This has been my go to, make-ahead Easy Homemade Lasagna recipe for years. I make it for company, for potlucks, feeding a large group people or just for us.
I love that I can make it weeks ahead, freeze it and it still tastes amazing when I serve it! In fact, I have to force myself to make anything other than lasagna when I know I have people coming over- it's that easy. Recently a colleague asked me if I had a good lasagna recipe and I realized that I didn't even have it posted on my blog! I decided it was time to change that. This make-ahead lasagna with no boil noodles and a homemade meat sauce, is perfect for company!
Fortunately, although I didn't yet have this Beef Lasagna recipe on my website, I was still able to point my colleague in the direction of another amazing lasagna recipe - My Low-fat Greek Lasagna. That recipe was a winner in the Olivieri lasagna contest a few years back and it's sooo good! And it was when I was developing that recipe, that I discovered fresh lasagna noodles. Now I just can't go back to the hard boxed ones. It really does make a huge difference. Plus, life is too short to waste time pre-boiling noodles for lasagna. Even the oven-ready variety never get quite soft enough. That's what I love about this beef lasagna - the noodles are always perfect!
This easy homemade lasagna is made with :
- meat (ground beef)
- fresh lasagna noodles (no-boil)
- fresh spinach
- fresh mushrooms
- Parmesan cheese
- cottage cheese
- tomato paste
- tomato sauce
- mozzarella cheese
*See recipe card for quantities
This recipe is not the only thing I've made with these no-boil noodles (fresh lasagna noodles). If you love Mediterranean flavors, and have leftover lasagna noodles, then check out my Greek Lasagna Cups (I'm a little crazy about Greek food!) They are not only portable, making them an excellent lunch, they are lasagna and garlic toast all in one little cup! They also make a wonderful appetizer. And they are sooo much better than regular lasagna noodles!
I have always made lasagna with cottage cheese and had never considered using ricotta cheese because this is the way my Mom, my Grandma and my Great Grandma made it. This original "lasagne" recipe (which I've adapted) came from my favorite and first cookbook, The Five Roses Cookbook - A Guide to Good Cooking, which is well over 100 years old ! It was my first cookbook and I still make a lot of stuff out of it, including my classic Easy Pumpkin Pie Filling. It's so old that this Easy Lasagna recipe with cottage cheese is actually in a section called "Foreign Fare" ha ha.
📖 Variations & Substitutions
- Lighten it up: If you want to lighten up this recipe, use light/reduced fat cottage cheese, extra lean ground beef and light parmesan cheese!
- Spinach: you can use frozen spinach if you don't have fresh. Just make sure to completely defrost, drain and squeeze out any liquid
- Mushrooms - you can substitute a 10 oz can of mushrooms for fresh mushrooms
- Oregano- if you prefer to use fresh oregano, you'll need double the amount you'd use for dried, or you could use Italian seasoning
- Lasagna noodles - if you can't get fresh, you can substitute oven-ready lasagna sheets. *If you do this, you'll need to add about ½ - ¾ cup extra liquid in the form of tomato juice (I use V-8 for flavor!) You simply pour this all over the top of the lasagna prior to putting on the aluminum foil.
- Tomato sauce - you can substitute canned crushed tomatoes
👪 Serving Size
This recipe makes 12 servings. However, you can half, double or triple the recipe by clicking on the blue serving number and selecting the number of servings you'd like. The ingredient quantities will automatically adjust. You'll just need additional lasagna pans.
You will need a 9X13 lasagna pan (affiliate link) and a cheese grater.
If you are making this no-boil lasagna recipe in advance, you can store it for up to 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container. You can also store leftovers for up to 3 days. You can freeze this lasagna for up to 3 months. If I'm freezing for less than a month, I simply cover it with Glad press n' seal (affiliate link). *If I plan to reheat in the oven, I will cover with aluminum foil first (don't do this if you plan to reheat in microwave). If I'm freezing it for longer, I'll slide it, covered in the plastic wrap, into an extra large Ziplock freezer bag.
*Be sure to use a glass lasagna pan if you plan to heat it in the microwave
How to heat lasagna in oven: Remove frozen lasagna from freezer and defrost completely. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and cover the lasagna (in an oven-safe dish) with aluminum foil. Place the dish in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the lasagna is hot all the way through and the sauce is bubbling at the edges.
🥗 Side dishes
If you're looking for a side dish to go with this classic lasagna recipe, salad and garlic bread or breadsticks are always a great choices!
- Caesar Salad (make this, minus the chicken)
- Spring Salad with Fiddleheads & Blackberry Vinaigrette
- Bread Machine Italian Breadsticks (shown below)
- Bread Machine Onion & Olive Bread
- Everything Bagel Cloud Bread Recipe
Also, check out this post on What to serve with lasagna for more great ideas!
Note: I use Kraft 100% shredded Parmesan cheese (affiliate link). It's more economical than buying 'fresh' and still tastes amazing!
And be sure to try this Stuffed Green Pepper Casserole (Gluten-free) Recipe! It's make-ahead and freezable too. Both of these dishes are perfect for new Moms or when you know someone that just needs a home cooked meal.
If you're looking for a delicious lasagna recipe, you'll love this one! It's make-ahead, freezes well and is perfect for feeding a crowd or taking along to a potluck! There are a lot of lasagna recipes out there that claim to be 'the best lasagna.' But I believe that the true testimony is that this Easy Homemade lasagna has withstood the test of time. You know it's a good recipe when it's still around 100 years later!
** This post is NOT sponsored by Olivieri
📋 Make-Ahead Lasagna (with no boil noodles)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic * or minced prepared garlic
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms * can substitute 1-10 oz can
- ½ 680 ml can of tomato sauce
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ cup water
- 2 ½ cups fresh baby spinach ½ an 8 ounce bag
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1 ½ cups grated shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 360g -pkg fresh lasagna noodles * I use Olivieri (* can substitute oven ready but do not recommend)
- 2-3 cups grated mozzarella cheese ( about a 400 g pkg)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9X13 lasagna baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Brown ground beef and onion in large pot or in a deep, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add water, oregano, mushrooms, tomato sauce and tomato paste and garlic and simmer for 15 minutes
- In a separate medium bowl, (washed and dried) spinach with parmesan cheese and cottage cheese.
- Pour ½ the meat sauce in bottom of pan and spread evenly. And cover with a layer of ½ the uncooked noodles (until all covered). Spread all the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles; then cover with the remaining noodles. Top with remaining sauce.
- Cover with aluminum foil creating a tight seal *** This is important or the noodles with not cook properly otherwise!! Bake in prepared oven for 35-45 minutes or until noodles are soft enough to easily put a fork through.
- Remove aluminum foil and add grated cheese. Return to oven (uncovered) for 15 minutes. Then turn up oven to broil (500 degrees maximum) for 1-3 minutes until bubbly and lightly browned (keeping a close eye so it does not burn) Serve hot!
- *If making ahead, see storage