Butternut Squash Lasagna
Behold your future go-to recipe for guests: Butternut Squash Lasagna. Not only is it totally impressive, I’d even say a real show stopper, but it can be made a day or two ahead and then just popped in the oven before your guests arrive. How easy is that!
This recipe was originally shared on December 14th, 2018. This post contains affiliate links.
Table of contents
Why We Love This Recipe For Butternut Squash Lasagna
There are times to grab those super-fast get dinner on the table recipes, and then there are times, like a holiday meal, Sunday supper, or when guests are coming, to pull out a recipe like this Butternut Squash Lasagna. You know, a recipe that takes a bit more time, but is so obviously worth every minute for the rich and complex flavors that result of time well spent.
At first, this Squash Lasagna looks just like a regular lasagna, but then when you slice into it, the layers of sweet creamy pureed butternut squash and caramelized onions reveal themselves and you know you are in for a special treat!
The caramelized onion, sweet squash and pinch of nutmeg are such a delightful surprise. And the melted cheddar cheese really balances the sweetness and keeps the whole dish savory.
No lasagna would be complete without ricotta and it adds another level of creaminess. I skipped bechamel sauce, and instead used crushed tomatoes with basil. I think the acidity from the tomatoes really works and it saved a bit of time.
I’ve also made this Butternut Squash Lasagna as a meal-prep recipe: I built it on Sunday afternoon, covered it and refrigerated it. Then on Tuesday night I baked it for dinner.
This won over my meat-lasagna-lovers. The texture is so velvety and the sharp cheese balanced the sweetness of the butternut squash! A winner for Meatless Mondays!~Maureen
Before we get into the recipe, if you love meatless lasagna, then you’ll want to check out our other lasagna and vegetarian baked pasta dishes here on Healthy Seasonal Recipes. We also have a Butternut Squash Macaroni and Cheese and our Vegetable Pasta Bake is another cozy baked pasta dish to consider!
Key Ingredients For This Recipe
Butternut Squash: Butternut squash is by far my favorite squash for roasting and pureeing because it is so easy to scoop from the skin. If you have another winter squash that you want to use, feel free to substitute it instead.
Cheddar Cheese: Usually lasagna has mozzarella cheese, but I wanted the flavor of Sharp Cheddar Cheese in this butternut squash lasagna to help balance the sweet squash puree. I love the tangy sharp flavor it adds. When you are looking for cheddar for your lasagna, look for “extra sharp” or “sharp.”
No Boil Lasagna Noodles: Because this lasagna has so much moisture in it from an entire butternut squash, there is no need to boil the noodles. Yay! I tested this with no-boil lasagna noodles and regular noodles, and both soften just fine.
Sweet Onions: To make this recipe more complex tasting and balance the sweet butternut squash mixture we added in caramelized onions. The best onions for caramelizing are sweet onions because their natural sugars brown perfectly when they are slowly cooked.
Other Ingredients For This Recipe
- Seasonings: Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg and Thyme
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Part-skim ricotta
- Canned crushed tomatoes
- Chopped fresh basil
- Parmesan cheese
Step-By-Step Instructions To Prepare The Ingredients
Step 1: Roast and Puree Butternut Squash:
Roast butternut squash: First I cut the butternut squash in half and scooped out the seeds. I set it cut-side down on a sheet pan lined with non-stick foil. You can also use parchment. then just bake the squash until it is tender. It can take up to an hour depending on the size and age of your squash.
Make Butternut Squash puree: Let the squash cool on the pan until it is cool enough to handle. Sometimes, especially if the squash cools a lot and contracts, the skin will pull right off. So easy! Then just throw the squash into the food processor with salt and nutmeg and puree it. If you don’t have a food processor, no worries, you can mash it by hand. It won’t be as silky smooth, but still quite good. You can make this squash several days in advance or you can even freeze it if you like.
Step 2: Make Caramelized Onions
While you are prepping the squash, caramelize the onions as well. First, cook the onions until they are completely soft and then allow the sugars to darken.
Step 3: Make Tomato Mixture
I used a large can of crushed tomatoes, to which I added in freshly chopped basil (makes all the difference in flavor), salt and pepper. This is so much easier than making a tomato sauce on the stove top- and since we already have caramelized onions in the dish, the flavor will be just as good.
Step 4: Make Ricotta Mixture
Ricotta cheese is a fresh cheese (meaning it isn’t aged) so it is high in moisture. I add some egg to it to help it hold together as the lasagna bakes. You can use part-skim ricotta or whole milk ricotta cheese. (Note: the nutrition info below is based on part-skim ricotta.)
How to Assemble and Bake The Lasagna
Step 5: Prevent Noodles From Sticking
Coat a 9×11 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread about ½ cup tomato mixture in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer on three uncooked lasagna noodles.
Step 6: Base Layer
Spread about half of the butternut squash mixture over the noodles. Top with about half of the onion. Dollop with half of the ricotta.
Step 7: Add Sauce And Cheese
Top with about 1 cup tomato mixture and 2/3 cup shredded cheddar.
Step 8: Build The Second Layer and Final Layer of Noodles
Repeat with another layer of three noodles, the remaining squash, the remaining onions, the remaining ricotta, 1 cup sauce and 2/3 cup cheddar. Top with the remaining three noodles and the remaining tomato mixture, spreading out to moisten the noodles. Do not add cheese to the top or it will stick to the foil.
Step 9: To Bake
Bake: Cover with foil. Bake (at 400 degrees) until the lasagna is steaming hot, about 45 minutes if placed directly in the oven from prep or 60 minutes if made ahead and refrigerated.
Step 10: Top with Cheese And Bake Again
Remove foil, top with the remaining 2/3 cup cheddar and 3 tablespoons Parmesan and continue baking, uncovered, until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is melted, 7 to 10 minutes longer. Let sit 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Expert Tips and FAQs
This recipe can be prepared through step 8 up to two days in advance. Keep covered in the refrigerator.
Cover the casserole dish with foil and refrigerate up to four days. Alternatively, transfer individual servings to resealable containers and refrigerate them. This is a convenient way to store them for making quick packable lunches for the office.
You can freeze it after you assemble it and then bake it straight out of the freezer. (Make sure your baking dish is freezer to oven safe!) Bake at 350 degrees, covered with foil, until hot all the way through. The best way to tell if it is cooked though is to use an instant-read digital thermometer to ensure it is at least 165 degrees in the center. Then remove the aluminum foil and top with cheese. Bake again to melt the cheese on top.
Reheat leftover lasagna by placing a single serving on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with parchment or a paper towel and microwave on high for 3 1/2 minutes. Let sit for 1 minute before serving. Alternatively, reheat one or more servings of lasagna in a baking dish covered with foil in the oven set at 350 degrees. Heat until at least 165 degreed F when tested with a thermometer.
Variations To Try
- Add two layers of sauteed or steamed spinach or sauteed swiss chard with the squash to add even more veggie goodness! Make sure to squeeze out any excess moisture.
- In step 4 do not make the tomato mixture. Instead, try using a classic white sauce or bechamel instead of tomatoes. Skip the basil and use 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh sage instead.
- Add your favorite protein such as rotisserie chicken, browned Italian sausage or turkey sausage. Chicken sausage is really good with this combination too.
- Add layers of sauteed portobello mushrooms with the caramelized onions.
- Use pumpkin puree instead of butternut squash puree.
What To Serve With Butternut Squash Lasagna
I always love garlic bread with lasagna- so that would be a great choice.
Thanks so much for reading! If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my email newsletter to get a free weekly menu plan and the latest recipes right to your inbox. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review. I would love to hear what you thought!
Happy Cooking! ~KatiePrint
Butternut Squash Lasagna, a new twist on vegetarian lasagna. Layers of creamy pureed squash, caramelized onions, tender noodles and cheese come together to make an impressive meal for guests. Make it up to two days ahead and then just pop the lasagna in the oven before they arrive. Also a great Sunday supper recipe.
1 large butternut squash
1 ¼ teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
½ teaspoon ground pepper, divided
½ teaspoon dry thyme
16 ounces part-skim ricotta
1 large egg
28-ounces canned crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
9 uncooked lasagna noodles
8 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- Roast and Puree Butternut Squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment or foil. Cut butternut squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place cut-side-down on the prepared baking sheet and transfer to the oven. Roast until the flesh is tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. When the butternut squash is cool enough to handle, carefully scoop flesh into a food processor fitted with steel blade attachment. Add ½ teaspoon salt and nutmeg and process until smooth.
- Make Caramelized Onions: Meanwhile, swirl oil in the bottom of a small saucepan. Add onion ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper and set over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, stirring often until the onion is tender and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add water to the skillet one to two tablespoons at a time if the onions start to brown before they are soft. Remove from heat and stir in thyme.
- Make Ricotta Mixture: Stir ricotta and egg in a medium bowl.
- Prepare Tomato: Stir together tomatoes, basil and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Assemble lasagna: Coat a 9×11 baking dish with cooking spray. Spread about ½ cup tomato mixture in the bottom of the baking dish. Layer on three uncooked lasagna noodles.
- Spread about half of the butternut squash mixture over the noodles. Top with about half of the onion. Dollop with half of the ricotta.
- Top with about 1 cup tomato mixture and 2/3 cup shredded cheddar.
- Repeat with another layer of three noodles, the remaining squash, the remaining onions, the remaining ricotta, 1 cup sauce and 2/3 cup cheddar. Top with the remaining three noodles and the remaining tomato mixture, spreading out to moisten the noodles. Do not add cheese to the top or it will stick to the foil.
- Bake: Cover with foil. Bake (at 400 degrees) until the lasagna is steaming hot, about 45 minutes if placed directly in the oven from prep or 60 minutes if made ahead and refrigerated.
- Remove foil, top with the remaining 2/3 cup cheddar and 3 tablespoons Parmesan and continue baking, uncovered, until the lasagna is bubbling and the cheese is melted, 7 to 10 minutes longer. Let sit 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Make Ahead Instructions
This recipe can be prepared through step 8 up to two days in advance. Keep covered in the refrigerator.
Bake as directed. Chill in the refrigerator. Then Wrap in a double layer of foil and plastic wrap. Freeze up to one month. Thaw in the refrigerator at least 24 hours. Bake, covered at 325 degrees until steaming hot, and an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees when inserted into the center of the lasagna, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Main Course
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: Italian
- Serving Size: 1/10 of lasagna
- Calories: 545
- Fat: 15 g
- Saturated Fat: 8 g
- Carbohydrates: 80
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 26 g
Keywords: Butternut Squash Lasagna,Vegetarian Butternut Squash Lasagna