The BEST Bolognese Sauce

My all-time favorite bolognese sauce recipe is slow-simmered with a rich tomato base, a delicious blend of beef and pork, and the coziest blend of garlicky seasonings.  Serve with pasta, gnocchi, or roasted eggplant and enjoy!  Finally!  After sharing my favorite recipes for classic marinara, spicy arrabbiata, creamy carbonara, cheesy cacio e pepe, and garlicky aglio […]

My all-time favorite bolognese sauce recipe is slow-simmered with a rich tomato base, a delicious blend of beef and pork, and the coziest blend of garlicky seasonings.  Serve with pasta, gnocchi, or roasted eggplant and enjoy! 

Pasta Bolognese with Pappardelle

Finally!  After sharing my favorite recipes for classic marinara, spicy arrabbiatacreamy carbonara, cheesy cacio e pepe, and garlicky aglio e olio, I’m back today to add one more very important recipe to our collection here of classic Italian pasta sauces.

Meet my all-time favorite bolognese recipe. ♡

Over the years, I’ve ordered, cooked and tasted a wide variety of sauces all considered to be some variation of bolognese.  From having the chance to sample bowls upon bowls of the real-deal authentic ragù alla bolognese during our trip to Bologna last year, to cooking up and learning from Marcella, Lidia, and Massimo’s famous bolognese sauce recipes here at home, to playing around with a number of non-traditional shortcuts, seasonings or cooking methods, to even sampling a few of the jarred versions of bolognese that are crazy-popular at nearly every grocery store around — it seems clear that the world has come to love this hearty Italian meat sauce, however traditional or non-traditional various versions of it may be.

And based on the number of requests I’ve received over the years for a bolognese sauce recipe here on Gimme Some Oven, it sounds like many of you certainly love it too!!

Well to be sure, the certified traditional bolognese recipe will always remain the undisputed authentic classic.  But over the years, I’ve come to learn that I personally prefer a more modern take on the original recipe.  One with a rich, slow-simmered, tomato base (versus the traditional version, which many are surprised to learn includes minimal tomato), one made with an extra-flavorful variety of meats (including Italian sausage, in addition to traditional beef and pancetta), one that leans into some of my favorite Italian seasonings (garlic, herbs, plus a hint of anchovies, trust me), and one that takes the time it needs to simmer and develop an unforgettable depth of flavor (the key to good bolognese, a process that simply can’t be rushed).

It’s not a complicated recipe to make at all, but it is one that requires a bit of extra love and time.  And one that — I promise — will be so worth it.  ♡  So gather up your ingredients, turn up some good music in the kitchen, maybe pour yourself a glass of wine, and settle in for a few hours of cooking up the coziest, richly-flavored, most delicious bolognese recipe I know.  You are in for a treat!

Pot of Bolognese Sauce

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Kale, White Bean and Orzo Soup

This simple Kale, White Bean and Orzo Soup is made with a cozy lemony-rosemary broth and can be ready to go in just 30 minutes. Anyone else craving simple, healthy(ish), ultra-cozy soups on repeat right about now? Well here’s a good one to add to your repertoire. ♡ We often turn to classic white bean […]

This simple Kale, White Bean and Orzo Soup is made with a cozy lemony-rosemary broth and can be ready to go in just 30 minutes.

Anyone else craving simple, healthy(ish), ultra-cozy soups on repeat right about now?

Well here’s a good one to add to your repertoire. ♡

We often turn to classic white bean and kale soup here in our house when we’re craving a quick bowl of soup, made with whatever extra ingredients happen to be hanging out in the crisper drawer.  But this particular version made with chewy al dente orzo pasta, a slightly-spicy lemon rosemary broth, with lots of fresh Parmesan sprinkled on top has been totally hitting the spot this winter.

It’s an absolute breeze to make and comes together from start to finish in just 30 minutes or so.  It’s naturally vegetarian and also vegan (if you nix the Parmesan), and chock-full of fresh kale and lots of protein.  It’s completely customizable with whatever fresh herbs, beans, or pasta shapes that you happen to have on hand.  And it is just the type of warm and comforting meal that I find myself craving this time of year.

Feel free to add in some extra protein (bacon, chicken, or sausage would be delicious) if you’d like.  And if you happen to have some good crusty bread on hand, I highly recommend using it to mop up that delicious broth.  But otherwise, this is a satisfying vegetarian soup recipe all on its own that I think you’re going to love.

So grab some kale and let’s make some soup together, friends!

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Best-Ever Eggplant Meatballs

This eggplant meatballs recipe is truly amazing! The purple veggie makes a surprisingly juicy texture and a delightful Italian style dinner. Ever tried making meatballs…with eggplant? We’d been hearing for years that eggplant makes great vegetarian meatballs, we just didn’t really believe it…until now. Try this amazing Eggplant Meatballs recipe! Garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese make one insanely juicy and savory meatball. Roasted eggplant makes them moist and textured, vs dry or mushy like lots of vegetarian balls. Combine it with marinara sauce and it’s out of this world delicious. In fact, we took one bite and yelled “Wow!” (True story.) Ingredients for eggplant meatballs It’s a short ingredient list here! All you’ll need to make eggplant meatballs is the following: Eggplant: you’ll need 2 pounds; 3 medium or 2 large (it’s helpful to weigh out exactly at the store! Garlic Jarred sundried tomatoes Italian panko: Panko are large, fluffy breadcrumbs. You’ll need to locate the Italian version, which has added salt and herbs. See below for more! Grated Parmesan cheese: Make sure it’s the powdery stuff: not shredded, which looks like little sticks! Salt and pepper What’s Italian panko? Is there a substitute? Panko is a flaky bread […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This eggplant meatballs recipe is truly amazing! The purple veggie makes a surprisingly juicy texture and a delightful Italian style dinner.

Eggplant meatballs

Ever tried making meatballs…with eggplant? We’d been hearing for years that eggplant makes great vegetarian meatballs, we just didn’t really believe it…until now. Try this amazing Eggplant Meatballs recipe! Garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese make one insanely juicy and savory meatball. Roasted eggplant makes them moist and textured, vs dry or mushy like lots of vegetarian balls. Combine it with marinara sauce and it’s out of this world delicious. In fact, we took one bite and yelled “Wow!” (True story.)

Ingredients for eggplant meatballs

It’s a short ingredient list here! All you’ll need to make eggplant meatballs is the following:

  • Eggplant: you’ll need 2 pounds; 3 medium or 2 large (it’s helpful to weigh out exactly at the store!
  • Garlic
  • Jarred sundried tomatoes
  • Italian panko: Panko are large, fluffy breadcrumbs. You’ll need to locate the Italian version, which has added salt and herbs. See below for more!
  • Grated Parmesan cheese: Make sure it’s the powdery stuff: not shredded, which looks like little sticks!
  • Salt and pepper
Eggplant meatballs recipe

What’s Italian panko? Is there a substitute?

Panko is a flaky bread crumb mixture used in Japanese cooking for fried foods. It’s also made its way into international cooking because it’s the perfect breading and frying. Italian panko are made with seasonings and salt. Panko is available in most grocery stores and online. You can also find gluten-free panko or Italian panko online, to make this a gluten free recipe! If you can’t find Italian panko, here’s what to do:

  • Use regular panko and add salt and Italian seasonings. See the recipe below for quantities.
  • Look for coarse breadcrumbs instead, or make them! Some purchased breadcrumbs have very fine texture, which isn’t as ideal (but you can still use them). Italian breadcrumbs have the salt and herbs added, so they are a good substitute. If all you can find is plain, use the salt and herbs from the recipe below as well.
Eggplant meatballs

Roast the eggplant small diced, skin on (here’s why!)

The key to these eggplant meatballs is this. Roast the eggplant chopped very small, then mash it with a potato masher before forming the balls. Here’s why:

  • Roasting with the eggplant skin on makes the very best juicy, meaty texture that’s incredibly satisfying. You’ll have some chunks in the meatballs: but that’s good!
  • Using a food processor or blender or removing the eggplant skin makes a texture that’s gooey rather than meaty: not nearly as delicious. Speaking of…

A few tips on forming eggplant meatballs

These eggplant meatballs have lots of texture to the dough, which can make forming them a little different than say, falafel. Here are a few tips on the forming process:

  • Include the eggplant skin right into the the balls: try to evenly disperse them throughout each meatball.
  • You can also discard a few of the skin pieces if it’s hard to form the balls. But again, the skins and chewy parts are what you need for a meaty, interesting texture: so don’t worry that it’s not a smooth dough!
Eggplant meatballs recipe

You’ll need about 1 hour: or they’re great for make-ahead!

Keep in mind: in total, this eggplant meatballs recipe takes about 1 hour to make. We’re obsessed with fast and easy recipes around here, as you may know. But guess what: this recipe is so good, it’s absolutely worth the 1 hour prep time! Here’s what to know about planning and meal prep to make it fit into your lifestyle:

  • Eggplant meatballs save very well: you can refrigerate or freeze! If you can make them ahead, it makes dinner time a breeze! Store them refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months, stored in a single layer in a freezer safe container.
  • To reheat, simply warm them in a skillet with marinara. That’s it! So easy.
  • Or, make them on a weekend or when time allows. If you have the time, it’s a perfect recipe for a Saturday or Sunday dinner.

Make it a meal: main dish, pasta, and more!

Take one bite of these eggplant meatballs and you’ll be amazed by the amount of flavor going on with these babies. Don’t even think of them as a vegetarian meatball: they’re just DELICIOUS. Now, you don’t need to serve them with pasta: but you can. The only thing that’s required is the marinara sauce (use your favorite jar). Here are a few ways you can eat these eggplant meatballs:

How would you serve them? Let us know in the comments below!

Eggplant meatballs

This eggplant meatballs recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free panko.

Print
Eggplant meatballs

Best-Ever Eggplant Meatballs


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 20 meatballs (4 servings)
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This eggplant meatballs recipe is truly amazing! The purple veggie makes a surprisingly juicy texture and a delightful Italian style dinner.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 pounds eggplant (3 medium or 2 large, about 12 cups diced into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon jarred sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups Italian panko (use gluten free as needed)*
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (not shredded)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For serving, 1 large jar marinara sauce, 8 to 12 ounces spaghetti or bucatini pasta or zucchini noodles

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut the eggplant into 1/2-inch chunks by slicing 1/2-inch rings and then cutting the rings into cubes. The size of dice is important for the final texture! (If you weren’t able to weigh the eggplant, measure out 12 cups 1/2-inch diced). 
  3. In a large bowl, quickly mix the eggplant with olive oil and kosher salt (the eggplant soaks up the oil in an instant, so mix as soon as you add it!). Pour the eggplant onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread it into an even layer.
  4. Roast for 25 minutes, then stir and roast 10 minutes more until browned and very tender. Remove and reduce the oven heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  5. Add the warm eggplant to a bowl and mash it with a potato masher until chunky and mostly mashed. Stir in the minced garlic, finely chopped sundried tomatoes, Italian panko and grated Parmesan cheese. Taste and add any salt to taste (we added only 1 pinch; remember that the marinara sauce will also add flavor after baking).
  6. Use your hands to form the dough into 20 balls. You’ll include the eggplant skin right into the the balls: try to evenly disperse them throughout each meatball.  You can also discard a few of the skins if it’s hard to form the balls. But the skins and chewy parts are what you need for a meaty, interesting texture: so don’t worry that it’s not a smooth dough! See the photos above. 
  7. Place the meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until lightly browned on top and very browned on the bottom. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, or longer if desired (the balls will firm up). At this point, you can serve immediately, refrigerate for 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months (in a single layer in a freezer safe container). While the meatballs bake, you can boil the pasta or prep the zucchini noodles. 
  8. To serve, add the marinara sauce to a skillet and add the meatballs in a single layer. Heat for 1 to 2 minutes until warmed. Serve over the noodles, then top with grated Parmesan cheese (and chopped fresh basil, if desired). You can also serve as a vegetarian main dish with a few sides, like broccoli and couscous, rice or quinoa.

Notes

*We recommend Italian panko for the best results. If all you can find is regular panko, use 1 1/4 cups regular panko, mixed with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (or 1 tablespoon dried oregano and 1/2 tablespoon each dried basil and thyme). If you can’t find panko at all, you can substitute coarse breadcrumbs — the texture of store-bought is very fine, so chunkier homemade breadcrumbs are ideal (but you can use either). Italian breadcrumbs work in a pinch; adjust the salt to taste. If you eat gluten-free, you can find gluten-free panko online.

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Eggplant meatballs, eggplant meatballs recipe

More eggplant recipes

Eggplant is one unexpectedly delicious vegetable, when you cook it correctly! Here are some more eggplant recipes to try:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

A Parmigiana Without Tomatoes? It’s Not Just Possible, It’s Fantastic

We’ve partnered with the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium to share delicious ways to use this savory powerhouse in your cooking—and prove that it’s so much more than just a topping. Known for its unmistakable taste and perfectly crumbly texture, this che…

We've partnered with the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium to share delicious ways to use this savory powerhouse in your cooking—and prove that it’s so much more than just a topping. Known for its unmistakable taste and perfectly crumbly texture, this cheese is made with only three ingredients, but the real magic comes after it's been aged for more than a year (in Italy, according to old-school methods).


Parmigiana is a true Italian classic, with quite possibly as many variations as there are cooks. While the most well-known version, parmigiana di melanzane, involves slices of eggplant (grilled or deep-fried, depending on which camp you're in) baked with tomato sauce and melting cheese, it’s a dish that lends itself well to adaptations—and has for centuries.

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Vegetarian Lasagna with Ricotta

This vegetarian lasagna recipe is a total crowd pleaser! The easy spinach and ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy. When it comes to lasagna recipes…well, this one is tops. Meet our best vegetarian lasagna with ricotta, aka vegetarian lasagne! We’ve been honing meatless lasagna recipes for years. This one is the culmination of all of our research: and damn, is it good (if we may say so ourselves). The tomato sauce has just the right zing and garlic nuance, and the spinach ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy. It’s scented with fresh thyme and a little lemon zest, which takes it to over the top status. There’s no one who will turn down a piece! At least, who we’ve met. Here are all our secrets. Ingredients in vegetarian lasagna Did I mention that we love easy recipes: or at least, recipes that are pretty simple to put together? The spinach ricotta filling in this vegetarian lasagna recipe is elegantly simple, with no need to chop a long list of ingredients. We’ve also got lots of time saving ideas for those evenings where you don’t have time to make your own marinara. Here’s what you need for this vegetarian […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This vegetarian lasagna recipe is a total crowd pleaser! The easy spinach and ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy.

Vegetarian lasagna

When it comes to lasagna recipes…well, this one is tops. Meet our best vegetarian lasagna with ricotta, aka vegetarian lasagne! We’ve been honing meatless lasagna recipes for years. This one is the culmination of all of our research: and damn, is it good (if we may say so ourselves). The tomato sauce has just the right zing and garlic nuance, and the spinach ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy. It’s scented with fresh thyme and a little lemon zest, which takes it to over the top status. There’s no one who will turn down a piece! At least, who we’ve met. Here are all our secrets.

Ingredients in vegetarian lasagna

Did I mention that we love easy recipes: or at least, recipes that are pretty simple to put together? The spinach ricotta filling in this vegetarian lasagna recipe is elegantly simple, with no need to chop a long list of ingredients. We’ve also got lots of time saving ideas for those evenings where you don’t have time to make your own marinara. Here’s what you need for this vegetarian lasagna:

  • Tomato sauce: homemade or purchased (see section below)
  • Lasagna noodles (dried or fresh)
  • Baby spinach (or frozen)
  • Ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh thyme
  • Lemon zest
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper
Vegetarian lasagna recipe

Make homemade tomato sauce, or find your favorite brand

This vegetarian lasagna recipe features our favorite homemade tomato sauce for lasagna: made with garlic, tomatoes and our secret ingredient: dried tarragon. Here are a few notes about each type of sauce:

  • Make the homemade sauce for great flavor. When you have time, a homemade tomato sauce is where it’s at! This sauce is full of big flavor and takes only a few minutes of hands on time: it can simmer while you prep the other ingredients. Dried tarragon adds big Italian flavor: but if you can’t find it, you can use oregano as a substitute.
  • Or, go easy with purchased marinara! There are lots of nights where we want a shortcut. These days there are many high quality marinara brands on the market: look for organic if you can! Grab enough for 4 cups of sauce.
Easy marinara sauce

Substitute frozen spinach for fresh

Here’s another way you can customize this vegetarian lasagne recipe to your tastes: you can use fresh or frozen spinach! Here are the benefits of both:

  • Fresh spinach is tasty and often on hand. We often have a big box of baby greens in our refrigerator, so we love using fresh spinach here. It takes just a few minutes to wilt down on the stovetop.
  • Frozen spinach offers maximum flexibility! Frozen spinach is easy to stock in your freezer for whenever you have a lasagna craving (or spinach artichoke dip!). Make sure defrost and squeeze out all the water before you use it.

The best vegetarian lasagna recipe with ricotta cheese

Why make a vegetarian lasagna recipe with ricotta? Ricotta cheese is a creamy Italian cheese with a mild flavor. It’s most famously used in lasagna recipes to make that beautifully creamy, cheesy layer. We love it in this lasagna with ricotta because it has the best classic flavor.

  • What are other ways to use ricotta? Smear it on toast, swirl it into pasta, dollop it into scrambled eggs or even spread it onto a pizza. Want ideas? Go to these Genius Ricotta Recipes.
  • What are some substitutes for ricotta in lasagna? Don’t have ricotta, or don’t want to use it? You can also use the same amount of cottage cheese (if you can, food process it first) or creme fraiche as a substitute for ricotta in lasagna.
Lasagna recipe with ricotta cheese

Other filling variations!

Want to change up this lasagna recipe with ricotta? Here are some additional filling ideas that would go well with spinach and ricotta:

  • Spinach mushroom lasagna: Make the spinach and mushroom filling from Vegan Lasagna and substitute it for the spinach (with or without the cashews).
  • Kale lasagna: Make the spicy kale filling instead of spinach from Spicy Kale Lasagna.
  • Chard lasagna: Chop 2 bunches rainbow chard and wilt it down following the instructions in the recipe.

Make ahead and storage info

How to store vegetarian lasagna? Can you make it ahead? Here are a few pointers for this recipe:

  • Make ahead ideas: As noted above, you can use purchased marinara to make this recipe a little quicker. You can also cook the spinach in advance (or use frozen spinach). Mix up the cheese filling and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  • Or make ahead the entire pan: Make the vegetarian lasagna prior to baking, then refrigerate overnight. Increase the bake time as needed to cook until it’s warmed through and the cheese has melted.
  • Storage info: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days. Or freeze them: it’s easiest to cut it into single servings and freeze each in separate containers. To reheat, defrost the vegetarian lasagna the refrigerator, then place in a baking dish, cover with foil and reheat at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until warmed through.
Lasagna with ricotta

Sides to serve with vegetarian lasagna

The great thing about a vegetarian lasagna recipe? You can use the long bake time to prep some tasty side dishes! Here are a few sides that pair well with lasagna:

This vegetarian lasagna recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free lasagna noodles.

Print
Vegetarian lasagna

Vegetarian Lasagna with Ricotta


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 9
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This vegetarian lasagna recipe is a total crowd pleaser! The easy spinach and ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy.


Ingredients

For the tomato sauce (or substitute 4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce)

  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire roasted if possible
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce, fire roasted if possible
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or oregano)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)

For the lasagna

  • 10 to 12 lasagna noodles (8 ounces, gluten-free as necessary)*
  • 5 ounces baby spinach** (or 8 cups chopped spinach)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 16 ounce (2 cups) ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Boil the noodles*: Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the noodles until just before al dente, according to the package instructions, stirring often. Drain the noodles, then drizzle a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil. Lay the noodles flat onto the sheet, then turn them over so they become coated with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Prepare the tomato sauce (or skip with purchased marinara): Mince the garlic. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring frequently. Once the garlic is fragrant after about 1 or 2 minutes, turn down the heat and carefully add the tomatoes (avoid any momentary spitting), tomato sauce, basil, tarragon or oregano, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Remove 1/4 cup of the sauce and stir it with the cornstarch, then add it back to the pan (this helps to thicken the sauce). Simmer on low heat while making the remainder of the recipe, at least 15 minutes. When ready to use, remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Wilt the spinach: In a large skillet, mound the greens and 1/4 cup water in the skillet and cook, stirring often, until completely wilted and reduced, about 3 minutes (the greens significantly reduce when cooking; if necessary, sauté in batches.) Sprinkle with 2 pinches of kosher salt and stir, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Once cooled, use your hands to squeeze out all excess liquid and discard. Roughly chop the spinach.
  5. Prepare the cheese filling: Destem the thyme, then roughly chop the leaves. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme to a medium bowl and reserve about 1/2 tablespoon for topping the lasagna. To the bowl, add the lemon zest, nutmeg, ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine.
  6. Layer the lasagna: In a 9” x 13” baking dish, spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then top with 1 layer of noodles, half of the cheese mixture (in dollops then spread it out), half of the greens, and about 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Repeat again: 1 layer of noodles (you may need to cut a noodle in half for the side, depending on your pan), the remaining cheese mixture, the remaining greens, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Finally, top with noodles (again, you may need to cut a noodle in half for the top layer), then the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the entire top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tablespoon thyme.
  7. Bake the lasagna: Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving (this allows the lasagna to set). Leftovers can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days and reheated in a 375°F oven.

Notes

*If you use fresh lasagna noodles, they don’t need to be boiled. 

**You can also substitute 3/4 cup frozen spinach. Defrost it and squeeze of excess liquid: you can skip the cooking step. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Vegetarian lasagna, vegetarian lasagna recipe, vegetarian lasagne recipe, lasagna recipe ricotta, lasagna recipe with ricotta cheese, lasagna with ricotta, lasagna with ricotta cheese

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Marinated Olives

Marinated olives are a stunning appetizer or side! Flavored with garlic and lemon, they’re a great finger food for cheese boards or parties. Here’s a favorite party trick of ours that makes a tasty and versatile appetizer in just 5 minutes of hands on time. It’s Marinated Olives! This dish will make an olive lover out of anyone. Using the right olives here results in smooth, rich flavor: not briny or overly salty. The garlic, lemon and herbs make a symphony of flavor! Every time we make these and set them out on the table, people go crazy for them! They’re also great for an appetizer dinner at home: bread, cheese, marinated olives and wine. Here are a few tricks to making the tastiest homemade marinated olives you’ll find (in our humble opinion). The secret: use olives packed in water! Here’s our secret to these marinated olives. Use ripe olives packed in water. They have a rich and buttery flavor, nothing like a martini olive. These olives aren’t packed in brine, they’re simply packed in salt water. It makes for a clean, straightforward flavor: not too tangy, briny or salty. Exactly what kind of olives are we talking about? Use […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Marinated olives are a stunning appetizer or side! Flavored with garlic and lemon, they’re a great finger food for cheese boards or parties.

Marinated olives

Here’s a favorite party trick of ours that makes a tasty and versatile appetizer in just 5 minutes of hands on time. It’s Marinated Olives! This dish will make an olive lover out of anyone. Using the right olives here results in smooth, rich flavor: not briny or overly salty. The garlic, lemon and herbs make a symphony of flavor! Every time we make these and set them out on the table, people go crazy for them! They’re also great for an appetizer dinner at home: bread, cheese, marinated olives and wine. Here are a few tricks to making the tastiest homemade marinated olives you’ll find (in our humble opinion).

The secret: use olives packed in water!

Here’s our secret to these marinated olives. Use ripe olives packed in water. They have a rich and buttery flavor, nothing like a martini olive. These olives aren’t packed in brine, they’re simply packed in salt water. It makes for a clean, straightforward flavor: not too tangy, briny or salty. Exactly what kind of olives are we talking about?

  • Use medium to large ripe olives that are pitted. Here’s a list of olives to buy for marinated olives: we like the Lindsay brand that you see listed. Look on the package to see if it says “packed in water” or if the ingredients specify.
  • Use a mix of green and black. This makes a great color contrast.
  • Avoid stuffed or flavored olives. You don’t want any competing flavors here.
Marinated olives

Flavors for marinading

You can use lots of different flavors for making marinaded olives. Here’s what we used, and some other options you can swap instead:

  • Lemon: Use the lemon rind and lemon juice. Variation: Use orange instead.
  • Garlic: Slice the garlic to infuse big flavors (no need to mince!). Do not omit.
  • Olive oil: Olive oil infuses the flavor perfectly.
  • Fresh herbs: Rosemary and tarragon are our favorites. Variation: Use thyme or oregano.
How to make marinated olives

How to make marinated olives: basic steps

Want to make marinated olives? The hands on part is fast: it takes just about 5 minutes. The longest lead time item is the marinading. Make sure you set aside 2 to 4 hours for the marinading process. Here’s what to know:

  • Place all the ingredients in a large jar or container. We like using a large mason jar. Cover the top and shake to get everything coated.
  • Leave at room temperature for 2 to 4 hours. The wait time locks in the flavors.

Refrigerate for several weeks

Once your marinaded olives are ready, you can save them for a few weeks. Leave them in the jar and refrigerate. But here’s a tip: the olive oil will solidify when it is chilled. So make sure to bring the olives to room temperature before serving.

Marinated olives

Ways to serve marinaded olives

Now for the fun part: ways to serve them! These marinaded olives are very versatile. They’re an easy side dish for a Mediterranean-style meal (like Italian or Spanish), or perfect for an appetizer spread. Here’s how we like to serve them:

More olive recipes

There are so many types of olives and ways to incorporate them into recipes! Here are some of our favorite olive recipes:

  • Kalamata Olive Spread Want to up your sandwich game? This Kalamata olive spread (also called tapenade), is used in Italian cuisine to add big flavor to crostini and sandwiches.
  • Pasta Puttanesca This classic Italian pasta puttanesca recipe features garlic, capers and olives in the sauce to give it a tangy burst of flavor.

This marinaded olives recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Marinated olives

Classic Marinated Olives


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes hands on, 2 hours hands off
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 24 minute
  • Yield: 6 to 8
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Marinated olives are a stunning appetizer or side! Flavored with garlic and lemon, they’re a great finger food for cheese boards or parties.


Ingredients

  • 2 6-ounce dry weight cans pitted ripe olives packed in water (green, medium black, or large black, not flavored or stuffed)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 rosemary or tarragon sprigs, plus additional for serving if desired

Instructions

  1. Drain the olives. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Cut 4 strips from the lemon peel, then squeeze out 1 tablespoon of the juice.
  2. In a 1 quart jar or covered container, combine all ingredients and shake gently to combine.
  3. Marinate for 2 to 4 hours at room temperature, shaking occasionally. Serve immediately, garnishing with additional rosemary sprigs if desired. Stores refrigerated for several weeks; allow to come to room temperature prior to serving.
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Marinated
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired

Keywords: Marinated olives

More vegan appetizers

These marinaded olives are a fantastic plant based appetizer. Here are a few more vegan appetizer recipes we love:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone soup is an Italian classic! This version is made with cannellini beans, chicken stock, cabbage, potato, zucchini, carrots, plum tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese. Continue reading “Minestrone Soup” »

Minestrone soup is an Italian classic! This version is made with cannellini beans, chicken stock, cabbage, potato, zucchini, carrots, plum tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese.

Continue reading "Minestrone Soup" »

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

Spaghetti squash lasagna is a deliciously satisfying no noodle spin on the classic! It’s full of so much flavor, you won’t miss the noodles. One look at that photo and we’re pulling up our sleeves to get cooking: are you? Meet your new favorite dream-boat meal: baked Spaghetti Squash Lasagna! This delicious no-noodle spin on the classic so satisfying, you’ll find yourself dreaming about the next time you get to eat it. It’s naturally gluten-free yet cheesy enough that you won’t miss the noodles. Mix those squash noodles with ricotta and Parmesan, then bake them with marinara and gooey mozzarella on top. This one went over very well in this household…even the 3 year old approved. How to make spaghetti squash lasagna: basic steps This spaghetti squash lasagna is very easy to make! But it does take a bit of time. Why? Spaghetti squash can take up to 1 hour to roast. Yes, everyone’s favorite squash is a little high maintenance like that. But never fear! Once your squash is roasted, it’s terribly easy to put together. Here’s what to do: Step 1 (40 minutes to 1 hour*): Roast the squash! See How to Cook Spaghetti Squash. *Note: Using the […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Spaghetti squash lasagna is a deliciously satisfying no noodle spin on the classic! It’s full of so much flavor, you won’t miss the noodles.

Spaghetti squash lasagna

One look at that photo and we’re pulling up our sleeves to get cooking: are you? Meet your new favorite dream-boat meal: baked Spaghetti Squash Lasagna! This delicious no-noodle spin on the classic so satisfying, you’ll find yourself dreaming about the next time you get to eat it. It’s naturally gluten-free yet cheesy enough that you won’t miss the noodles. Mix those squash noodles with ricotta and Parmesan, then bake them with marinara and gooey mozzarella on top. This one went over very well in this household…even the 3 year old approved.

How to make spaghetti squash lasagna: basic steps

This spaghetti squash lasagna is very easy to make! But it does take a bit of time. Why? Spaghetti squash can take up to 1 hour to roast. Yes, everyone’s favorite squash is a little high maintenance like that. But never fear! Once your squash is roasted, it’s terribly easy to put together. Here’s what to do:

  1. Step 1 (40 minutes to 1 hour*): Roast the squash! See How to Cook Spaghetti Squash.
    *Note: Using the Instant Pot cuts this time in half.
  2. Step 2 (15 minutes): Make the filling and layer it up.
  3. Step 3 (10 minutes): Bake it until the cheese melts.
Spaghetti squash lasagna

Tips on how to cook spaghetti squash

The main task for this spaghetti squash lasagna is (no surprise!)…cooking the spaghetti squash. Here’s what to know about cooking this tough yellow squash:

  • Slice lengthwise to serve in “bowls”. Usually we slice the squash around the middle to get the longest noodles (see How to Cook Spaghetti Squash). But if you want to serve it in natural bowls, cit it lengthwise.
  • Roasting is the best method. Roast your squash at 400 degrees until it’s tender, 40 to 55 minutes.
  • Separate into noodles with a fork. Scrape out the cut sides with a fork: instant noodles!
  • Allow to steam 5 minutes in a colander. This helps to remove excess liquid.

Alternative method: Instant Pot!

Want to speed up the cook time? You can cook your spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot, with one caveat: you’ll have to cook them one at a time. This spaghetti squash lasagna calls for 2 squash, but only 1 can fit in an Instant Pot at a time.

The Instant Pot is significantly quicker: it takes only 13 minutes for the squash to cook. So even cooking two squash, it takes about half the time to pressure cook them. Score!

How to make spaghetti squash lasagna

Spaghetti squash lasagna filling ingredients & add-in ideas!

Once you’ve cooked up that spaghetti squash, the rest of the lasagna recipe is a breeze! Here’s what you’ll need for the filling, including an idea for some add-ins:

  • Ricotta cheese
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Italian seasoning
  • Spaghetti sauce: Use your favorite brand to keep this quick and easy. There are lots of great brands on the market these days that are minimally processed.
  • Add-in idea: To make it more filling, add plant-based crumbles! We used to avoid these, but lately there have been less processed versions on the market. For more details, see our Quick Chili recipe. You can also add cooked and drained ground beef for meat eaters.

Bake it in the shells, or use a baking dish!

The fun part about this spaghetti squash lasagna is that you can bake it in the shells for beautiful presentation! But it’s not required. Here are a few notes about both:

  • Bake it in the shell: When you scoop out the spaghetti squash strands with a fork, keep the skin of the squash in tact. It forms a natural shell that you can use for baking it! Pros: it’s beautiful. Cons: it’s pre-portioned so you can’t choose how much you want, and it’s harder to serve to a crowd. Kids also seem to prefer the next option.
  • Bake it in a 9 x 9 baking dish: Or, throw it into a 9 x 9 baking dish! It works just as well and takes a little less time to assemble. Pros: It’s easier to serve to a crowd, and seems more like “real” lasagna. Cons: It’s not nearly as stunning to look at.
Spaghetti squash lasagna

Make ahead tips for spaghetti squash lasagna

Can you make ahead parts of this spaghetti squash lasagna for easy prep? Absolutely. Here are a few options to choose from:

  • Roast the squash in advance. Simply roast your squash in advance and refrigerate until you want to bake. Some liquid may accumulate while it refrigerates: just pour it off. While the oven preheats, layer the ingredients. Increase the final bake time a little since you’ll be baking the noodles from cold (or warm them in the microwave before assembling).
  • Don’t assemble in advance. You might be tempted to assemble it then refrigerate, but we advise against this. Moisture can accumulate in the fridge, making it overly watery. Simply roast the squash in advance per above: you can layer it while the oven preheats and there’s no time lost!

Sides to serve with spaghetti squash lasagna

This spaghetti squash lasagna is a total show stopper that everyone will love! While it’s a great naturally gluten free and keto dinner option, it works for anyone no matter their eating preferences. Here are a few ways we’d accessorize it to make a healthy dinner (though on a weeknight, we usually just do non-recipes like raw veggies or a throw together salad):

We hope you love it as much as we do! Let us know in the comments below.

Spaghetti squash recipe

This spaghetti squash lasagna recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

Print
Spaghetti squash lasagna

Favorite Spaghetti Squash Lasagna


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This spaghetti squash lasagna is a deliciously satisfying no noodle spin on the classic! It’s full of so much satisfying flavor, you won’t miss the noodles.


Ingredients

  • 2 medium spaghetti squash
  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon each dried thyme, basil and oregano OR 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce or marinara, your favorite brand (24 ounce jar)*
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Roast the spaghetti squash: Using a small sharp paring knife, cut the spaghetti squash around the middle lengthwise. To cut, pierce the knife into the squash and swing down, making small slices around the squash until it breaks in half. Use the knife to cut around the seeds, and then scoop them out with a spoon. Rub the insides of the squash with 2 teaspoons olive oil total. Place the halves on baking sheet cut side down, and roast 40 to 55 minutes, depending on the size and freshness of the squash, until tender all the way through when pierced with a fork. Alternative method: Go Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash and cook the 2 squash separately (they each cook in 13 minutes).**
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. Make the squash noodles and steam 5 minutes: Allow the squash to cool slightly, then use a fork to scrape out the squash into “spaghetti” strands into a colander. Save the hard “shell” of the squash to use for serving, or you can use a 9 x 9 baking dish. Allow the squash to steam in sink for 5 minutes.
  5. Season the noodles: Place the noodles in a large bowl. Mix in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and the Italian seasoning. Add the cheese mixture and stir gently to combine (don’t overmix). Now for the important part: taste the noodles and add up to 1/2 teaspoon more salt, until the flavor pops. The exact amount will depend on the weight of your squash and the brand of ricotta. We typically end up adding between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon more. 
  6. Layer the lasagna: Using the 4 squash shells or a 9 x 9 baking dish, do the following: place a layer of the cheesy squash and top it with a layer of 1 cup sauce (split among the shells if desired). Then top with the final layer of cheesy squash and the remaining 1 1/2 cups sauce. Sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (split across the 4 shells or in the pan).
  7. Bake: Place in the oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes until cheese is melted. Top with torn or chopped fresh basil. 

Notes

*To make a more filling spaghetti squash lasagna, simmer 1 1/2 cups frozen plant-based crumbles in the sauce for 1 to 2 minutes before serving. Or, cook and drain 3/4 pound ground beef and add it to the sauce.

**Make ahead tips:  Roast your squash in advance and refrigerate until you want to bake. Some liquid may accumulate while it refrigerates: pour it off before assembling. While the oven preheats, layer the ingredients. Increase the final bake time a little since you’ll be baking the noodles from cold (or warm them in the microwave before assembling). Don’t be tempted assemble in advance and refrigerate; too much liquid accumulates while in the fridge, so we don’t recommend this. 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Spaghetti squash lasagna

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Grandma’s Pizzelle Recipe

Grandma’s Pizzelle Recipe
My grandma’s easy and delicious pizzelle recipe for the classic Italian cookie. Lightly sweetened and flavored with vanilla and whiskey (with options for anise and other flavors), they are wonderfully crisp and buttery, …

Grandma’s Pizzelle Recipe

My grandma's easy and delicious pizzelle recipe for the classic Italian cookie. Lightly sweetened and flavored with vanilla and whiskey (with options for anise and other flavors), they are wonderfully crisp and buttery, and perfect for holiday gift-giving!

READ: Grandma’s Pizzelle Recipe

Pizza Baked Ziti

The best of pizza and pasta come together in this fun “Pizza” Baked Ziti recipe!  It’s 100% customizable with all of your favorite pizza toppings, super easy to make, and total comfort food. I’ve got a fun new dinner idea that needs to go on your next meal plan stat… …this “pizza” baked ziti! ♡ […]

The best of pizza and pasta come together in this fun “Pizza” Baked Ziti recipe!  It’s 100% customizable with all of your favorite pizza toppings, super easy to make, and total comfort food.

Pizza Baked Ziti Recipe in Casserole Pan

I’ve got a fun new dinner idea that needs to go on your next meal plan stat

…this “pizza” baked ziti! ♡

Yep, it’s the best of both worlds when your favorite pizza toppings and a hot and bubbly pan of baked ziti combine forces.  And thanks to a few simple shortcuts, it turns out that this fun fusion recipe is actually incredibly easy to make too!

All you need is a package of pasta, your favorite marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought), shredded cheese, and a collection of your favorite pizza toppings to bring this recipe together.  (Which makes this a perfect recipe to clean out the produce drawer, by the way, while also giving you the option to make this baked ziti gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian or vegan if you would like.)  Then after a few simple steps of prep, this gorgeous casserole can be baking away in the oven and on the table ready to serve in no time!

It’s a totally fun and flexible recipe to customize with whatever pizza toppings you love best.  So round up your faves, and let’s make some pizza baked ziti together!

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