sticking. Cover with a lid and freeze for 1-2 months.
If you're looking to replace regular beef in lasagna, you can do that by using a vegan alternative like Beyond meat or Impossible meat.
Other alternatives would be adding red lentils like in my vegan lentil lasagna and red lentil bolognese, chopped mushrooms, or walnuts.
Yes! You can assemble the lasagna, cover it with foil and refrigerate it for 2-3 days, or until you're ready to bake.
The next best substitute would be full-fat cottage cheese. To achieve the same texture, you'd need to blend the cottage cheese in a blender or a food processor until it's creamy and no chunks remain.
Yes! Use gluten-free oven-ready lasagna sheets instead of wheat-based ones to make this gluten-free. My favorite are the lentil sheets. Be sure refer to the instructions on the package as you may need to adjust the cooking time/temperature for the gluten-free sheets.
How to Serve Meatless Lasagna
For the perfect Italian-inspired dinner, I like to serve this three cheese lasagna with gluten-free garlic bread, air fryer asparagus or air fryer broccoli, and a smile side salad like this tomato cucumber salad.
Sometimes if I'm short on time I will make a green salad and use my vegan Italian dressing to toss it with. A dollop of cashew pesto is also delicious here.
Let it cool completely and come to room temperature, then cut the meatless lasagna into different portions and transfer the pieces into an airtight container. Cover with a lid and store in the fridge for 4-5 days.
More Italian-Inspired Recipes
Italian-Style Impossible Burger Meatballs
Vegan Tofu Parmesan (Parmigiana)
Pasta e Ceci (Pasta and Chickpeas)
Homemade lasagna is one of the ultimate comfort foods and a perfect meal for when you need something hearty!
If you've tried this recipe, leave me a comment and a rating below and share your results with us. We'd love to see them!
Three Cheese Lasagna (BEST Meatless Lasagna Recipe)
For the ricotta filling
- 16 oz ricotta cheese (whole milk)
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (part-skim or whole milk)
- ¼ cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves, loosely packed (finely chopped; measure before chopping)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- Fine sea salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
For the lasagna
- 9 oz dry lasagna sheets
- 35 oz marinara sauce
- 2 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, or more if desired
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Prepare a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
- First, make the ricotta filling. To a bowl, add ricotta cheese, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, an egg, parsley, and spices. Using a spatula, mix until creamy and smooth and the egg is fully incorporated.
- To layer the lasagna, add a generous amount of marinara sauce at the bottom to cover it well (~½ cup). Then, add your lasagna sheets (if your baking dish is too small, you may have to break some pieces to cover the bottom of the dish fully).
- Then, add ⅓ of the ricotta mixture and spread it evenly. Add a few tablespoons of mozzarella cheese all over. Continue layering the lasagna in this order- adding tomato sauce, then noodles, then spreading the ricotta mixture and topping it with shredded mozzarella, until you've used all of the ricotta mixture. In the end, you should have 3 layers in total.
- After the last layer, top the lasagna with a generous amount of shredded mozzarella cheese and grated parmesan cheese (optional) and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through and the top is golden brown.
- Cover with foil halfway through if needed, to prevent burning. To check for doneness, insert a sharp knife in the middle of the lasagna. If the knife slides right through with no resistance, this means the noodles are cooked through. Take it out of the oven and let it cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
(Please refer to the post above for instructional photographs and other helpful information for this recipe)
Post photography by: Petranka Atanasova.
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The recipe ingredients are missing the ricotta cheese
Thanks for letting me know, Beki. It has been fixed.