There’s nothing quite like a home-cooked lasagna to bring people together. It’s a crowd-pleasing classic that stands the test of time, and for good reason. But what if I told you that you can enjoy all the deliciousness of lasagna without the heavy white sauce? Yes, my friends, it is possible. I’m thrilled to share with you my recipe for a no white-sauce lasagna that’s sure to become a new favorite in your household.
Now, some purists might balk at the idea of lasagna without white sauce, but hear me out. This recipe packs in plenty of flavor and richness without relying on a heavy béchamel sauce. Instead, we use a combination of perfectly seasoned meat sauce and creme fraiche for creaminess. Trust me, once you taste it, you won’t even miss the white sauce.
This no white-sauce lasagna recipe is perfect for those who want to nix dairy or gluten from their diet, but it’s also just downright delicious. The beauty of lasagna is that it’s infinitely customizable, so feel free to get creative with this recipe! Make it vegetarian by swapping out the meat for veggies. Add some heat with red pepper flakes or swap out the pasta noodles for something like zucchini or sweet potato.
So let’s get cooking! Whether you’re feeding a crowd or just craving some cheesy goodness, this no white-sauce lasagna is sure to deliver.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Imagine sinking your fork into a slice of hearty and delicious lasagna, with rich and bold flavors bursting in your mouth. Sounds heavenly, right? Well, what if I told you that you can savor this classic Italian dish without the classic bechamel or tomato sauce?
This recipe is for those who want to stray away from the traditional white or red lasagna sauce but still want to enjoy that savory food experience. This “No White-Sauce Lasagna” is the answer for all of us who are craving something new, something different, and something without any cheese.
What makes this lasagna stand out is its perfect balance of chunky meaty sauce and sweet and tangy tomatoes. The flavors meld together so well that you won’t even think about white sauce when you try it.
Plus, those who are health-conscious will appreciate the vegetable lasagna option, packed with fresh veggies like spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, and onions. The combination is a nutrient-filled power meal that will undoubtedly satisfy your cravings.
But what really sets this recipe apart is its versatility. If you’re not a fan of meat dishes or a vegetarian, then there is a cheeseless lasagne variation option for you to try. Or perhaps you’re in the mood for a creamy twist? Then add some creamy chicken to make a rich and satisfying meal.
Last but not least, this lasagna recipe is easy to follow with accessible ingredients that you might have in your pantry already at home. So why wait to try something new? Shake things up with this “No White-Sauce Lasagna” dinner tonight.
- 4 cups chopped tomatoes or canned tomatoes
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon of dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 12 ounces of minced beef.
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup of dry red wine (optional, but adds a lot of flavour!)
- 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
1 jar of marinara sauce (or tomato sauce)
- You can use a homemade tomato sauce, but it will add steps to the recipe. For any convenience, store-bought tomato sauce will surely be useful.
- If you want to create a vegetable lasagna recipe, substitute this with the same quantity of sliced vegetables. Alternatively, for white lasagna, use béchamel or cream cheese sauces.
12 lasagna noodles (no-boil noodles work well too!)
- You can use any form of your favourite pasta
- Lasagne noodles are traditional, but you can use spaghetti if that is what you have at hand
5 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (use instead white sauce if creating a lasagna without tomato sauce)
- If making vegetable lasagna or another dish without red sauce, you can skip the mozzarella cheese.
1 cup of whole milk ricotta cheese
For creamy chicken lasagna: cooked diced chicken and béchamel (white) sauce.
It takes a few ingredients to make the best lasagna, but the ease in preparing such a tasty layered noodle dish is beyond measure. With some fresh tomatoes in season, they are incredible in this recipe compared to other canned tomatoes. You will definitely score some praises as you serve this hearty and delectable meat sauce red or white lasagna on your table.
The Recipe How-To
Step 1: Prepare the Meat Sauce
To begin, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add finely chopped garlic cloves and one finely chopped shallot to the hot oil and sauté for about 3 minutes until fragrant. Then, add 12 ounces of minced beef and cook for one minute. Once the meat is browned, stir in around 1 2/3 cups (400 grams) of jarred marinara sauce, one can of drained and chopped tomatoes, a pinch of salt, pepper to taste and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir all ingredients until evenly combined.
Next, add three dried bay leaves, a teaspoonful each of dried oregano and thyme, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce into the mix. Bring to a low boil then lower heat to medium-low temperature. Let it simmer with lid on for around 45 minutes to an hour or until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally.
Step 2: Prepare the White Bechamel Sauce
While waiting for the meat sauce to simmer, make a béchamel sauce by melting 5 tablespoons butter in a separate saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, gradually stir in over 1 liter of milk, whisking continuously until smooth. Continue cooking while whisking frequently, for about 10 to 15 minutes or until it thickens well.
Add grated cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese and creme fraiche into the thickened mixture along with salt and pepper to taste. Keep whisking until all the cheese melts creating a smooth white sauce.
Step 3: Preparing Lasagna Noodles
Now it’s time to prepare the lasagna noodles according to package instructions by boiling them with some added salt for flavor until they’re al dente.
Drain out any excess water in a colander before rinsing them lightly with cool tap water to stop further cooking. Either layer them immediately or slightly coat them with some olive oil if preparing beforehand as this will keep them moist and allow easy handling.
Step 4: Assemble your Lasagna Layers
Start by preheating your oven to a temperature range between 350°F – 375°F (175°C -190°C) before assembling your lasagna layers.
Begin layering using either a baking dish or rectangular casserole dish at least 2 inches deep. Grease the inside walls and bottom with some olive oil so that the final product doesn’t stick.
Begin by spreading out around one third portion of white bechamel sauce on top of each noodle sheet followed by one third portion shredded mozzarella cheese.
Next place another layer of noodles ^1 covering the previous layer evenly then change direction on top by adding around half meat sauce mixing properly ahead-of-time.
Substitutions and Variations
Variety is the spice of life, they say. So if you’re tired of the same old lasagna recipe, why not mix things up a bit with some substitutions and variations?
Firstly, for those who prefer a meatless option or are vegetarian, try making a veggie lasagna. Simply replace the minced beef with slices of eggplant or squash and add some sauteed mushrooms and bell peppers for flavor.
On the other hand, if you’re craving something rich and creamy, try making a chicken lasagna with a smooth béchamel sauce. It’ll be sure to satisfy your comfort food cravings.
If you’re allergic to or just don’t like cheese, try making a cheeseless lasagna. You can substitute the cheese with extra layers of fresh vegetables or even tofu for added protein.
For those who prefer a lighter option, try making an Italian-style vegetable lasagna with fresh tomatoes instead of tomato sauce. This alternative is perfect for those who want to indulge in tasty food without the guilt.
Lastly, why not try combining elements from different styles of lasagna? For example, make a white sauce veggie lasagna or a red sauce chicken lasagne – there’s no limit to what you can create.
Whether you’re looking for something classic and cheesy or something more spinach-y and seasoned with garlic cloves- there’s always a way to make the recipe work for you. The possibilities are endless -and delicious!
Serving and Pairing
Now that your no white-sauce lasagna is ready, the next step is to figure out how to serve it. This hearty dish is perfect for family dinners, potlucks, and even dinner parties. When serving, you can cut the lasagna into square or rectangular pieces depending on your preference. I recommend allowing it to sit for a few minutes before slicing so that the pieces hold up well.
As for pairing, any red wine with a full-bodied flavor will match perfectly with this delicious dish. The acidic taste of the tomato sauce pairs well with wines like Chianti, Merlot, and Malbec. For those who don’t drink alcohol, you can pair it with some sparkling water or a fruity soda.
When it comes to sides, a simple salad of mixed greens and cherry tomatoes with balsamic vinaigrette dressing complements the flavors of this recipe perfectly. Additionally, garlic bread or cheesy garlic knots also work well as sides to add more substance and texture to your meal.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try pairing your no white-sauce lasagna with other Italian specialties like bruschetta or antipasto platter consisting of cheese, cured meat slices, grilled veggies, and olives.
Remember that you can always adjust the recipe according to your preferences when it comes to serving and pairing. As long as you stick to the basic cooking principles and use fresh ingredients, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your meal to its fullest potential.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Now, let’s talk about how to make this lasagna recipe ahead of time and store it properly. I always recommend making this dish a day or two before serving. After all, the flavors meld together beautifully and develop into something heavenly after being in the fridge for a little while.
To make ahead: Once you’ve assembled your lasagna, cover it with aluminum foil and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking. You can also freeze the dish at this point, but I recommend only doing so if absolutely necessary as the texture and flavor may be slightly altered.
To store: Any leftover lasagna should be placed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. If you have more leftovers than you can consume in that time frame, then freeze them instead for later.
Reheating: When reheating the lasagna, place it in a preheated 350°F oven for about 25-30 minutes or until heated through. Alternatively, you could reheat individual portions in the microwave by covering them with a damp paper towel and microwaving on high for 1-2 minutes.
Just keep in mind that reheating cheese-heavy dishes like this one can sometimes affect the texture so don’t be surprised if the mozzarella isn’t as stretchy as it once was. But don’t worry! The flavors will still be just as amazing as they were before.
Tips for Perfect Results
When preparing this no white-sauce lasagna recipe, it’s important to keep in mind a few tips for a perfect outcome. Here are some of my recommendations:
First, when making the meat sauce, let it cook low and slow for at least an hour. This allows the flavors to meld together and intensify for a richer, more savory sauce.
Second, don’t be afraid to add in extra spices like dried oregano, thyme, or bay leaves to enhance the taste. These herbs will also make your kitchen smell like a true Italian kitchen.
Third, always use fresh tomatoes over canned chopped tomatoes as they will add a natural sweetness to the dish.
Fourth, do not overboil the lasagna noodles. Cook them until they are al dente to ensure that they don’t become mushy when baked in the oven.
Fifth, let the lasagna rest for at least 10-15 minutes after taking it out of the oven before serving. This allows the cheese to settle and the flavors to blend together even further.
And last but not least, feel free to experiment with different variations! Whether you want to make it chicken, vegetable or cheeseless, there are many ways to make this no white-sauce lasagna recipe unique and personalized.
Now that you’ve learned how to make this delicious, no white-sauce lasagna or lasagne, I bet you have some questions. Fear not! In this section, I will answer some of the most common inquiries about this recipe. Whether you’re wondering about substitutions, storage, or serving size, I’ve got you covered. So read on and let’s get those questions answered.
What can I use instead of white sauce in lasagna?
By replacing the traditional white sauce with yogurt-based sauce, we can create a dish that’s not only healthier but also takes less time to make. This versatile sauce can be used as a dip or a salad dressing, making it a must-have in every home chef’s recipe arsenal.
What can I use instead of white sauce?
To make a creamy sauce, start by whisking together 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/4 cup of milk in a small bowl. Once mixed, add this mixture to a pot of warming milk and stir until there are no lumps. It’s important to keep stirring for 3 to 4 minutes to prevent the sauce from burning. Repeat until the sauce becomes smooth and perfect for your dish.
Is Bechamel sauce necessary for lasagna?
When it comes to lasagna, there’s no escaping the fact that you need both a béchamel and a tomato-based marinara sauce. Unless, of course, you’re willing to make a meat ragú that’s generously infused with milk or cream. Those are the only options that will do justice to this beloved Italian dish.
What can I use instead of tomato sauce in lasagna?
In this recipe article, we’ll be discussing various options to use as a tomato substitute in recipes. These options include tomato paste, canned stewed tomatoes, canned diced tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, tomato soup, ketchup, as well as tomato-free substitutes such as pureed eggplant and pureed bell peppers. Each of these options can be used depending on the recipe requirements and personal preferences. So let’s dive in and explore more about these tomato alternatives!
So, after all the information I’ve shared about this no white-sauce lasagne recipe, are you ready to give it a try? Trust me; it’s worth it! This recipe is perfect for so many reasons.
You can save time by skipping the white sauce without compromising on taste or texture. You can adjust the meat content and even substitute with something like chicken to make it fit your dietary needs. The variations are truly endless; you could even create a vegetarian version without cheese!
Not only will you love the rich, deep flavors of the meat sauce and tomato sauce combination, but you’ll also feel great serving it to your guests. This dish is perfect for any dinner party or get-together and pairs well with a variety of side dishes and drinks.
Plus, with my tips for making ahead, storing, and reheating, you can enjoy this lasagne for days to come without worrying about taste or quality.
So go ahead and give this no white-sauce lasagne recipe a try today! Let your taste buds dance with the bold flavors of Italian spices, savory meats, tomatoes, and perfectly melted cheeses – all in one bite. Trust me; your guests will be begging you for more!
No White-Sauce Lasagna/Lasagne Recipe
- 350 g minced beef
- 50 -75 ml Worcestershire sauce
- 150 -250 ml red wine
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- 454 g canned chopped tomatoes
- 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 125 g sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- lasagna sheet
- 125 ml creme fraiche
- 75 g parmesan cheese, grated
- 50 g cheddar cheese, grated
- black pepper
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan.
- Add the chopped shallots and crushed garlic, heat until the shallot is soft.
- Add the minced meat, stir thoroughly.
- Add the milk to the meat, cook the meat until it is brown all over.
- Add all the tomatoes and sugar, stir well.
- Add the herbs.
- Add some of the red wine and worcestershire sauce, stir.
- Add the mushrooms (if using), stir.
- Simmer on a low heat and let the liquid reduce.
- When the liquid has reduced add more worcestershire sauce and red wine. Simmer.
- Repeat this stirring, adding liquid, simmering and reduction process for at least two hours. The meat should end up very glossy and gloopy. It almost looks like it is one large blob rather than minced meat.
- Meanwhile, mix the grated parmesan and pepper into the creme fraiche, leave aside.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- When the meat is ready add a thin layer to cover the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Add lasagne sheets, then a thicker layer of meat. Repeat - I always end up with three layers of lasagne sheets.
- On the final layer of lasgne sheets spread the creme fraiche mixture.
- Cover the creme fraiche mixture with the grated cheddar.
- Bake in the oven until golden (30-45 minutes).
Your Own Notes
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Anna is a culinary expert who specializes in grilling delicious BBQ dishes. She also enjoys sharing her recipes and experiences with her foodie community on her blog. She’s the total package for any backyard barbecue!