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Pumpkin Lasagna Recipe: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Alternative

This delicious Pumpkin Lasagna is an easy and cheesy vegetarian alternative to your classic lasagna. Layers of perfectly spiced pumpkin, spinach, and a smooth creamy cheese sauce, make this a very simple and satisfying family dinner that will transform the way you think about lasagna!

With the holidays around the corner, we will definitely be making our slow cooker turkey breast but I love that I have this vegetarian option for those who don’t eat meat. It is a fantastic way to make sure you’re providing all of your guests a filling and comforting holiday meal.

stacked layer of pumpkin lasagna on a plate

Lasagna is a fall comfort dish that can be made so many different ways. This pumpkin lasagna is just one! Recreating the classic as a healthier meatless version is just one of the amazing things about this meal. That and the golden brown cheese topping!

Pumpkin lasagna is easier than you might think. It is a convenient make a-ahead dish but the option to use no-cook noodles takes the convenience level up a notch!

layered lasagna on a plate
Layers upon layers of different flavors and textures is exactly what you want in any lasagna. Melted cheeses, a wonderful sauce, pureed pumpkin, seasoned to your liking, really is what comfort food is about.

Whether you are making for a holiday gathering or an easy weeknight dinner with your family, this will satisfy the non-meat eaters and meat-eaters alike.

Serve this delicious dish if you’ve got a vegetarian at your table, or even if you don’t. A great idea for Meatless Monday!

I don’t know many people who don’t love lasagna and this dish is healthy, flavorful and so filling! Make two and freeze one for later!

Ingredients for Pumpkin Lasagna

Ingredients

With the shortage of Libby’s canned pumpkin this year, in the end, I gave up trying to find it. I am secretly happy about it because I ended up making mine from scratch in the Instant Pot and it was AMAZING!

Yes, canned pumpkin has an element of convenience, but there is nothing better than fresh homemade pumpkin puree. There really is a difference!

It took 12 minutes in the pressure cooker then I let it drain and then pureed it.  Let’s just say it tasted so good that I won’t ever be buying it in a can again.

Other added conveniences are the no cook lasagna. Just take them out of the box and place them as you would (without burning your fingers on boiled noodles!) normally, and the sauce is what helps them cook to soft noodles while baking.

A mornay sauce is a French term for a roux-based sauce made from flour, butter and milk which you then add cheese too. Mozzarella and parmesan are a good mix of cheeses for a rich lasagna.

This cheese sauce may sound fancy, but it is very simple to make.

Add bagged or frozen spinach and pre-shredded mozzarella to your list of easy peasy and you’re well on your way to your new favorite way of making lasagna.

How to make it

  • Preheat your oven.
  • On the stove, add olive oil to a hot skillet. Add the onion, stir and saute. Add the spinach, salt, and pepper. If using frozen spinach make sure it is thawed and drained of any excess water. Continue to stir.
  • Once all the water has evaporated, remove the skillet from the burner and set aside.
  • Add pumpkin puree to a bowl. Add heavy cream and pumpkin pie spice. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour, whisking continuously. Slowly add the milk and increase the heat. Continue to stir until sauce thickens.
  • Once the sauce thickens add mozzarella cheese. Continue stirring until the cheese has melted and sauce is creamy. Turn down the burner to keep warm while you begin to assemble the lasagna.

How to assemble

  • In a 9 x 13 baking dish, take a bit of the pumpkin mixture and coat the bottom of the dish. This will help prevent the noodles from sticking to the dish.
  • Take 3 no-boil noodles and cover the bottom of the dish, right on top of that thin layer of the pumpkin mixture.
  • Then take more of the pumpkin mixture and spread it evenly over the noodles. Then take some of the spinach and dot it over the top of the pumpkin. Last, add half of the cheese sauce and spread it out evenly.
  • Continue adding layers in this order two more times. When adding the last layer of noodles, press firmly into the layers below. Add the last layer of pumpkin, followed by the rest of the cheese sauce and top with a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
serving from the lasagna pan
Serve after Baking!

Baking Meatless Lasagna

  • Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake until the top is golden brown, the cheese is bubbling and there is an exquisite aroma permeating through the kitchen.
  • Letting it cool before cutting will help keep your pieces from falling apart when serving. However, if you’re as excited to eat this as I usually am, then go right ahead and serve immediately.

Pro Tip: Make this ahead and reheat in the oven for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. If cooking from frozen, there will be a longer cook time.

Common Questions with this Fall Lasagna

Can I use other vegetables other than spinach? Absolutely. Other veggies that pair nicely with the pumpkin are things like eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, kale, butternut squash, and swiss chard.

I don’t have pumpkin pie spice what can I use? You can make your own using this recipe for homemade pumpkin pie spice. But if you don’t have all of the ingredients, you could use ¼ teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.

My family would love this if it had meat in it is there a way to have it with meat? Sure! You can add any meat you like to the pumpkin lasagna. I’ve made it with Italian sausage but it would also work with shredded rotisserie chicken too. You can add it in between each noodle layer without any other changes! 

More Food For Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes

stack layer of vegetarian lasagna

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Yield: 9

Pumpkin Lasagna : Vegetarian Thanksgiving Option

tray of pumpkin lasagna

Lasagna with all of the flavors of fall with pumpkin and a subtle hint of nutmeg. Great for thanksgiving option for vegetarians.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

Spinach Layer

  • 1 Teaspoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Onion, Minced
  • 10 ounce bag Frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Pumpkin Layer

  • 4 Cups Pumpkin Puree
  • .75 cups Heavy Cream
  • 1 Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice

Moray Sauce (Cheese Sauce)

  • 2 tablespoons All purpose Flour
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Cup Milk (whole or 2 %)
  • 1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg

Other Ingredients

  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
  • 1 box No Boil Lasagna noodles (12 noodles)
  • Parsley- optional for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat Oven to 400°
  2. Turn on a burner to medium-high, place a small skillet and when hot add the olive oil. After 1 minute add the onion and stir and saute for 2 minutes. Then add the defrosted and drained spinach, salt and pepper. Stir and saute for 5 minutes until all water has evaporated. Remove pan from the burner and set aside.
  3. Into a bowl add the pumpkin puree, .75 cup of heavy cream and the pumpkin pie spice. Stir until completely blended. Set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan melt the butter on medium high heat. Once completely melted add the flour and whisk continuously for 2 minutes. Then slowly add the milk while whisking. Increase the heat to high and continue to stir until milk sauce begins to thicken. Once it has thickened (about 5-7 minutes, you'll add the cup of mozzarella cheese and the nutmeg. Keep stirring until the cheese has melted and the sauce is creamy. (About 3 minutes.) Turn the burner to low and keep warm while you begin the assembly of the lasagna.
  5. Into a 9 X 13 baking dish take 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture and put it on the bottom. Spread it out. Then take 3 no-boil noodles and cover the bottom of the baking dish.
  6. On top of the noodles, take 1/4 of the pumpkin mixture and spread it out evenly over the noodles. Then take 1/3 of the spinach and dot it over the top of the pumpkin. Finally, add 1/2 of the cheese sauce and spread it evenly.
  7. Add 3 more noodles, pressing them firmly into the layers below. Add another 1/4 of the pumpkin, 1/3 of the spinach then 1/2 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  8. Add 3 more noodles, pressing firmly into the layers below, followed by 1/4 of the pumpkin, the rest of the spinach and 1/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese.
  9. Add the last 3 noodles, followed by the rest of the pumpkin mixture then the rest of the cheese sauce. Finally, top with the parmesan cheese.
  10. Bake covered with foil for 25 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.
  11. You can serve this immediately, but I find its easier to cut if you let it cool for 30 minutes. You can make this the day ahead and reheat it covered for about 25 minutes at 400° until its heated throughout. Sprinkle with parsley for garnish if desired.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 291Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 61mgSodium: 446mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 12g

This recipe was calculated using the exact brands and measurements I used to make this recipe. If you are following a strict diet please note changing anything will cause the nutritional info to change. Please calculate your own nutritional information if you want it exact to what you make and use my calculations as a guide only.

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glass bowl with homemade pumpkin puree
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CN

Tuesday 17th of November 2020

This is definitely of PINtrest !

Jeff

Thursday 15th of October 2020

A delicious alternative to turkey for the Thanksgiving feast.

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