Building a Better Lasagna

April 2, 2015  •  Pasta & Pizza

three-layer-meat-and-vegetable-lasagnaIf you’ve been hanging out with me via this blog for much of the past 8 years, you might have noticed that I’m always trying to build a better mousetrap with my recipes. Better doesn’t mean any single thing to me – it could be a lighter version, or a more decadent version, it could be something with more flavor, or something with simplified steps. In the case of this lasagna, it satisfies my husband’s love of Italian sausage while making me feel better about eating more vegetables. Use the best ricotta you can find and you’ll enjoy this even more. And better in this case is when I love it and my husband takes seconds. That’s a better lasagna!

Three Layer Vegetable and Sausage Lasagna
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, stemmed and quartered
  • 2 red or orange bell peppers, diced
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (mild or spicy)
  • 4-5 cups marinara sauce
  • uncooked lasagna noodles (to create 4 layers in a 13x9-inch baking pan)
  • 1½ - 2 pounds fresh baby spinach, wilted and squeezed of excess water
  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • mozzarella cheese (as much or as little as you like!)
  1. Add the oil and mushrooms to a large skillet over medium heat and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they have released some of their water and started to shrink, about 10-15 minutes. Add the peppers and continue to cook until the peppers have softened, about 5 more minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, brown the sausage in another skillet. Add about just enough marinara to the vegetables and to the sausage to make sure everything is covered, about 1½ cups in each pan.
  2. Pour about ½ cup of sauce in the bottom of the baking dish and layer noodles on top. Spread the vegetable mixture over the noodles and top this layer with some mozzarella cheese. Add another layer of noodles, then add the sausage to this layer, and top with some mozzarella cheese. Add a third layer of noodles.
  3. Chop the cooked spinach roughly and then stir together with the ricotta and the egg. Spread this in a layer over the noodles and top with some mozzarella cheese. Add the final layer of noodles and cover with marinara sauce, then top with a generous layer of mozzarella cheese.
  4. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray to prevent sticking and bake at 375 degrees until hot and bubbly, about 45 minutes to an hour. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before slicing.


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