This meatless four cheese lasagna recipe with cottage cheese and ricotta is comfort food at its finest! Lasagna is the perfect easy make-ahead meal for a crowd or to freeze for later. This vegetarian lasagna features layers of sauteed spinach and mushrooms, lasagna noodles, marinara sauce, and a creamy ricotta & cottage cheese mixture with mozzarella and parmesan. It’s easy to make and ready to eat in one hour!

Use your favorite jarred marinara sauce for this recipe, or try it with my simple homemade marinara.

glass pan of lasagna with a spatula removing a piece

To me, the ultimate comfort food involves pasta, marinara sauce, and plenty of cheese, like my vegetarian cauliflower baked ziti. As a Registered Dietitian, I’m a firm advocate that all foods fit in a well-balanced, healthy diet – including pasta!

This homemade spinach mushroom lasagna features a cheese mixture of ricotta, cottage cheese, shredded mozzarella, and parmesan. The cottage cheese provides a creamy texture as the curds melt when baked, and adds a welcome boost of high quality protein.

This lasagna takes an hour to prepare from sauteeing the mushrooms and spinach, to baking the casserole in the oven. If you’d like to freeze it or save for later, lasagna is the perfect meal to assemble ahead of time!

Lasagna will feed 6-8 people.

Check out this post for more healthy pasta recipes, including vegetarian and vegan options.

Difference between ricotta and cottage cheese

Ricotta and cottage cheese are both fresh cheeses, but have some differences.

  • Ricotta cheese is a fresh cheese made from the leftover whey (or watery byproduct of milk) that is separated from the curds during cheese making. It has a smooth and spreadable, slightly grainy texture and mild, slightly sweet flavor.
  • Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese made from curdled milk. Cottage cheese can be made with small, medium, or large curds. It has a mild, salty flavor.

Ricotta vs cottage cheese nutrition

When it comes to nutrition, ricotta and cottage cheese differ significantly. Cottage cheese is lower in calories and fat, and higher in protein than ricotta cheese.

In terms of micronutrients, ricotta cheese provides more calcium than cottage cheese – 1 cup of ricotta cheese has 39% of your daily calcium needs! Ricotta cheese also has more vitamin B12 than cottage cheese, but both are excellent sources of it.

See the table below for a detailed ricotta vs cottage cheese nutrition breakdown:

1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese1 cup whole milk cottage cheese
Calories369220
Total fat (g)2510
Saturated fat (g)166
Carbohydrate (g)188
Protein (g)1928
Calcium (mg)507 50

Using a ricotta and cottage cheese mixture for lasagna is a smart choice nutritionally, since you can reduce the saturated fat and boost the protein, without compromising on flavor!

More recipes with cottage cheese to try – including creamy blended cottage cheese pasta sauce, cottage cheese toast, savory cottage cheese breakfast bowl, and cottage cheese pancakes.

lasagna with ricotta and cottage cheese ingredients measured out in bowls on light grey backdrop

Ingredients in lasagna with ricotta and cottage cheese

Everything you need to make this recipe, below:

  • Ricotta cheese: I recommend using whole milk, or full fat, ricotta cheese for the richest flavor.
  • Cottage cheese: You can use any variety of cottage cheese you like (full fat, low fat, small curd, large curd, etc.) I prefer to make this lasagna with full fat cottage cheese because it is creamier and richer.
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese: Part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese gets super melty when baked into lasagna.
  • Shredded parmesan cheese: Shredded parmesan cheese adds sharp, nutty, bold, and complex flavor to the cheese mixture.
  • Marinara sauce: You can use two jars of store-bought marinara sauce, or make a double batch of my simple marinara sauce with canned tomatoes.
  • Mushrooms: Sliced baby bella mushrooms are perfect for this lasagna recipe.
  • Spinach: You can use baby spinach or chopped mature spinach. If you use mature spinach, trim off any long, tough stems. You could also swap out spinach for another leafy green, such as kale or chard.
  • Lasagna noodles:For best results, I do not recommend using no-boil lasagna noodles. They can become soggy when cooked in a lasagna. Pre-boil your noodles for a pleasant chewy texture.
  • Basil: Chopped basil is mixed into the ricotta and cottage cheese mixture to add a fresh flavor.
  • Egg: Adding an egg to the cheese mixture helps bind all the cheeses together.
  • Garlic: Plenty of garlic is sauteed with the mushrooms and spinach.
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Kitchen equipment needed

To make lasagna, you’ll need a large pot for boiling the noodles (at least 6 quarts), a saute pan or frying pan, a 9×13 glass or ceramic baking dish, a knife, cutting board, measuring cups, a mixing bowl, and mixing spoons.

How to make lasagna and how to layer lasagna (with pictures)

cottage cheese, riotta, basil, and egg mixture in a bowl before being mixed for lasagna
1. Combine cottage cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, fresh basil, egg, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.
ricotta and cottage cheese mixture for lasagna
2. Mix together the cheeses until well combined and smooth. Set aside.
sauteed mushrooms and spinach in a large stainless steel saute pan
3. Saute garlic, mushrooms, and spinach in olive oil in a saute pan.
6 boiled lasagna noodles layered in a glass casserole dish
4. Cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Make a single layer of cooked noodles in a lightly greased casserole dish.
lasagna noodles with cheese mixture on top in a glass casserole dish
5. Spread one third of the cheese mixture onto the layer of noodles.
mushrooms and spinach layered on top of cheese mixture in lasagna
6. Top the cheese mixture with one third of the sauteed spinach and mushrooms.
layers of lasagna with sauce in a glass casserole dish
7. Add about one third of the marinara sauce in a layer on top of the mushrooms and spinach.
lasagna layered in a glass baking dish before being baked
8. Repeat the layering process twice more, for a total of three layers of cheese and veggie filling. Top with a final layer of noodles, sauce, and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Lasagna covered in tin foil in a baking dish
9. Cover the dish with tin foil, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
baked lasagna in a glass dish
10. Remove the foil, and bake for another 5-10 minutes until bubbly. Top with fresh basil.

Let the lasagna sit for about 10 minutes when you remove it from the oven to allow the filling to settle. Then cut into squares to serve.

What to serve with lasagna

Since lasagna is a rich and filling dish, I love to serve it with something light, like my everyday kale spinach salad or cooked vegetables. Here are some recommended recipes to pair with lasagna:

Storing lasagna in the fridge or freezer

You can store leftover baked lasagna directly in the baking dish covered with foil or plastic wrap in the fridge. Reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, until heated through. Enjoy within 5 days.

How to freeze lasagna

If you plan on freezing this lasagna to save for later, fully assemble the lasagna, but don’t bake it.

Tightly wrap the dish in plastic wrap, getting out as much air as possible, then wrap in a layer of foil. Alternatively, wrap it in a double layer of foil.

Label the foil with the date frozen. Use within three months for the best taste and texture.

How to cook frozen lasagna

Remove the lasagna from the freezer and let it defrost in the fridge overnight.

30 minutes before baking, or while your oven preheats, remove the lasagna from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature.

Then, bake the lasagna as instructed in this recipe!

glass baking dish with lasagna cut into squares

Tips to prevent lasagna noodles from sticking

  1. Use a large enough pot with plenty of water. You’ll want to use at least a 6 quart pot filled with 4-5 quarts of water so the large noodles have enough room to move around.
  2. Stir the noodles when you put them in the water. Give the noodles a good stir until the water comes back to a boil when you put them in the water.
  3. Rinse the noodles after they are done cooking. Cold water will wash away some of the starches that can cause the noodles to stick together.
  4. Lay the noodles out on a baking sheet. Separate the layers or noodles with sheets of parchment paper. This helps ensure the noodles don’t stick together as you are assembling the lasagna.

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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glass pan of lasagna with a spatula removing a piece

Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Cottage Cheese and Ricotta

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  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: stovetop, oven
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian
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Description

This meatless four cheese lasagna recipe with cottage cheese and ricotta is comfort food at its finest! Lasagna is the perfect easy make-ahead meal for a crowd or to freeze for later. This vegetarian lasagna features layers of sauteed spinach and mushrooms, lasagna noodles, marinara sauce, and a creamy ricotta & cottage cheese mixture with mozzarella and parmesan. It’s easy to make and ready to eat in one hour!

Use your favorite jarred marinara sauce for this recipe, or try it with my simple homemade marinara.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 6 oz bag spinach
  • 1 lb lasagna noodles
  • 2 24 oz jars of marinara sauce, or a double batch of homemade marinara sauce


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with spray oil. Set aside. 
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine ricotta, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, basil, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
    cottage cheese, riotta, basil, and egg mixture in a bowl before being mixed for lasagna
  3. Mix the cheeses together until well combined. Set aside.
    ricotta and cottage cheese mixture for lasagna
  4. Heat olive oil over medium heat on the stovetop in a large saute pan or frying pan.
  5. Add the minced garlic and sliced mushrooms, plus a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened.
  6. Add the spinach to the pan and stir it into the mushrooms. Cook until the spinach is just wilted. Remove from heat.
    sauteed mushrooms and spinach in a large stainless steel saute pan
  7. While you cook the mushrooms and spinach, bring a large pot of water to a boil seasoned with 1 tbsp salt. 
  8. Cook the lasagna noodles in the boiling water according to package instructions.
  9. Strain the lasagna noodles in a colander and rinse under cold water for about 15 seconds, to help prevent the noodles from sticking together.
  10. Lay the noodles in  layers on a baking sheet, with each layer separated by parchment paper. This also helps prevent the noodles from sticking together as you prep the lasagna. 
  11. In the prepared baking dish, add a single layer of noodles. I used 6 noodles per layer – but this may differ based on the size of your noodles. 
    6 boiled lasagna noodles layered in a glass casserole dish
  12. Spread one third of the cheese mixture over the noodles.
    lasagna noodles with cheese mixture on top in a glass casserole dish
  13. Add one third of the cooked mushrooms and spinach over the cheese mixture.
    mushrooms and spinach layered on top of cheese mixture in lasagna
  14. Spread a generous layer of sauce over the mushrooms and spinach.
    layers of lasagna with sauce in a glass casserole dish
  15. Repeat this two times, for a total of three layers.
  16. Add a final layer of noodles to cover the lasagna and top it with a layer of sauce and a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.
    lasagna layered in a glass baking dish before being baked
  17. Cover the dish with foil. Bake covered for 30 minutes.
    Lasagna covered in tin foil in a baking dish
  18. Uncover, and bake for 5-10 more minutes until bubbly and the cheese on top is completely melted. 
    baked lasagna in a glass dish
  19. Top with fresh basil. Let lasagna sit for about 10 minutes before cutting into 6-8 pieces to serve.

Notes

Storing lasagna in the fridge or freezer

You can store leftover baked lasagna directly in the baking dish covered with foil or plastic wrap in the fridge. Reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, until heated through. Enjoy within 5 days.

How to freeze lasagna

If you plan on freezing this lasagna to save for later, fully assemble the lasagna, but don’t bake it.

Tightly wrap the dish in plastic wrap, getting out as much air as possible, then wrap in a layer of foil. Alternatively, wrap it in a double layer of foil.

Label the foil with the date frozen. Use within three months for the best taste and texture.

How to cook frozen lasagna

Remove the lasagna from the freezer and let it defrost in the fridge overnight.

30 minutes before baking, or while your oven preheats, remove the lasagna from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature.

Then, bake the lasagna as instructed.