Julia Turshen’s “A Nice Lasagna”

Tested & Perfected Recipes

lasagna

This lasagna comes from Julia Turshen’s lovely cookbook, Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home Cooking Triumphs (Chronicle Books, 2016). Not only is it the simplest lasagna I’ve ever made, it’s also the lightest and most elegant. Julia writes that there are three “small victories” with the recipe. The first is using a food processor to make an easy homemade pasta dough (although I would argue that an even bigger victory is that you can replace the homemade pasta with store-bought no-boil lasagna noodles, which I did). The second small victory is skipping both the American tradition of using ricotta and the Italian tradition of adding béchamel. Instead, Julia adds crème fraîche directly to the tomato sauce, which lends the requisite creaminess that all great lasagnas have, but with zero effort. (I LOVED this cheat. The sauce was so delicious, I had to stop myself from sneaking spoonfuls while assembling the lasagna, lest I run short.) Finally, the third small victory is a high sauce-to-pasta ratio, which eliminates the step of having to cook the noodles before assembling the lasagna — and also allows the noodles to absorb the flavor of the sauce as they cook in the pan.

ingredients

Begin with the sauce. In a large bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands.

whole-tomatoes

Julia suggests this as a good job for kids — I agree, although it’s messy so you might want to put the bowl in the sink.

crushed-tomatoes

In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook until it begins to sizzle, about 1 minute.

garlic-and-olive-oil

Add the tomatoes and salt and bring to a boil.

tomatoes-1

Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring every so often, until it’s slightly reduced, about 30 minutes.

tomatoes-2

Mix in the crème fraîche.

adding-creme-fraiche

Season to taste with salt and set aside.

finished-sauce

Next, assemble the lasagna. Ladle a thin layer of sauce onto the bottom of a baking dish. Spread the sauce to cover the surface of the dish, then add a layer of pasta over top.

building-lasagna-1

Spoon over just enough tomato sauce to cover the pasta and then scatter over some of the Parmesan, mozzarella, and basil.

building-lasagna-2

Repeat the layering process until you’ve used up all of your components, ending with sauce and cheese (not naked pasta or basil, both of which would burn if exposed).

building-lasagna-3

Bake the lasagna, uncovered, until it’s nicely browned and the edges are bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes.

baked-lasagna

Let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow the pasta fully absorb all of the bubbling sauce, so you don’t end up with soupy slices.

Lasagna-1

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Julia Turshen's Lasagna

Servings: 6-8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 20 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 35 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Sauce

  • Two 28-oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup crème fraîche

For the Pasta Dough (see note)

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For Assembling

  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups coarsely grated whole-milk mozzarella cheese
  • 2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces if large

Instructions

For the Sauce

  1. In a large bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands (this is a messy but fun job—it’s a very good one for children) until they are in bite-size pieces.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil, add the garlic, and cook, stirring, until it begins to sizzle, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and 1 tsp salt and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring every so often, until it is slightly reduced, about 30 minutes.
  3. Whisk the crème fraîche into the sauce and season to taste with salt. Set the sauce aside to cool to room temperature while you conquer the pasta.

For the Pasta (See note about using store-bought noodles)

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, eggs and salt and run the machine until a firm ball of dough forms around the blade, cleans the side of the processor bowl, and doesn’t stick to your fingers when you touch it. If the dough is too dry, add a little water, 1 tsp at a time, until the dough comes together. If, on the other hand, it’s sticky when you touch it, add a little flour, 1 tsp at a time, until the dough comes together. (The exact amount of moisture in the dough depends on how you measured your flour, how large your eggs are, even the humidity in the air.) Once your dough is good to go, dust it lightly with flour and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Let it rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and have more parchment paper at hand.
  3. Cut the rested dough into six pieces. Working with one piece at a time (keep the rest covered with plastic), lightly dust the dough with flour and press it down with the heel of your hand. Run the dough through your pasta machine, starting on the widest setting and working your way through the narrower settings, rolling it through each setting twice, until it is very thin but not too thin. I usually stop at 6, but your machine might be different from mine, so I’ll just say that the final pasta should be the thickness of an envelope—which is to say thin, but not at all transparent. You don’t want it to disappear into the finished lasagna. If the dough sticks during the rolling, simply dust it with a little flour. Lay the rolled-out pasta on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough, keeping the rolled pieces separated with parchment paper.

For the Lasagna

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F.
  2. Ladle a thin layer of room-temperature sauce onto the bottom of a 9-by-13-in baking dish. Spread the sauce with a spoon to cover the surface of the dish. Add a layer of pasta (brush off any excess flour), cutting the pasta and arranging it as needed to form an even single layer. Spoon over just enough tomato sauce to cover the pasta and then scatter over some of the Parmesan, mozzarella, and basil. Repeat the layering process until you’ve used up all of your components, ending with sauce and cheese (not naked pasta or basil, both of which would burn if exposed).
  3. Bake the lasagna, uncovered, until it’s gorgeously browned and the edges are bubbling, 35 to 40 minutes. Let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes, just like you would a steak, before slicing and serving. This lets the pasta fully absorb all of the bubbling sauce, so you don’t end up with soupy slices.
  4. Note: Feel free to skip the homemade pasta and use 12 store-bought no-boil lasagna noodles (that's what I did and it worked beautifully). Please keep in mind that there are usually more than 12 lasagna noodles in a package. Make sure just to use 12; if not the dish will be very dry. The time given for this recipe was calculated using the store-bought noodles.
  5. Note: My only change to the recipe, other than using no-boil lasagna noodles was to sprinkle fresh basil over top before serving.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Calories: 390
  • Fat: 20g
  • Saturated fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 37g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 5g
  • Protein: 17g
  • Sodium: 711mg
  • Cholesterol: 41mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • Second time I’ve made this now and it’s such a hit! I broke my rule of never trying a recipe for the first time when hosting a dinner party, but it seemed fool proof and it was. Definitely a keeper!

    • — Katie on November 15, 2018
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  • Thank you for such a delicious lasagna recipe! My family loved it! I used regular boiled lasagna noodles and everything else as written. We almost ate the whole dish in one sitting! As a vegetarian momma, it can be hard to find recipes that please my meat eating family and this one surely did. Thank you!!!

    • — Stacy Rood on October 26, 2018
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  • I wouldn’t change a thing about this recipe. My children loved it, my husband and I loved it. My son even said he preferred it to the standard meat lasagna. I will make it again for sure.

    • — Robin on October 18, 2018
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  • This was my second time making this recipe. A few comments : I would suggest using fresh or regular noodles rather than no boil. No boil noodles never have the same consistency, they have a toughness that I don’t care for ; both times I have made this, the casserole was over cooked and too brown . I had used no boil noodles, so, I felt that it had to bake the full time to cook the noodles properly. I suggest a baking temp of 375 degrees and using store-bought fresh noodles – same convenience, better texture. I used approximately 3-4 c. Mozzarella, it needed more than what the recipe called for. I also added mushrooms to the sauce which worked well. The sauce with creme fraiche is wonderful.

    • — Kathy Vukasovich on July 19, 2018
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  • I wanted to love this – and made it on a rainy spring night. But I didn’t see that you should use 12 of the lasagna noodles – I used an entire 1lb box and it was basically dry noodles with a bit of tomato bites. Maybe consider to put 12 in the actual recipe? Guessing most of us would go this route rather than homemade. I would consider myself an accomplished home cook. I did pair it with your Big Italian salad – WOW, that dressing!

    • — Annie on May 12, 2018
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    • Hi Annie, thanks for the feedback about the noodles. I’m sorry that this didn’t work for you out because of that. I added a note to the recipe that will hopefully keep others from doing the same thing. (Glad you enjoyed the salad, though!)

      • — Jenn on May 13, 2018
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      • I’m going to make this tomorrow night for a dinner party and was curious as to whether you could or should use some ricotta in it? Most lasagnas I’ve made have ricotta, so it seems “bare” without it.

        Every recipe I have made from your site has been amazing! It’s my go-to cookbook!

        Suzanne on Aug. 15, 2018

        • — Suzanne on August 15, 2018
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        • Hi Suzanne, The beauty of this recipe is that it doesn’t have ricotta, which can become dry and grainy when baked. This is a really light and elegant lasagna. I think you’ll be pleased if you make it as is. 🙂

          • — Jenn on August 15, 2018
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  • My go-to Friday night meatless dinner. It is quickly prepared and delicious. The creme fraiche makes this lasagne so creamy it is hard to describe. Thank you!

    • — Michael Calcagni on March 12, 2018
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  • Oh my goodness….heavenly. Such a lovely lasagna! Nice does not do it justice. Loved this and my meat-loving guys went back for seconds, as did I. YUM. Thank you Jenn!!!!!

    • — Janet Miller on March 7, 2018
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  • Made another double recipe of this. Added ground Italian sausage this time. It was delicious but be careful of over-seasoning, because the sausage adds quite a bit. I had some extra sauce after making the 2 lasagnas that I put out with crusted bread as an impromptu appetizer when the neighbors stopped by for happy hour and it was literally devoured. The sauce that good! I also used the pre-cooked noodles but dipped them in water as someone had suggested and that worked well.

    • — Sarah on March 6, 2018
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  • I’m serving this lasagna recipe tonight. I am using oven ready pasta. Should i bake it now and re heat tonight …. or put it all together now and do the whole bake tonight? I don’t want to spoil the texture and flavour. I’m also adding spinach, pre cooked Italian sausage, mushrooms. Thanks Jenn!

    • — Sharon on March 3, 2018
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    • Hi Sharon, I think you could get away with either; I’d probably just leave it assembled in the fridge for a few hours and bake right before serving. Hope everyone enjoys!

      • — Jenn on March 3, 2018
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    • Jenn, the recipe is a keeper! Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. That recipe … with my additions … filled my glass pan almost to the brim and I was sure it would boil over and make a huge mess in my oven. In fact when the 40 minutes was up it was picture perfect! I just want to say “thank you” once again for sharing what you have learned with your many HUGE fans! When we entertain or take a dish to a gathering I have two words when I’m asked for my recipes … JENN SEGAL!

      • — Sharon Ritchie on March 4, 2018
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      • That is so sweet, Sharon – I’m so happy it turned out well! 😊

        • — Jenn on March 4, 2018
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  • Hi Jenn,
    Made the “nice” lasagne tonight with fresh lasagne sheets from Wegmans. Really very very good and they worked perfectly. Definitely a keeper.

    • — Susan on March 2, 2018
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  • I made this for a lady from our church who is on a low sodium diet. Consequently, I adjusted the recipe by using no-salt-added tomatoes and half the parmesan cheese. Otherwise, I made it exactly according to the recipe, using the no-boil lasagna for convenience. Even without the salt, it still had a very nice flavor and a lovely, creamy texture. I can’t wait to make it for my husband and myself (with salt included!).

    • — Vicki Frederick on February 27, 2018
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  • Hi Jenn,
    Just wondering if you think I can use the fresh lasagne noodles they sell in my local market, or would it be too dry? Love your recipes and want to try this one later this week.

    • — Susan on February 21, 2018
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    • Hi Susan, I think that’d work well. Please lmk how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on February 21, 2018
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  • I made this twice. Both time it was great. I also added a layer of sauteed chopped onion, green, red, yellow peppers, 10 oz. sliced mushrooms and a bag of baby spinach. The spinach will wilt when you cook it. The only problem is I ran out of sauce for the top layer. It might be because I put sauce before I layed down the pasta in each layer. I also used gluten free lasagna pasta.

    • — Daniel Beck on February 13, 2018
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  • This was delicious and not too much for someone who tends to have a sensitive tummy! I added ground turkey and used store bought lasagna and it was perfect! My boyfriend who is a super picky eater also loved it, which was great! Will definitely make again 🙂

    • — Laura Nozedar on February 1, 2018
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  • I am not a big tomato sauce type of person and I often feel that lasagnas have too much tomato sauce but in this case I absolutely loved the taste of the sauce and almost felt like I didn’t have enough sauce. It was so simple and absolutely delicious. I only had one can of the whole tomatoes and then 2 small cans of the fire roasted crushed tomatoes so I combined the two and it was really spectacular. I added mushrooms to it and I think if I had a party, I would serve one with sausage added and make the other one with mushrooms and spinach.

    • — Nancy A on January 26, 2018
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  • I made this recipe with the no boil noodles. Came out very good. This was simple to make and the flavor was good. I added some crumbled cooked Italian sausage meat between the layers.

    • — Lena Dorner on January 25, 2018
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  • I’d like to add ground turkey to this. I have several questions. Should I use white meat (my preference) or dark or a combination? Also at what step do I add it in?

    • — Jane on January 18, 2018
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    • Hi Jane, Sure, that that would work. I’d suggest a combination of dark and white turkey because you’ll get a little more flavor than with just white meat. Brown it in the oil with the garlic and then add the tomatoes; then just continue as directed. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 18, 2018
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      • Thanks so much. Other questions are: 1. would like to make this with more vegetables … what would you suggest and how should they be added in. 2. If I want to make this in an 8×8, is it merely halving the recipe? 3. I would like to make this entire recipe and make it half veggie and half meat. Is this possible? Sorry to ask so many questions. Trying to accommodate too many people, I guess!

        • — Jane on January 18, 2018
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        • Hi Jane, In the cookbook that the dish comes from, the author suggests adding cooked spinach, broccoli rabe, mushrooms, or cubes of butternut squash (or a combination of vegetables) to each layer. Just make sure you saute them first. And, yes, I think an 8 x 8 dish would work for half the recipe. And regarding making two versions of the recipe, it will be more labor intensive for you, but I think it would work if you baked them in two 8 x 8. Hope everyone enjoys!

          • — Jenn on January 19, 2018
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          • No other questions. Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your quick and helpful responses to this and to others I have asked before. Thanks!

            • — Jane on January 21, 2018
          • My pleasure! 🙂

            • — Jenn on January 21, 2018
  • Hi Jen! It needs to be said, I came to your site because I was all set to make your lasagna this weekend for my crew, and saw you made Julia’s lasagna! I have her cookbook and LOVE it, but have yet to try this recipe because your sausage lasagna is literally the best we have ever had! But, it’s Julia’s “nice” lasagna for Sunday dinner this weekend! Wanted to thank you for the post! 😊

    Jen

    • — Jen on January 12, 2018
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  • Hi Jen! Love your recipes. I plan to make this one but I’m just curious … what’s the reasoning behind letting the sauce come to room temp?

    • — Nicole on January 9, 2018
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    • Hi Nicole, I don’t think there’s any reason for it except that she makes the pasta from scratch – so the sauce cools while she goes through that process. If you’re using the no-boil noodles like I do, there’s no need to let the sauce cool. Sorry for any confusion!

      • — Jenn on January 10, 2018
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  • I am about to pop this in the oven, and I can hardly wait! I decided at the last minute to make one 8 x 8 pan because I don’t want it to go to waste, and I stored the rest of the sauce in the fridge…any idea how long I can keep it? Thanks; I’m salivating as I type!

    • — Ruthie on January 6, 2018
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    • Hope you enjoy it, Ruthie! I think the sauce would keep well for 4 to 5 days. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 6, 2018
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  • Another one of your recipes that was devoured in one meal. So now I make double. An easy, light lasagna that even my picky little people enjoy. Thank you!

    • — Sarah on December 5, 2017
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    • I forgot to say I added a layer of cooked ground beef in the middle and it was great.

      • — Sarah on December 5, 2017
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  • I made two of these recently and froze one for later use uncooked. Should I defrost overnight then cook or cook from frozen or does it not even matter? Thanks Jenn for this and the other 100 or so recipes I’ve made over the past several years. I am a huge fan😋

    • — Abbie on December 4, 2017
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    • Glad you like the recipes, Abbie! I would defrost the lasagna before baking it.

      • — Jenn on December 4, 2017
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  • This was sooooo good! I love that it’s not as labor intensive as other lasagna recipes. Only change is that I added chicken sausage. My whole family loved it! More easy recipes please 🙂 Thanks for another winner!

    • — Alice on October 25, 2017
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  • Wonderful! I made half a batch and cooked it in a 8×8 pan- came out great. Next time I may soak the no-boil noodles in warm water while prepping the sauce, although it is not strictly necessary. I also added more cheese than the recipe calls for (personal weakness). I know I will make this again and again.

    • — Jamie on October 25, 2017
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  • I loved everything about this recipe. I made it as family dinner on Sunday. My 4 year old daughter was all laughs as she squeezed the whole tomatoes. We love meat, so I used Italian sausage with spinach as part of the filling, my aupair from France suggested to flavor meat with Herbs de Provence. We paired with ceasar salad and your delicious rosemary foccacia bread. I loved all the family contributing, and the best part was enjoying it afterwards. Thanks again Jenn!

    • — Jennifer Rainey on October 22, 2017
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  • This was spectacular. Smooth and nice and delicious without being heavy. I added some mushrooms and spinach to the sauce – in retrospect it made the lasagne a little soupy so I would probably cook them separately from the sauce and drain them next time. I made the sauce over the weekend and then assembled the lasagne the night before with no boil noodles. Super easy to pop it in the oven when I got home from work and had a nice weekday evening meal for my family.

    • — Elizabeth on October 20, 2017
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  • This recipe is much better than “nice”. This was a wonderful change from our Thanksgiving turkey-fest (x2) and days of leftovers, and counting. We all really enjoyed this lasagna, and in my opinion, the fresh basil layered in-between and on top of it when it is done baking, is what makes this recipe five stars. The kids especially enjoyed that it was meat free. :p The amount of sauce called for is the perfect amount for three layers plus the top; but, I would have liked having extra on the side for when we finish this tomorrow night because I imagine the pasta will have absorbed the sauce by then. It’s not a big deal to make a second batch (and then freeze and use the rest for a crab ravioli recipe I have another time.) So my recommendation is to increase the sauce recipe by half for the left-over meal. Thanks, Jenn!

    • — Nicole on October 10, 2017
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  • Jenn, I would like to try this, but I do not have creme fraiche. Would ricotta maybe mixed with sour cream work in its place?

    Thanks,
    Mary

    • I think you could get away with straight sour cream, Mary. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 27, 2017
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    • It’s also very easy and inexpensive to make creme fraiche. Google it to get a recipe. It’s just heavy cream, a bit of buttermilk and time. Delicious!

      • — Sue on October 5, 2017
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  • Thank you, this was super delicious. LOVED the sauce, how creative!!!! We added some ground sausage and spinach as well. Hubby prefers some meat in his lasagna and I had it in the house. I’d say “another keeper” but I have yet to find one that isn’t.

    • — Aimee on September 21, 2017
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  • I added a sprig of rosemary to the simmering sauce and some fresh mushrooms. It was fantastic!! Perfect for my new vegetarian regime! Thanks ,Jenn, for another 5 star recipe !

    • — Kathy Vukasovich on September 17, 2017
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    • PS I really liked using the creme fraiche instead of the ricotta …ricotta becomes mealy and this is so smooth and delicious!

      • — Kathy Vukasovich on September 17, 2017
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  • This recipe is terrific! Loved it. Made it pretty much as written except added some leftover mushrooms that had been sauteed in butter and sherry to the sauce. Used the no-bake noodles as suggested. It turned out just great. Would certainly recommend this recipe. Time to retire the vegetarian lasagna recipe I used to make from Laurel’s Kitchen!

    • — Lynell on August 11, 2017
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  • I mistakenly purchased a container of mascarpone cheese instead of crème fraiche to make this recipe. Is it OK to use?

    • — Stan on August 5, 2017
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    • Yes, Stan, I think that would work. LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on August 5, 2017
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  • Delicious. I kept waiting to hear, “where’s the meat?” But all I heard was, “this is good.” Thank you.

    • — Stacy on July 11, 2017
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  • My new favorite lasagna. Sauce is delicious. Got the crème fraîche, no-boil noodles, cheeses, tomatoes and a basil plant at Trader Joe’s. Added a layer of hamburger, mushrooms and spinach. Next time will replace hamburger with loose sausage meat. Pairs well with arugula salad with shaved param, lemon and olive oil which is also on this site.

    • — Carol F. on July 8, 2017
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  • Superb! It is mild yet packs flavour. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. Can’t wait for more.

    • — Donna on June 22, 2017
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  • I have had a pasta maker in an upper cabinet for a long time, and I pulled it down to make this. I do not doubt it is a nice dish with no-boil noodles, but the homemade noodles were wonderful and not that difficult. I added some sauteed mushrooms too. A very good lasagna!

    • — Diane on May 29, 2017
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  • This is so good. And, fairly, easy, as lasagne goes. I use the barilla oven ready noodles. My family loves it! It feels like a treat on a weeknight. Thanks for all of your recipes! I love making so much from your site.

    • — JBateman on May 15, 2017
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  • I have made this twice. The second time I added sautéed mushrooms. It was so easy and delicious. You made me like lasagna. 🙂
    Please keep the vegetarian meals coming.

    • — Jane C. on May 12, 2017
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  • Wife and I are split on this one. She’s not a fan of deep, rich tomato sauces, so she loved the brighter taste of this one.

    Me…I could eat tomato paste out of the tube, so the fresher/lighter taste of this sauce didn’t do it for me.

    Still a very good recipe, just not in line with my tastes. I liked that it’s easy to do, and that it’s a cheese lasagna without the ricotta or cottage cheese that’s so prevalent elsewhere.

    • — Reuben on April 29, 2017
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  • This recipe is wonderful! So easy and tastes amazing. Before this, all the recipes I’ve seen were either too labor-intensive or too “store bought.” I added turkey and one layer sauteed power greens, and I only used about half the creme fraiche called for. Thanks so much for sharing this!!!

    • — Catherine on April 27, 2017
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  • Can I divide this between (2) 8×8 pans (give 1 away and keep 1)? I would like to make this for a friend recovering from surgery, but 13×9 would be too much.

    • — Denise on April 24, 2017
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    • Definitely!

      • — Jenn on April 24, 2017
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  • Delicious!
    This is delicious and the Creme Fraiche gives it a rich flavour, without adding meat. I used dried no cook lasagna noodles. It is light tasting and I may not even make traditional one again. I have made it twice in the last two weeks, so easy and so delicious! I too could not stop stealing bites before serving.

    • — Dawn on April 22, 2017
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  • Is there a particular brand of shredded whole milk mozzarella that you love…or are you freshly shredding your mozzarella?

    • — RK on April 20, 2017
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    • Hi RK, I do shred the mozzarella and the brand I generally use is Galbani. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 21, 2017
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  • Easy and delicious. Made it twice. Once with regular and once with gluten free pasta. Comments were ‘deliciously rich and authentic” and ‘can I get the recipe’ so this one is definitely a keeper. Thanks!
    Joan S

    • — Joan Shuler on April 14, 2017
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  • Yum! I made this, using the oven ready lasagna and the extra mozzarella. I also added a layer of fresh spinach, and 1 lb. ground meat seasoned with salt, pepper, Italian seasonings and fennel seed. I’m not sure how much “2 large handfuls” of basil is. I used 3 (2/3 oz.) packages of basil, and it turned out great. This is definitely a keeper!

    • — Deb on April 13, 2017
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  • This was very good; thanks for sharing the recipe. I made three pans of it for friends who had just lost their husband/dad. Wanted a recipe that was easy but delicious and would be easy to feed an unknown number of gathering family. The son and daughter-in-law are also both professional chefs – so yes, it needed to be good. I made my own creme fraiche as the store bought was crazily expensive. That was easy.. Added Italian sausage to the sauce and layered whole baby spinach leaves and raw grated carrots between each layer. I also used more cheese – probably over 2 cups of mozzarella /pan. Took almost an hour to bake since it was cooled before time and each was a pretty big pan with the veggies in there. The chefs’ text back to me? “Amazing!” So thanks again for sharing this!

    • — Sue S on April 12, 2017
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  • Dear Jenn, the lasagna – amazing! This review is LONG overdue. You have changed my life in the kitchen over the past year. You are a household name here, my family knows when something is delicious its your recipe. You have taken the guess work out of if dinner is going to turn out or not – if its your recipe I know its going to turn out perfectly. Your website, notes, how you personally answer questions, “pair with”, all of it, A+, you are very talented. As a busy mom of 3, I thank you for making life a little easier with wonderful food.

    • So glad you enjoyed the lasagna and the recipes in general, thanks for the kind words!

      • — Jenn on April 11, 2017
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  • Am eating a slice right now! Delicious! Tastes “elegant” which I’ve never said about lasagne! I did add 6 ounces of spinach and some Italian sausage to one layer because I had it on hand. Will definitely make again…..I’m so enjoying each bite!

    • — Elaine on April 9, 2017
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  • Can you assemble a day in advance and cook the following day? I like to have everything ready when I have guests for dinner. Absolutely love this lasagna, my husband does not like lasagna but requested this for our guests. Thank you for all of your great recipes.

    • — Betty Mosley on April 8, 2017
    • Reply
    • Yes Betty, I think that will work. Glad you enjoy the recipes!

      • — Jenn on April 8, 2017
      • Reply
  • Hello,

    Recently discovered your site & couldn’t love it more; your recipes seamlessly blend the needs of a “foodie” sensibility with the realities of being a busy mom who doesn’t have time to spend all day in the kitchen (sigh)… also, I love how you often devise recipes for parents who are adventurous eaters, who happen to have children who aren’t necessarily that way (yet!) 🙂

    Onto my question: I was thinking of making this for Passover (we’re not concerned about dairy at the table 🙂 ) – it looks perfect because my kids, like yours, are not big ricotta fans… do you think matzoh would work in place of the noodles, or will it be too dry? I’m also (half-)pondering how I might work spinach into it (“half” because the spinach would certainly be the dealbreaker w/ the kids anyway) – most spinach lasagna recipes have you mix the spinach into the ricotta – is there any way to do it here without the ricotta?

    Thank you!!!
    Rosa

    • — Rosa L. on April 8, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Rosa, so glad you’re enjoying the recipes! Yes, I think you could add spinach to this. I would just add it as a layer. Regarding the matzo, I really don’t know- I suspect it would get really mushy (so do it at your own risk :). If do you try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on April 10, 2017
      • Reply
  • I made this last night. It was wonderful . The sauce is lovely . I will add a bit more mozzarella next time but thank you again for a wonderful recipe.

    • — LeeAnn on April 6, 2017
    • Reply
  • Can I substitute homemade yogurt for the creme fraiche?

    • — Pam on April 2, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Pam, I’ve never tried this with yogurt so I can’t say for sure. If you try it that way, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on April 2, 2017
      • Reply
  • A+ recipe. This lasagna is so delicious that I actually brushed my teeth right after dinner in order to prevent me from “sampling” it continuously!

    I pureed the sauce with a hand blender because I was afraid one of my sons and/or his friend would dislike tomato chunks in it. Since I didn’t have fresh basil, I used dried; and I also used no-boil noodles. I will definitely be making this again!

    • — Marie-Jeanne on March 28, 2017
    • Reply
    • Thanks for the hand blender idea. It made it much easier.

      • — Stacy on July 11, 2017
      • Reply
  • This was so scrumptious! Over the course of 3 days, I nearly ate the whole pan myself. I believe my son got one piece, but unfortunately for him, he was a little slow.

  • I lost my go to lasagne recipe and this recipe has taken its place. So delicious. Just curious if anyone has tried freezing it and if so, how did that work out? Thanks.

    • — Barbara Dowtin on March 24, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, Glad you like it! And, yes, this can be frozen (but I’ll let any readers weigh in on whether or not they have frozen it b/c I have not).

      • — Jenn on March 25, 2017
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  • This lasagna was a mouthful of cheesy deliciousness. When the dish was brought out of the oven, it was picture perfect. I did use more cheese, garlic and basil, but the flavors blended. I also used sour cream, as after 2 stores not finding creme fraiche, I moved on. The flavor in the sauce was great but next time I will make my own creme fraiche. This is sooooo good, I want to make it again this weekend!

    • — Pam Schmidt on March 23, 2017
    • Reply
  • Made it last night! Very light and not too filling. However I made it in a stoneware pan and it needed more cook time. Also I think I will let it sit longer because it was a little runny. But even my carnivore husband liked it❤

    • — Judi on March 23, 2017
    • Reply
  • This was absolutely delicious. My entire family loved it and said it was a “keeper”. I love the simplicity of the recipe and ingredients (especially since I used the no boil lasagna noodles). I used 16 oz of mozzarella cheese since I didn’t want to waste any 🙂 but other than that and the noodles, I didn’t change a thing. One question, would you use diced or crushed tomatoes instead of the whole tomatoes to simplify the recipe even more or would that ruin the consistency of the sauce somehow?

    • — Adriene on March 21, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Adriene, Glad you enjoyed it as much as we did! I think you could definitely get away with using diced tomatoes — or 1 can diced, 1 can crushed — but I’d avoid using all crushed.

      • — Jenn on March 21, 2017
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    Can I use two, 28-oz. cans of crushed tomatoes instead of whole ones / breaking them up? Or could that throw off the consistency and make it too soupy (even after resting)?

    Thank you!

    • — Kelly on March 21, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Kelly, I would use diced tomatoes or 1 can diced, 1 can crushed. Please let me know how it turns out if you try it that way.

      • — Jenn on March 21, 2017
      • Reply
  • Made this tonight and paired it with the focaccia and a green salad. This was hands down our favorite lasagna recipe (and that it was by far the easiest to make is just a bonus!). Probably added a little more cheese and next time, I will blend the tomato before adding the creme fraiche… This and the focaccia were HUGE hits. Definitely make this recipe.

    • — Sarah Saunders on March 19, 2017
    • Reply
  • I made this lasagna and it was delicious. I’m one to make it with bechamel sauce and just regular pasta. However after trying this one I dont think I’m going back. The sauce was delicious and I could not taste the difference between regular pasta and the no boil pasta.

    • — Yudelka on March 19, 2017
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen,

    Loving the new ” pair with” button! Just to clarify, the fresh pasta doesn’t need to be boiled first before assembly, right?

    • — Lu on March 19, 2017
    • Reply
    • So glad, Lu! And yes that’s right – the pasta does not need to be boiled first.

      • — Jenn on March 19, 2017
      • Reply
  • Absolutely delicious and so easy to make. I would mix in a bag of fresh spinach once the sauce is prepared and if you want to take it up a notch, maybe add a few links of ground sausage that’s already been sauteed. The recipe was great as is but I always look for ways to get a few more veggies and some more protein into my meals.

    • — Alicia Friedman on March 18, 2017
    • Reply
  • Jen, really adding mushrooms to this recipe. Do I cook them first or put in raw? Thanks. Susan

    • — Susan on March 17, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, I’d definitely cook them first. Please come back and lmk how it turns out :).

      • — Jenn on March 18, 2017
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      • I cooked the mushrooms in butter and also thawed some frozen spinach and added both in as a layer. I am not sure about the mushrooms, perhaps they should have been cooked longer. Not sure that I would use them again but definitely the spinach. The sauce is delicious.

        • — Susan on March 18, 2017
        • Reply
        • All good to know– thanks for the follow up and glad you enjoyed it!

          • — Jenn on March 19, 2017
          • Reply
  • I just made this tonight and it’s fabulous. It’s my first lasagna–and using the no boil noodles made it all so easy. What do you think about adding mushrooms or spinach?

    • Hi Sarah, In the book Julia suggests adding cooked spinach, broccoli rabe, mushrooms, or cubes of butternut squash (or a combination of vegetables) to each layer for a more substantial vegetarian lasagna. Would love to know how it turns out if you try it that way!

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2017
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn,
        I made this lasagna last night and I could not wait for lunchtime to eat the leftovers! Delish! I made two small additions…1/4 cup of white wine to the sauce while simmering and I sliced some sweet Italian chicken sausage (fully cooked) into very small pieces and added it after the sauce cooled…so easy and my family absolutely loved it!

        • — Rhonda Howell on March 17, 2017
        • Reply
      • I made this, adding a combination of cooked mushrooms, frozen spinach and broccoli to each layer. Was absolutely delicious!

        • — Megan on November 7, 2017
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!

    I make my own meat based sauce and freeze it in serving sizes. Can I just thaw it and add the creme fraiche rather than make new sauce?

    I love receiving your e-mails. Any recipe I’ve tried has worked well. I kind of regard you as my personal recipe reviewer and tester, which is a huge time saver for me!

    Thank you!

    • — Paddy on March 16, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Paddy, So glad you’re enjoying the newsletter! To answer your question, lasagna can be either soupy or dry without the exact right amount of sauce, and unfortunately I don’t know how much to tell you to use. I’d probably play it safe and make the sauce from scratch, just to be sure the lasagna is the right consistency and the noodles cook properly. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2017
      • Reply
  • Could we add meat to this? (i.e. turkey)

    • — PG on March 16, 2017
    • Reply
    • Yes, you’d brown it in the oil with the garlic and then add the tomatoes; then just continue as directed.

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2017
      • Reply
      • awesome! Thank you! 🙂

        • — PG on March 16, 2017
        • Reply
  • I LOVE this lasagna – her book is fabulous, and I’ve made the lasagna 3x. You *have* to make the pasta! It makes the dish and is really a game-changer. It’s very easy, and I actually prefer it hand-rolled. Try it!

    • — Sally on March 16, 2017
    • Reply
  • Question: I live 100 miles from a good grocery store – is there an okay sub for creme frache?? Love your recipes!

    • — Sandy Kuykendall on March 16, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandy, I think you could get away with sour cream or you could try making your own creme fraiche – it’s easy.

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2017
      • Reply
      • why about using crema mexicana, or the yogurt-based product kefir, which looks like sour cream dip? I’ve used both in creamy soups, tacos, chicken tikka, but they are a bit more tart than creme fraiche…

        • — peggy on March 16, 2017
        • Reply
        • I’ve tried sour cream (worked well) but can’t say for sure about the others. If you try it, please report back :).

          • — Jenn on March 16, 2017
          • Reply
  • Ok, finally a lasagna recipe that looks easy! As mentioned by others, I don’t like ricotta in lasagna, so definitely trying this! Would I need to make any adjustments if I were to add, say 1/2 Ib ground beef? Thanks!

    • — Yvonne on March 16, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Yvonne, In the book Julia suggests browning 8 oz each ground beef and sweet Italian sausage meat in the oil with the garlic and then add the tomatoes. Then just continue as directed.

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2017
      • Reply
  • Sounds delicious and simple to make! From your recipes, which sides/soup/salad would you choose? I’m hosting a dinner for four and think this would be great – I’m a newbie for cooking and find all your recipes wonderful!

    • — Sandy on March 16, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandy, If you click on the “pair with” tab above (next to print), I’ve added some suggestions. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2017
      • Reply
  • If you were to add meat (ground turkey or beef or mixed), when would be the best time?

    • — George on March 16, 2017
    • Reply
    • Hi George, Julia actually gives instructions for a meat lasagna in the book. She says to brown 8 oz each ground beef and sweet Italian sausage meat in the oil with the garlic and then add the tomatoes. Continue as directed. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2017
      • Reply
      • Answers my question perfectly! Thanks.
        Can’t wait to make.

        • — Jane on March 16, 2017
        • Reply
  • This cheat is absolutely brilliant! Thank you for this. I detest lasagna with ricotta (usually people sub with cottage cheese), and neither the ricotta or cottage cheese is drained. My preference is to make a beschamel but can be another time consuming step. Therefore mixing in the creme fraiche is such a time saver, and makes for a lovely unctuous sauce. I love this recipe but personally prefer to use canned San Marzano tomatoes. Thanks again.

    • — Deni on March 15, 2017
    • Reply
  • Trying this this week! I’ve used sour cream in place of Ricotta or Bechamel for years, but I’ve never mixed it into the tomato sauce. Excited to try homemade noodles too–I usually use no boil.

    • — Bekki on March 15, 2017
    • Reply

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