This moist and creamy Spinach Lasagna recipe has 3 layers of lasagna noodles filled between layers with juicy meat sauce, fresh spinach, creamy parmesan bechamel sauce and gooey mozzarella cheese.
Baked to perfection with crispy edges, bubbly and gooey mozzarella cheese, rich creamy bechamel parmesan sauce and al dente lasagna noodles infused with ground beef, Italian sausage cooked in pureed and chunky fire roasted tomatoes flavored with Italian seasonings and herbs.
Lasagna is a versatile recipe. You can add your favorite herbs and spices or vegetables like spinach, zucchini or carrots.
Adding some of your favorite vegetables doesn’t make it healthy but it counters the richness of this dish and fresh spinach is great addition to lasagna.
Lasagna is a well loved family meal and great for gatherings. Even kids love this delicious creamy meaty Spinach Lasagna recipe.
This lasagna doesn’t have ricotta cheese instead it is layered with creamy white sauce or parmesan bechamel sauce.
It takes time to make lasagna but if you plan ahead, it is worth it without sacrificing the flavor.
Cook the meat sauce and parmesan bechamel sauce a day early and store it in the fridge. The following day prepare the noodles and assemble the lasagna. Bake until golden and bubbly.
There you go, you have one delicious dish that everyone will love.
How to Make Spinach Lasagna Recipe Step by Step
Typical Lasagna has 3 components: The meat sauce, bechamel sauce and mozzarella and the lasagna noodles. Not this lasagna, it has a 4th component – fresh spinach in between layers.
(1) Meat Sauce Ingredients
Ground Beef and Italian Sausage (not in casing) - This lasagna has the combination of beef and Italian sausage. The herbs and spices in Italian sausage adds so much flavor to this meat sauce.
Note: Brown the beef first and remove the excess fat leaving 1 to 2 tablespoons in pan.
Pureed Italian Tomato Sauce – I prefer to use tomato sauce seasoned with herbs and spices. I used Prego Traditional Italian Sauce.
Chunky or Diced Tomatoes – It gives added texture and juiciness to this delicious sauce. I used Fire roasted tomatoes instead of regular tomato sauce.
Tomato Paste – It is used to thicken the mixture and to enhance the flavor.
Fresh Oregano, Parsley and Basil – These fresh herbs blend perfectly with meat and tomato sauce. It brings all these ingredients together into one flavorful meat sauce.
These organic herbs are from my garden and boy they are so fresh.
Note: I prefer to use fresh herbs but dry herbs will work as well.
Salt and Pepper to Taste - Don't add too much salt since cheese can be salty.
Brown Sugar – The purpose of brown sugar is not to sweeten the dish but to counter the bitter taste of some variety of tomatoes.
Note: Some tomato sauce products are sweet, so it is best to taste the meat sauce before adding the brown sugar.
The sauce can be prepared in advance and refrigerated.
(2) Fresh Spinach – Instead of adding fresh spinach in the meat sauce, I make it into a separate layer. It is spread evenly throughout the lasagna unlike when added to meat sauce.
Adding spinach in meat sauce ends up in clumps and not distributed well in the lasagna.
Spreading fresh spinach on it’s own layer ensures that every piece of lasagna has a generous amount of spinach, after all this is a Spinach Lasagna recipe.
Note: If using frozen spinach, drain excess water. Adding fresh spinach releases enough liquid to add moisture to the noodles as long as it is cooked al dente.
Also, if you wash the spinach like I did, strain it in a salad spinner and pat dry with paper towel. Make sure you do this, you don’t want excess water in your dish.
(3) Bechamel Sauce and Mozzarella Cheese – Lasagna is not complete without the cheese. This lasagna does not have the typical ricotta cheese instead it is layered with creamy parmesan bechamel sauce.
Bechamel is made of butter and flour known as white roux, then it is blended with milk and whisk until slightly thick.
Note: It is best to make the bechamel sauce on the day you are making this dish but you can also make it a day ahead. Put it in a glass container, place the saran wrap touching the top of bechamel sauce so it doesn’t form a skin and refrigerate.
Nutmeg is added to enhance the flavor and beaten egg is added to give it a yellowish color.
Parmesan Parmigiano is added to the bechamel sauce to give this lasagna rich creamy cheesy flavor.
I prefer lasagna with more cheese so I add a generous amount of freshly grated or shredded mozzarella cheese. It adds more taste, texture and helps hold your layers together.
Note: I like fresh mozzarella but with lasagna I prefer to use pre-shredded mozzarella. It has lower fat content and it melts uniformly instead of clumping. Plus, it is less work for you, no need to grate.
(4) Lasagna Noodles – I prefer to use the no-boil noodles as it absorbs the sauce much better and doesn’t get soggy.
But with the situation we are in right now, it is hard to find it. In fact, I am lucky to find this dry noodles.
Dry noodles are thicker which I don’t mind if cooked al dente, it works perfectly as well.
Tip: Boil noodles in batches with generous amount of salt. Drain water and place noodles in a tray that was lightly sprayed or greased with olive oil.
Lay out cooked lasagna noodles, then spray top with olive oil before adding another layer. This will prevent noodles from sticking to each other.
Assemble Spinach Lasagna Layers
Once you have all the components prepared, it is a breeze to assemble this delicious, creamy lasagna.
Tip: For this Spinach Lasagna recipe, use a 9in x 13in casserole baking pan with a depth of 3 inches. It will overflow if you don’t use a deep casserole pan.
Lightly grease the sides and bottom of casserole with butter or olive oil.
You will have 3 layers of lasagna noodles.
Divide the following into portions:
Meat Sauce into 4 portions.
Fresh Spinach into 3 portions.
Parmesan Bechamel Sauce into 3 portions.
Mozzarella Cheese into 3 portions.
Steps to Assemble Spinach Lasagna Layers
(1) Add meat sauce at the bottom of pan then lay out fresh spinach. This will prevent noodles from sticking on pan.
(2) First Layer
(a) Lay 3 or 4 overlapping lasagna noodles depending on your preference. I like more noodles to counter the richness of the sauce.
(b) Spread out fresh spinach.
(c) Pour and spread bechamel sauce.
(d) Sprinkle mozzarella cheese throughout lasagna.
(3)Repeat the same procedure for the second Layer.
(4) On the Third layer, add noodles, meat sauce, bechamel sauce and mozzarella cheese. No spinach on this last layer.
Suggestion: Cover the casserole pan with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight so flavors can meld together. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 40 minutes. Make sure to watch after 25 minutes, if top is browning quickly and bubbly, turn off oven.
Otherwise, if you want it now, bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
My spinach lasagna was perfectly baked with browning and crisp sides. Rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
When you take a bite, this spinach lasagna is moist with flavors coming together. The noodles were perfectly flavored with meat sauce in chunky fire roasted tomatoes, with generous amount of spinach in creamy, milky, parmesan bechamel sauce and gooey mozzarella cheese. Top with parsley. Enjoy!
How to Freeze Lasagna
Place leftover lasagna in a well sealed container and store in the fridge up to 4 - 5 days or freeze for a month. If frozen, thaw in fridge and heat in the microwave.
Unbaked Lasagna – To save time, make extra servings of lasagna that you can freeze. Use a disposable aluminum foil pan and cover it with a heavy duty foil. Make sure to seal the edges well.
When ready to serve, thaw in fridge overnight or for 24 hours and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
Note: I prefer not to bake and freeze a whole pan of lasagna for future consumption. If stored in a well sealed food saver, I might.
If storing for a few weeks in the freezer, unbaked lasagna is my choice.
Spinach Lasagna Recipe
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion minced
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 (24 oz) Italian Tomato sauce (Prego Traditional Italian Sauce)
- 14 ounces fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 3 ounces tomato paste ½ of small can
- 1 ½ tablespoons fresh oregano chopped or 1 ½ teaspoons dry oregano
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil chopped or 2 teaspoons dry basil
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar (if desired)
- Salt and pepper season to your tastes
Parmesan Bechamel Sauce
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup fresh shredded parmesan parmigiano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 egg beaten
- pinch of nutmeg
- 9 to 12 pieces lasagna noodles boiled al dente
- water to boil noodles
- olive oil sprayed on noodles not to stick
- 1 bag 10 oz baby spinach
- 1 bag 16 oz shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley garnish or 2 teaspoons dry parsley
Lasagna Meat Sauce
- In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat and brown beef. Remove excess oil. Remove from pot.
- Saute onion until soft, then add garlic. Cook until golden.
- Add Italian sausage, cook and break it up until browned.
- Pour in the Italian tomato sauce, crushed fire roasted tomatoes and tomato paste. Blend well.
- Stir-in oregano and basil.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat to low. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Note: Taste meat sauce and add brown sugar, if needed.
Parmesan Bechamel Sauce
- In a dutch oven or large sauce pan over medium to low heat, melt butter.
- Add flour stirring constantly so that it does not turn lumpy.
- Turn heat to lowest setting.
- Add ⅓ of milk whisking constantly, then add all the milk and continue whisking until well blended and not lumpy.
- Raise heat to medium and continue stirring until slightly thick.
- Add nutmeg, salt and ground pepper. Continue stirring.
- Note: You might need to adjust heat to medium high and after a few minutes the sauce will start to thicken. Once sauce is thick remove from heat.
- Slowly add beaten egg while stirring constantly.
- Add Parmesan cheese stirring briskly.
- Set aside.
- Note: If you want a thicker layer of béchamel sauce, make 1 ½ of recipe. I did since we love this sauce but to some it might be too rich.
- Also, I don’t wait for sauce to cool down. Once meat mixture and pasta are ready, I put them all together.
Prepare Lasagna Noodles
- Fill a large pot with ⅔rd water and bring to a boil. When in a full rolling boil add noodles in 2 batches with generous amount of salt. Stir once in a while to prevent from sticking. Drain water and place noodles in a tray that was lightly sprayed or greased with olive oil.
- Lay cooked lasagna noodles on tray, then spray top with olive oil before adding another layer. This will prevent noodles from sticking together.
Assemble Lasagna Layers
- Note: You will have 3 layers of lasagna noodles.Divide the following into portions: Meat Sauce into 4 portions, Fresh Spinach into 3 portions, Parmesan Bechamel Sauce into 3 portions and Mozzarella Cheese into 3 portions.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Add meat sauce, then fresh spinach on the base of a 9x13-inch baking dish. Don’t do noodles directly so it doesn’t stick to baking dish.
- Lay out 3 to 4 lasagna noodles. Cover pasta with meat sauce, spinach, bechamel sauce and mozzarella cheese.
- Add another layer of noodles, repeat the same procedure for the 2nd layer.
- Lay out the 3rd layer of lasagna noodles. Pour meat sauce, bechamel sauce and mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
- Don't add too much salt in meat sauce since cheese can get salty.
- After simmering lasagna meat sauce for 45 minutes, TASTE to see if you need to add the brown sugar. Some tomato sauce are quite sweet already, so it might not need it. Sugar is added to compensate for tomato sauce acidity.
- I made the lasagna meat sauce a day earlier so all the flavors can mend well and to get it out of the way.
- You can use regular canned diced tomatoes but I love using Fire roasted diced tomatoes as it adds more savory flavor to this lasagna recipe.
- I prefer to use fresh herbs but you can always use dry herbs.
- Lasagna top will be bubbly and some oil coming out.
- Garnish with parsley.
- Set baked lasagna aside for 20 minutes before slicing.