A comforting, veggie-packed homemade lasagna recipe with cottage cheese! Loaded with fresh flavors, spicy sausage, and an ultra-creamy filling, each bite of this homemade cottage cheese lasagna is pure comfort.

deeply browned lasagna in a large white baking dish

Why This Recipe Works

Most American lasagna recipes tend to be overly heavy and single-noted. Each bite is the same as the last with little freshness to lighten up the heavy cheese and meat filling. This lasagna recipe with cottage cheese is inspired by a family recipe and this is the first time it has ever been written down.

Here’s why the recipe works: the cheesy filling is lightened up with the addition of cottage cheese while a variety of vegetables are added for brightness and fresh textures. The recipe utilizes oven-ready lasagna, because assembly is enough work. And finally, we bake it longer than most recipes to get a deeply browned top and perfectly set center.

Ingredient Notes

Lasagna Noodles

This recipe was intentionally developed with no-boil lasagna noodles (aka oven-ready lasagna pasta). We find pre-boiling to be very fussy and an added step that can be avoided. We recommend using the Oven-Ready Lasagna Sheets from Barilla.

Cottage Cheese

We’ve gotta talk about the bell of the ball! For the best texture and flavor, we recommend using whole milk cottage cheese. Any brand will do—use your favorite. Cottage cheese lightens up the traditional ricotta-only cheese layer of lasagna. If you use 2% cottage cheese the lasagna will be a bit less creamy and more watery.

Use any leftover cottage cheese to make Cottage Cheese Cake or Cottage Cheese Pancakes!

Ricotta Cheese

A classic lasagna ingredient—we combine ricotta cheese with cottage cheese to create the ultimate cheesy flavor and texture. We recommend using part-skim ricotta as it keeps things on the lighter side, but you can also use whole milk ricotta.

Mozzarella Cheese

Most of the time we recommend getting a block of cheese and grating it yourself. But when it comes to lasagna, there’s already so many steps and grating cheese shouldn’t be one of them. Just grab a big bag of shredded Mozzarella cheese.

Parmesan Cheese

Use fresh grated Parmesan cheese sold in the refrigerated section. (You can also use freshly shredded Parmesan cheese.) Do not use shelf-stable grated “Parmesan.”

How to Layer Lasagna

Lasagna is one of those dishes that’s very forgiving. Mess up the layering? No problem. There really isn’t a right or wrong way, but here are some guidelines on how best to do it.

  1. Start with pasta sauce on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add a layer of pasta.
  3. Spread the cottage cheese mixture over the pasta.
  4. Sprinkle on a layer of filling—either meat or veggies.
  5. Spoon more tomato sauce over top.
  6. Layer lasagna sheets over sauce.
  7. Spread cottage cheese mixture over lasagna sheets.
  8. Sprinkle on a layer of veggies.
  9. Top with tomato sauce.
  10. Layer lasagna sheets.
  11. Spread cottage cheese mixture over lasagna sheets.
  12. Sprinkle on a layer of veggies.
  13. Layer lasagna sheets over veggies.
  14. Top with tomato sauce.
  15. Finish with cheese.

Test Kitchen Tips

  • For the best results, let the lasagna rest for at least 45 minutes before slicing it up and digging in. This allows the juices to cool and the lasagna to set up.
  • We like to pack this lasagna with veggies. If you want to add more veggies, consider adding a diced bell pepper to the spinach layer.
slice of lasagna on a white scalloped plate with a gold fork set on the plate and a glass of red wine set next to it

Make Ahead Tips

Prep Components Ahead of Time

The tomato sauce can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days ahead of time. The sausage and mushrooms can also be cooked and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days ahead time. And finally, the cottage cheese mixture can be mixed up to 1 day ahead of time.

Assemble and Refrigerate

There are two ways to make this lasagna ahead of time. One, you can assemble the lasagna up to 1 day ahead of time. Cover the unbaked lasagna tightly in foil and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Bake and Freeze

You can also bake the lasagna and freeze it for up to 3 months. Bake the lasagna as directed then allow to cool completely at room temperature. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap followed by foil and freeze.

Transfer frozen lasagna to refrigerator 1 day before you plan to serve it. When ready to reheat, remove the foil and plastic wrap. Cover the baking dish with the foil layer and bake in a 300ºF oven until heated through.

Storage & Reheating

Store baked lasagna in the refrigerator covered tightly in foil or in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

You can also freeze baked lasagna for up to 3 months. Allow frozen lasagna to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before either reheating a slice or two in the microwave or reheating the baking dish in a 300ºF oven.

slice of lasagna on a white scalloped plate with a gold fork set on the plate and a glass of red wine set next to it

Serving Lasagna

  • A simple side salad is classic with lasagna—and we’ve got tons of recipes to choose from! Try our Simple Butter Lettuce Salad or Garden Salad—both are light and tangy, the perfect balance to a slice of comfort food.
  • Love a good Caesar Salad? We’ve got that too!
  • For some added crunch, try our ultra-fresh Celery Salad. It’s bright, light and crisp.
  • In keeping with the Italian theme, serve this lasagna recipe with our simple Fennel Salad. A reader-favorite!

More Comfort Food Recipes to Try


Ricotta vs cottage cheese lasagna—which is better?

We dive deep on this topic in an article that explores the pros and cons of ricotta cheese and cottage cheese in lasagna.
The short of it: either ricotta or cottage cheese is great in lasagna and it comes down to personal preference. Use ricotta cheese for a creamy, rich lasagna. Or opt for cottage cheese if you’d like it to be slightly lighter. For the best lasagna, use a combination of ricotta cheese and cottage cheese.

Why add an egg to the cheese mixture?

We add egg to the cheese mixture because it acts as a binder—holding together the mixture after it bakes. This simple addition helps the lasagna hold together when being cut and served.

Can I use more cottage cheese instead of ricotta?

We tested and developed this recipe using a combination of cottage cheese and ricotta. We have not tested this recipe with only cottage cheese, so because of that we do not recommend making any substitutions

Can I use jarred marinara instead of making my own sauce?

Yes, you can use jarred spaghetti sauce. We recommend using two large jars of your favorite marinara. We like Barilla and Rao’s.

I’d like to make this a bit lower in fat. Any recommendations?

Feel free to swap out the spicy Italian sausage for lean ground beef, ground pork or even ground turkey.

What kind of pan do I need?

You’ll need a 9×13-inch baking dish. If you’ve got a deep-dish 9×13- inch baking dish go ahead and use that! Avoid using a 9X13-inch metal baking pan. (Though you can use a disposable baking dish.) 
A good rule of thumb to remember:
Baking dish = glass
Baking pan = metal

Can you layer cottage cheese lasagna the night before?

Yes, you can assemble this cottage cheese lasagna recipe up to a day ahead of time. Cover the layered lasagna tightly with foil and store in the refrigerator until ready to bake. 

Do I cover it with foil for baking?

Yes, start the lasagna in the oven covered tightly with foil then remove the foil and finish baking the lasagna until nicely browned on top. 

What’s the difference between ricotta cheese and cottage cheese?

Ricotta cheese is a fresh cheese known as “whey cheese.” It’s made from the resulting whey protein left over from making other types of cheese. You can read more about the process here. But for cooking purposes, know that it’s light, fluffy and milky in flavor. Ricotta is best used in lasagna, as fillings for pasta, or as a base for dips.
Cottage cheese is also a fresh cheese. It features small curds of cheese in a creamy, milk-like sauce. It’s made by adding an acid to milk, resulting in curds separating from whey. The curds are then cut, pressed, rinsed and seasoned lightly with salt.

How many layers should lasagna with cottage cheese have?

This is somewhat of a personal preference, but we recommend having at least 3 layers of noodles to achieve a solid slice. This cottage cheese lasagna recipe has 4 layers of noodles, 4 layers of cheese, 1 layer of meat, and 2 layers of vegetables.

Lasagna Recipe with Cottage Cheese

4.89 from 9 votes
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Resting Time 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Yield 12 servings (6 ½ cups tomato sauce)
Category Main Course
Cuisine American/Italian


The ultimate lasagna recipe with cottage cheese. Loaded with veggies and spicy sausage, it's satisfying comfort food at its finest.


Tomato Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ white onion, diced (¾ cup)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

Cheese Mixture

  • 1 (16 ounce) container whole-milk cottage cheese (2 cups)
  • 1 (15 ounce) container part skim ricotta cheese (1¾ cups)
  • ¾ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
  • ½ cup freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Filling & Assembly

  • 1 pound bulk spicy Italian sausage
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (9-ounce) box oven-ready lasagna sheets (such as Barilla)
  • 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups loosely packed chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Cracked black pepper


Tomato Sauce

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until starting to soften, about 3 minutes.
    large dutch oven with onions cooking it in
  • Stir in garlic and tomato paste; cook one minute. Stir in bay leaves, basil, oregano, thyme and pepper flakes; cook 30 seconds.
    large dutch oven with onions, spices, and tomato paste cooking
  • Add crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce; bring to a simmer then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until flavors have melted and slightly thickened, 30 minutes.
    large pot of tomato sauce with a wooden spoon set in it
  • Remove from heat and let cool.

Cheese Mixture

  • In a large bowl, combine cottage cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, parsley, egg, dried basil, oregano, thyme, pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
    seasoned cottage cheese mixture in a large glass bowl with a wooden spoon set in it


  • Cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat, beaking up with wooden spoon into large crumbles, until cooked through.
    ground sausage cooking in a cast-iron skillet
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to a bowl, reserve drippings in skillet.
  • Add mushrooms; increase heat to med-high; season lightly with salt, and cook over medium until browned, about 5 minutes.
    sliced mushrooms cooking in a cast-iron skillet
  • Transfer mushrooms to a small bowl to cool.


  • Heat oven to 350ºF with rack set in middle position.
  • Spread 1 ½ cups tomato sauce in bottom of a 9✕13-inch baking dish.
    tomato sauce spread into the bottom of a baking dish
  • Arrange 4 lasagna sheets in an even layer over sauce (overlapping as needed).
    lasagna sheets layered in a large white baking dish
  • Spread 1 ½ cups cottage cheese mixture over lasagna sheets.
    ricotta and cottage cheese mixture spread into a large white baking dish
  • Sprinkle sausage in an even layer over top.
    cheese and sausage layered in a large white baking dish
  • Spread 1 ½ cups tomato sauce over meat.
    tomato sauce layered in a large white baking dish
  • Layer another 4 lasagna sheets over top.
    lasagna sheets layered in a large white baking dish
  • Spread 1 cup cheese mixture over lasagna sheets.
    ricotta and cottage cheese mixture spread into a large white baking dish
  • Top zucchini slices, arranging in an even layer.
    zucchini slices layered in a large white baking dish
  • Spread 1 ½ cups tomato sauce over zucchini. Layer another 4 lasagna sheets over top.
    lasagna sheets layered in a large white baking dish
  • Spread 1 cup cheese mix over lasagna sheets. Sprinkle spinach in an even layer over cheese mixture followed by cooked mushrooms.
    spinach and mushrooms layered in a large white baking dish
  • Layer another 4 lasagna sheets over top. Spoon 1 ½ cups tomato sauce over top lasagna sheets. Spread remaining cheese mixture over top.
  • Sprinkle 1 ½ cups mozzarella and ½ cup grated Parmesan over top. Season with cracked black pepper.
    unbaked lasagna in a large white baking dish
  • Spray a large sheet of foil with nonstick spray (or coat in olive oil). Cover lasagna tightly with foil, oil-side down.


  • Bake until bubbly, 1 hour.
  • Remove foil and continue baking until browned and bubbly, 45–60 minutes.
    deeply browned lasagna in a large white baking dish
  • Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.


Reheating: If you’re reheating just a slice or two you can pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes until heated through. If you’re reheating half a pan of lasagna, we recommend popping it in a 300ºF oven and warming until heated through.
Save some time and use jarred marinara instead of making the tomato sauce. You’ll need two large jars. 
Tomato sauce can be made up to 4 days ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Cheese mixture can be made and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead of time.
Sausage and mushrooms can be cooked up to 2 days ahead of time.
If you don’t have all the individual dried herbs, use the equivalent amount of dried Italian seasoning.
If you want some additional veggies, or would prefer to skip the sausage, add 1 small diced bell pepper to the spinach layer. 


Serving: 1/2Calories: 520kcalCarbohydrates: 53gProtein: 30gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 78mgSodium: 927mgFiber: 7gSugar: 11g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
slice of lasagna on a white scalloped plate with a gold fork set on the plate and a glass of red wine set next to it

Pin This Recipe

Love this recipe and want to save it? Pin this recipe!

Pin This Recipe
Get our FREE 20-Recipe Digital Cookbook
Subscribe and receive our popular SOUP-er Simple digital cookbook with 20 soup recipes that require just 10 ingredients and are ready in 45 minutes or less.

Share it with the world


About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

Learn More

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How many stars would you give this recipe?


  1. 5 stars
    I made this last night. It was fantastic. My fiancé said it was one of the best lasagnas he’d ever had. And, as always, it was even better for lunch today.

    I made it almost exactly to recipe, with the exception of subbing regular pasta sheets (under cooked by a minute or two) for the oven ready and salting the vey thinly sliced zucchini, while everything else cooked, to get out some of the excess moisture. Baked 45/45 covered/uncovered and it was perfect.

    Thank you!

    1. Yes! A deep, golden brown top is what you’re going for here. If you prefer a lighter-browned top, you can decrease the uncovered cook time to 20–30 minutes.