If you are looking for an Easy Lasagna Recipe you have just found it! This recipe may not be traditional, but it is still delicious and can be made on the busiest of days!
Lasagna has always been one of my favorite recipes.
However, Lasagna has the reputation of being complicated and time-consuming. It is not thought of as an easy, weeknight meal.
But this simple recipe for Lasagna changes that conception!
Made with minimal prep, this recipe is PERFECT for busy nights. So give up what YOU thought about homemade lasagna and try out this simple recipe--cheesy comfort food does not need to be complicated!
Key Ingredients for Lasagna
- Regular Lasagna Noodles: You do NOT need no-boil noodles for this recipe, making this recipe that much easier. Either whole wheat or regular noodles work.
- Spaghetti Sauce: I love to use my homemade tomato sauce, but your favorite jarred sauce works. Just remember the better the flavor of the sauce, the better your lasagna will taste.
- Cottage Cheese: I know this is NOT traditional, but I personally love the tang and texture of cottage cheese in lasagna. Feel free to use ricotta in place of cottage cheese.
- Cheese: I use a mixture of mozzarella and Parmesan for the best combination of flavor and melting factor.
- Meat: For this lasagna, you can use ground beef, ground sausage, ground turkey, or even Pepperoni! I know it sounds crazy to use pepperoni in lasagna. BUT, it is a super great way to add zing to this Easy Lasagna. The added bonus of using pepperoni is that it allows you to skip the step of browning meat, making the prep time of this lasagna only about 5 minutes!
How to Make Lasagna
Step One: Brown Meat
If using ground meat, you want to start this recipe by browning the meat. Whether using sausage, beef, pork, or turkey, be sure to brown the meat fully and break up into small pieces so there will be no large clumps of meat in the lasagna.
If preparing a meatless lasagna OR using pepperoni, skip this step.
Step Two: Prepare Filling
Before layering the lasagna, the cottage cheese filling needs to be prepared and the sauce needs to be added to the ground meat.
First, prepare the sauce by mixing the sauce with water. The key to making this lasagna using regular noodles that do not need par-cooked is adding water to the spaghetti sauce. That extra moisture is needed for the noodles to cook fully. Simply mix in 1 cup water to the prepared spaghetti sauce. Mix in ground beef if using.
Next, mix together the cottage cheese with herbs, spices, cheese, and an egg. The egg will help the cheese filling to set up and the spices and herbs add a punch of authentic Italian flavor. I love to add fresh parsley for freshness and dried oregano for a true punch of flavor. I also add in red pepper flakes for a kick of heat. You can certainly use dried parsley or fresh oregano if desired, and omit the red pepper flakes for a more mild filling.
Step Three: Layer Lasagna
To layer lasagna, be sure to start by brushing a 9x13 pan with olive oil. This will help the lasagna come out of the pan easily. Then it is as simple as layering sauce, noodles, cottage cheese filling, and repeat and finish with a layer of cheese. This lasagna is only made with 2 repeated layers, which helps cut down on the bake time as well.
One thing to remember is to not overlap the lasagna noodles when layering. To ensure the noodles cook evenly, they need to be in a single layer. Feel free to break up the noodles if needed to fit in the pan.
Step Four: Bake Lasagna
Remember the magic of this lasagna is not having to use special oven-ready noodles OR par-boil the lasagna noodles. But in order for the noodles to cook through, the lasagna must be covered with foil for the first 45 minutes of bake time. This will let the noodles steam and soften perfectly. Then remove the foil for excess moisture to evaporate and the cheese to brown to perfection!
Another tip--remember to let the lasagna sit for 15 minutes before cutting into, to allow everything to set up. It will still be warm after 15 minutes!
Preparing in Advance
One of my biggest time-saving tips is to make two lasagnas at once. That way my family can eat one for dinner and I can freeze one for busy nights.
Because the noodles are not precooked in this easy lasagna recipe, you need to BAKE the lasagna BEFORE freezing.
To freeze this lasagna, bake as directed in a freezer-safe pan or disposable foil pan. Let the lasagna cool completely. Wrap tightly in 2 layers of foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To cook from frozen, From the freezer, bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes, covered. Uncover and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes or until warmed through.
This recipe for lasagna has been tested, tried, and true. However, I want to give you options to make this lasagna work for you and your family. This is the best way to save money and satisfy your family's taste buds!
- Meatless? To make a Meatless Lasagna, omit the meat or use your favorite veggie crumbles.
- Too Much Cheese? If your stomach is a little sensitive to cheese or you are watching your calories, just omit the cheese from the filling and top with minimal cheese on top.
- Cottage Cheese? I know cottage cheese is controversial in lasagna recipes. So if you don't have cottage cheese--or you think it is a sin to use cottage cheese in lasagna, use ricotta cheese in place of cottage cheese. Even tofu, Greek yogurt, or cream cheese works in this easy lasagna recipe.
- Pepperoni? As I mentioned earlier, to skip the step of browning meat, use sliced pepperoni in the layers of the lasagna in place of ground meat being added to the sauce. The pepperoni will add a hearty, meaty taste--minus the work!
More Lasagna Recipes
- Pierogi Lasagna
- Ravioli Lasagna
- Mexican Lasagna
- Lasagna Roll Ups
- Instant Pot Lasagna
- Vegan Lasagna from Nora Cooks
Easy Homemade Lasagna
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef or Italian Sausage
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt omit if using Italian Sausage
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 12 whole wheat lasagna noodles uncooked
- 1 ½ cups cottage cheese
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
- 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 3 cups homemade tomato sauce or your favorite store brand of spaghetti sauce
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese divided
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese divided
- Brush a 9x13 pan with olive oil and preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit
- Mix together tomato sauce with 1 cup water.
- Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in meat and begin to brown. Add in 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon oregano and brown fully. Turn off heat and drain off any excess grease on meat and return to skillet. Add in spaghetti sauce and 1 cup of water and mix well.
- Mix the cottage cheese with parsley, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, egg, and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese until well combined.
- Spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Lay 4 noodles down. Evenly top with ½ the cottage cheese mixture and then spread out 1 cup of sauce over the cottage cheese mixture. Lay 4 more noodles down and the spread with the remaining cottage cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Top with 1 cup sauce and 4 more noodles. Pour the remaining sauce over the noodles and top with the shredded mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove foil and continuing baking for 15 minutes.
- Let sit for 10 minutes or so, before slicing and serving.
- Lasagna can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days after baking or frozen after baking for up to 3 months.
- To make a Meatless Lasagna, omit the meat or use your favorite veggie crumble.
- Feel free to adjust the amount of cheese to your family's liking. Often times I will omit the Parmesan from the cottage cheese filling and everything is still delicious.
- If you prefer, use ricotta cheese in place of cottage cheese.
- Want to take a short-cut? Skip the step of browning meat, use sliced pepperoni in the layers of the lasagna in place of ground meat being added to the sauce. The pepperoni will add a hearty, meaty taste--minus the work!
- You do NOT need no-boil noodles for this recipe. You can use them if you have them on hand, but regular or whole wheat lasagna noodles work perfectly for this recipe. (If using Gluten-Free lasagna noodles, you must pre-boil, as they release too much starch and would cause this lasagna to be watery and have an off putting flavor.)