Vegetarian Butternut Squash Lasagna
Hi everyone! Today I want to share a delicious recipe recipe that’s been a staple in my family for years. What’s surprises me most about Vegetarian Butternut Squash Lasagna is that the original recipe came from my dad! You’d never know because my mom now takes the fame for her iconic veggie lasagna. It’s even been our Thanksgiving dinner for a long as I can remember!
This all came about in the 80s, when my parents were first dating. Since my mom’s a vegetarian, my dad made her a veggie lasagna, very similar to the recipe below. One of the staple ingredients in the dish is zucchini. But my dad’s roommate saw the lasagna and thought they were pickles (or jokingly said so anyway)! Ever since, we’ve nicknamed this recipe “Pickle Lasagna”…but I thought better of making it the name of this post! 🙂
Vegetarian Butternut Squash Lasagna varies based on the season. For instance, in the summer, I don’t use butternut squash at all! Instead, I use a red sauce because Trader Joe’s only sells their Creamy Autumnal Harvest sauce for a few weeks each fall. (It’s important to stock up while it lasts!)
In the spring, you can add other veggies like asparagus and in the summer, bell peppers, spinach, and of course zucchini. 😉 As fall approaches, broccoli, kale, and diced butternut squash work well too. Regardless of the season, I always use shredded carrots and zucchini, but everything else varies.
Notes on the Sauce
As I mentioned before, I love Trader Joe’s Creamy Autumnal Harvest Sauce, which is where the butternut squash in the name comes from. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s or it’s not in season, you could try making your own. I haven’t tried it, but plan to next time. I’ll also post a recipe for homemade marinara in the near future if you want to give that a try. Otherwise, you can use whatever pasta sauce you typically like.
Will this recipe work with meat?
Absolutely! If you happen to like meat in your lasagna, feel free! On Thanksgiving we always have one pan of veggie and one pan with ground turkey. I’ve also made it with ground beef which works as well. Just brown up the meat with some onions, salt, and pepper and sprinkle it on each layer with the veggies.
What kind of cottage cheese should I use?
Until recently, I didn’t realize how many ingredients get added to most conventional cottage cheeses. When I made this recipe last weekend, the only two kinds at the store had a lot of extras, so I worked with what I had and chose the more local brand (though ingredient-wise it wasn’t much better). Since then, I did a little more research and found a cottage cheese scorecard from the Cornucopia Institute. I encourage you to check it out along with their other scorecards! Basically, they rate various products in a category based on their ingredients, whether or not they’re organic, and other such criteria.
Why do you use uncooked noodles?
Because it works and it saves time and dishes. Simple as that. There’s just no reason why you have to cook them first! And I’m not talking about “oven-ready” noodles either. Truth be told, all lasagna noodles are oven ready. I know it might sound weird if you’ve never tried this before, but trust me–it really works!
Other Pasta Recipes to Try:
Vegetarian Butternut Squash Lasagna
- 12-15 whole wheat lasagna noodles uncooked
- 1 jar Trader Joe's Autumnal Harvest Pasta Sauce
- 2 large carrots shredded
- 1 medium zucchini thinly sliced
- 16 oz fat free cottage cheese
- 16 oz shredded mozzarella
- 2 cups spinach or Swiss chard chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms chopped
- Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly coat the bottom of a 9×13 pan with sauce.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with four or five uncooked lasagna noodles–three or four vertically and one horizontally. You will need to break the horizontal one to fit properly.
- Put another layer of sauce over the pasta and add dollops of cottage cheese. Cover with zucchini slices and sprinkle with shredded carrots, chopped mushrooms, and chopped greens.
- Add another layer of noodles and repeat the previous step. Keep adding layers until you run out of noodles and filling (three layers total).
- Generously sprinkle the top with shredded mozzarella. (Don't worry if it's enormously tall and piled up over the sides of the dish–it will reduce as it bakes!)
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for about another 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. You could also broil it for the last few minutes to help with the browning.
- Let cool for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!