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.
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
💭 What does oven ready lasagna mean?
Oven ready lasagna means that you don't have to boil your noodles in advance of baking them in the oven (in your lasagna). They are much more convenient, not to mention, less work and less messy. You can read about why no boil noodles are better HERE. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about making your own noodles here! I wish I had time for that, but such is life. I buy them. And you can buy them too. Here's the fresh lasagna sheets I buy from my local grocery store. There's also an amazon link in the recipe if you can't get this brand where you live.
This recipe is not the only thing I've made with fresh lasagna (no boil) noodles. If you love Mediterranean flavors, 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.
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.
If you want to lighten up this recipe, use light/reduced fat cottage cheese, extra lean ground beef and light parmesan cheese!
🥗 Side dishes
If you're looking for a side dish to go with lasagna, salad and bread or breadsticks are always a great choices!
Caesar Salad (make this, minus the chicken)
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 ever 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!
And if you're looking for additional delicious make- ahead and freeze recipes, then give my Stuffed Green Pepper Casserole (Gluten-free) Recipe at try! Both of these dishes are perfect for new Moms or when you know someone that just needs a home cooked meal.
** This post is NOT sponsored by Olivieri
📋 Easy Homemade Lasagna (no boil recipe)
- 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 tsp 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 * I use Kraft - see notes
- 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. Add water, oregano, mushrooms, tomato sauce and tomato paste and garlic and simmer for 15 minutes
- In a separate 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 noodles (until all covered). Spread all the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles; then cover with the remaining noodles. Top with remaining meat 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!
- Cover with "Glad Press n' Seal", as this is the best way to get a tight seal. Then put into x-tra large ziplock bag. (if you want to keep it in your lasagna pan. If you plan to reheat in the pan (in the microwave), be sure to use a glass pan!You can also cut it into pieces (once cooled) and freeze in a sealed tupperware container
🍲More Pasta Recipes!
This recipe is part of The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck