This vegetarian butternut squash lasagna recipe is easy, hearty, and full of fall flavors! It's made with canned butternut squash and no-boil lasagna noodles so prep is much quicker than a typical lasagna recipe. You can make it the day before then bake it, or cook it up and pop it in the freezer it for a snow day!
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In the fall, I love butternut squash in everything and so why not in lasagna? (Let me think about how to incorporate it into a breakfast dish and get back to you. I'm sure I can do it. Just give me a minute.)
The one thing that can be annoying about making recipes with butternut squash is the peeling and cutting it up. It can be awkward and tedious. But fear not, dear friends. I have made things so much easier for you.
We're going to use time-saving ingredients like canned butternut squash purée and some no-boil noodles for this lasagna recipe because we have no time for muss and fuss, we just want cheesy lasagna and we want it now!
Looking for another take on a vegetarian lasagna recipe? Try my eggplant lasagna which uses roasted eggplant instead of noodles, or zucchini parmesan, which is gluten free and has layers of zucchini, cheese, and tomato sauce.
Ingredients you'll need
You only need 10 ingredients to make this easy butternut squash lasagna recipe, many of them are pantry staples!
- Canned butternut squash: Yes, I said it! Yes, they make it! Such a time-saver! I adapted this lasagna recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, she had us roasting the butternut squash first and then putting it in the food processor. I've made it that way a few times until, lo and behold, I was walking down the aisle in the grocery store and saw canned butternut squash purée. This makes it so easy that you really could make this lasagna on a weeknight.
- Oven ready lasagna noodles: (Also called no-boil noodles) Another easy peasy, time-saving trick! No boiling and wrangling with hot noodles.
- Sage: Butternut squash and sage go hand in hand. We're using it to flavor the bechamel sauce and frying some to put on top for prettiness and a little aromatic crunch.
- Fontina cheese: I LOVE to use fontina cheese in baked pasta dishes and if you haven't used it before, you're going to love it, too. It melts well and has a slightly nutty quality to it. Use it in combo with mozzarella whenever you can and enjoy!
- Whole-milk mozzarella cheese: Don't use the skim mozzarella, please! We need the fat to add to the gooey meltiness. This is lasagna, after all...
- Parmesan cheese: You know I want you to use that real parmigiano reggiano from Italy. It's worth the price and makes all the difference! This will go on top and get nice and brown and crispy!
- Whole milk, flour, butter, kosher salt: For the béchamel sauce.
How to make butternut squash lasagna
Step 1: Season the butternut squash and grate the cheeses
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9" x 13" baking dish.
Empty the two cans of butternut squash into a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Grate all the cheeses. Combine the mozzarella and fontina, keeping the parmesan separate. (You know I want you to use the real parmigiano reggiano, kids. It's just so much better...)
Step 2: Make the sage béchamel sauce
Using a good chef's knife, finely chop the sage. I love my Global knife. They were Anthony Bourdain's favorite, so what could be better than that?
Now let's make the bechamel sauce. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and mix together for about one minute.
Gradually whisk in the milk so no lumps remain. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, whisk in the nutmeg and sage, season with salt and pepper.
Step 3: Assemble the butternut squash lasagna
Add ¾ cup of the bechamel sauce to the bottom of the baking dish. Place three of the no-boil noodles on top of the sauce.
I got this Juliska Berry and Thread baking dish as a wedding present and it's one of my favorites. It's classic but not too conservative.
Spread ⅓ of the butternut squash on top of the noodles. This is easy to do with an offset spatula like this one from OXO.
Top the butternut squash layer with ½ cup of the mozzarella/fontina cheese mixture.
Drizzle with ½ cup of bechamel sauce.
Now repeat the layers repeat in this way:
- 3 noodles
- next ⅓ butternut squash puree
- ½ cup bechamel
- ½ cup mozz/fontina cheese
- 3 noodles
- last ⅓ of butternut squash
- ½ cup bechamel
- ½ cup mozz/fontina cheese
- 3 noodles
- remaining bechamel sauce
- Remaining mozz/fontina cheese
It should look like this!
Step 4: Bake!
Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes until cheese is melted and liquids are bubbling.
Remove the foil and top with the parmesan cheese. Bake for another 15-20 minutes until the cheese is golden brown on top.
Allow to stand about 15 minutes, garnish with fried sage leaves and serve.
Step 5: Fry the sage leaves
While the lasagna bakes, fry the sage leaves. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add sage leaves one at a time until they curl and are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Set on a dry paper towel to drain. Garnish butternut squash lasagna with sage leaves before serving.
Butternut squash lasagna recipe variations
- Add some frozen cooked spinach, or cooked swiss chard to get some more veggies in there. (Wring out the moisture first.)
- Swap the butternut squash purée for sweet potato or pumpkin purée.
- Make it gluten free by using gluten free no-boil lasagna noodles.
- Substitute basil for the sage in the béchamel sauce if you like!
- If you can't find fontina, just substitute the same amount of mozzarella.
What to serve on the side
Serve butternut squash lasagna as a main course with a salad to start, or make it part of a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast! Possibilities are endless!
- Try a Tricolore Salad to keep the Italian influences going.
- A Massaged Kale Salad is hearty enough to stand up to the richness of the lasagna.
- If you're having butternut squash lasagna for Thanksgiving, try it alongside a Kale Salad with Cranberries, some Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios, Dates, and Lime, and some Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes.
- Have a Coffee Granita or Pecan Cream Cheese Pie for dessert.
How to freeze and reheat butternut squash lasagna
You can freeze butternut lasagna just like any other lasagna, but you MUST cook it first! Allow the cooked lasagna to cool, then cover place in the fridge overnight. Make sure it is covered tightly, then transfer to the freezer. NOTE: Because we are using the no-boil lasagna noodles for this recipe, do not freeze it BEFORE you bake it.
To reheat the frozen butternut squash lasagna, you can place the pre-cooked, frozen lasagna directly into a preheated oven. No need to thaw if you don't want to. It could take up to 90 minutes, depending upon how hefty it is. Check the temperature as you go to be on the safe side.
You can definitely prepare this butternut squash lasagna one day ahead. Just layer all of the ingredients as instructed, then cover with foil and place in the fridge. Remove from fridge and bake.
A cooked lasagna will last in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. But who can wait that long?
Recommended tools and equipment
- Large, deep skillet: To make the sage béchamel sauce.
- Box grater: I always recommend grating the cheese yourself. Pre-grated cheese can dry out and doesn't always melt as well in the lasagna.
- Offset spatula: This makes spreading the butternut squash purée so much easier.
- Chef's knife and cutting board: To chop the sage.
More Butternut Squash Recipes
- When you make Roasted Butternut Squash with Red Onion, Tahini, and Za'atar, you don't even have to peel the squash! So easy!
- This Butternut Squash Salad is a light, delicious twist on a fall salad recipe.
The easiest and tastiest butternut squash lasagna
- We are using canned butternut squash purée! Yay! No peeling, no waiting for roasting.
- No boil lasagna noodles mean no pre-cooking pasta and trying to wrangle it into layers.
- A sage-infused bechamel sauce brings all the flavors of fall.
- Nutty fontina cheese is mozzarella's best friend, making the cheesy layers even creamier!
Butternut Squash Lasagna Recipe
- 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 2 cans butternut squash 15 oz each
- ¼ cup butter
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
- pinch nutmeg
- 2 cups grated whole milk mozzarella cheese
- 1 ½ cups grated fontina cheese
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- salt and cracked black pepper to tasted
- 8 fresh sage leaves to fry for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 9" x 13" baking dish and set aside.
- Empty the two cans of butternut squash into a mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper.
- Grate all the cheeses. Mix together the mozzarella and fontina. Keep the parmesan separate.
- Finely chop the sage.
- Make the bechamel sauce. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and mix together for about one minute.
- Gradually whisk in the milk so no lumps remain. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes until the mixture thickens and will coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in the nutmeg and sage, season with salt and pepper.
- Add ¾ cup of the milk mixture to the bottom of the baking dish. Place three of the no-boil noodles on top of the sauce. Spread ⅓ of the butternut squash on top of the noodles. Top with ⅔ cup of the mozz/fontina cheese mixture. Drizzle with ½ cup of the bechamel sauce.
- Repeat the layers in this way using the same measurements: noodles, squash, cheese, bechamel, noodles, squash, cheese, bechamel.
- Add the final three noodles, then top with all remaining bechamel sauce and all remaining mozzarella/fontina mixture.
- Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, until lasagna is bubbling and cheese is melted.
- While the lasagna is baking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Fry sage leaves until they curl slightly and are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Allow to drain on a dry paper towel.
- Remove foil, top with the shredded parmesan cheese and bake for about 15 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to stand 15 minutes before serving.
- Top with the sage leaves and serve.
- Of course, you can roast the butternut squash yourself if you prefer not to use canned.
- I use my OXO offset spatula to spread out the butternut squash puree. Don't forget that many kitchen tools have multiple uses! This one isn't just for baking!
- For this recipe I baked the lasagna in my Juliska Berry and Thread baking dish. I got it as a wedding present. It's classic but not conservative, and makes a really nice presentation if you're serving guests or taking to a party.