Full of rich, classic flavors, this beef & veggie lasagna is going to become a dinner staple! Packed with protein from lean ground beef, cottage cheese, 4 different finely chopped vegetables (spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper, & zucchini), oven-ready noodles, and (of course) mozzarella cheese, this hearty dinner is healthy comfort food at it’s finest!

A white casserole dish containing lasagna sliced into squares—and a metal spatula is sitting in an empty space in the lasagna. Casserole dish is sitting a cooling rack on a grey surface. Lasagna is surrounded by a napkin,salt and pepper shakers, a bowl containing a sliced piece of the lasagna, and small bowls with ingredients for the lasagna.

Hearty and cozy veggie-loaded dinners are so my vibe during these colder months. And is there a more comforting dish to end a day than lasagna? I think not!

I’ve been adding veggies to lasagna for years. My vegetarian lasagna soup is a weeknight staple recipe and one of my 12-year-old daughter’s favorite dinners is my Quick Spinach Lasagna. However, there was a reader request for a veggie-loaded AND protein-packed lasagna recipe and that’s how this recipe was born.

This beef & veggie lasagna is so hearty, so comforting, ticks all the boxes, and is exactly what I want to curl up with at the end of the day. Cottage cheese being swapped for ricotta is a classic trick for upping the protein in lasagna, but I went a little further and added ground lean beef too! And not only does it have a notable amount of protein from the addition of those two tasty ingredients, but there are oodles of added nutrients from the 4 added veggies (finely chopped zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms, and spinach) that we’ve worked into the flavorful meat sauce. This hearty, veggie-loaded lasagna is full of those traditional lasagna flavors and melty mozzarella cheese that I know you are looking for—and is such a perfect addition to your meal prep line up! It cooks up in a little over an hour and the leftovers are utterly dreamy. And since this recipe makes 12 satisfying servings, make a batch today and pop the leftovers into your freezer for one of those nights when you want a homemade shortcut!

Ingredients for Protein & Veggie Loaded Lasagna together on grey surface before cooking.
Ingredients: olive oil, lean ground beef or ground turkey, zucchini, red bell pepper, button or cremini mushrooms, baby spinach, garlic powder, kosher salt, Italian seasoning, ground black pepper, pasta sauce, cottage cheese, eggs, grated Parmesan cheese, no-boil lasagna noodles, shredded mozzarella cheese

Visual Guide: step-by-step how to make this cottage cheese lasagna

If you are a visual person, here is a picture guide for how the recipe should look at each step. Be sure to grab the exact measurements for the ingredients by scrolling down to the recipe card below.

Uncooked ground meat and oil in a skillet sitting on a grey surface.
Heat the oven to 375℉. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with oil or non-stick spray. Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat to the skillet.
Cooked ground meat in a skillet sitting a grey surface.
Cook the ground meat in the skillet—breaking into small crumbles, until browned and cooked through.
Raw, chopped zucchni, pepper, and mushroom on top of cooked ground meat in a skillet sitting on a grey surface.
Stir in the zucchini, pepper, and mushroom, and continue to cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
Chopped raw spinach, garlic powder, spices, and marnara sauce on top of cooked veggies and ground meat mixture in a skillet sitting on a grey surface.
Stir in the spinach, garlic powder, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper, and marinara sauce.
Cooked vegetable and meat mixture in a skillet sitting on a grey surface.
Simmer on low for 10 to 15 minutes to develop the flavors.
Cottage cheese, a cracked egg, parmesan cheese, and seasonings in a white bowl sitting on a grey surface.
To a bowl, add the cottage cheese, egg, parmesan cheese, and seasonings.
Combined cottage cheese, egg, parmesan cheese, and seasonings in a white bowl sitting on a grey surface. A spoon sitting in the cheese mixture in the bowl.
In a bowl, stir together the cottage cheese, egg, parmesan cheese, and seasonings.
Cooked meat and veggie mixture is spread evenly on the bottom of a white casserole dish sitting on a white surface.
Spread a cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of baking dish.
A white casserole dish filled with a layer of vegetable and ground meat mixture, topped with rows of uncooked lasagna noodles. Uncooked lasagna noodles are topped with dollops of a cheese mixture.
Place 6 lasagna noodles over the sauce (it’s ok if they overlap slightly). Dollop about ½ of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles.
A white casserole dish filled with a layer of vegetable and ground meat mixture, topped with rows of uncooked lasagna noodles. Uncooked lasagna noodles are topped with cheese mixture spread out in an even layer.
Spread cottage cheese into an even layer over the lasagna noodles.
A white casserole dish filled with layers of uncooked lasagna sprinkled with shredded cheese on top.
Spoon and spread ½ of the meat sauce over the cottage cheese layer then sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella.
A white casserole dish filled with layers of uncooked lasagna sitting on a grey surface. The lasagna is topped with a layer of uncooked lasagna nooedles and marinara sauce spread evenly over the noodles.
Repeat the layering process (noodles, remaining cottage cheese, remaining meat sauce, and 1 cup of mozzarella). Finish with the final layer of noodles then evenly spread the 1 cup of plain marinara sauce over the top.
A white casserole dish flled with cooked lasagna sitting on a grey surface. Top layer of the lasagna is noodles and marinara sauce.
Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil then bake until the noodles are tender, 40 minutes.
A white casserole dish flled with cooked lasagna topped with unmelted shredded cheese. The casserole dish is sitting on a grey surface.
Carefully remove the foil then sprinkle the remaining 1 ½ cups of mozzarella over the top.
A white casserole dish containing lasagna. Casserole dish is sitting a cooling rack on a grey surface. Lasagna is surrounded by a napkin, salt and pepper shakers, a metal spatula, and small bowls with ingredients for the lasagna.
Bake until the cheese on top is melted and slightly browned around the edges, about 10 minutes. Allow the lasagna to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then cut into 12 squares and serve.

Suggested Adaptations

  • Switch up the veggies! You can use lots of different vegetables in this recipe. Eggplant, carrots, kale, cauliflower, broccoli…feel free to substitute for the vegetables in the recipe or use them in addition to those listed. You should have about 6 to 7 cups of small diced vegetables overall.
  • Make the veggies less obvious. If you are feeling iffy about how your family will respond to the added veggies in this beef lasagna, test out my tried-and-true method of using a food processor + the “S” blade to chop those veggies extra extra small. The smaller the veggies are, the more they will almost “melt” into the sauce as they cook.
  • Use a different meat. You could sub in ground venison, pork or even dark meat ground turkey for the beef in this lasagna recipe.
  • Make it meatless. If you want to make this dish vegetarian, just leave out the ground meat and add 2 more cups of diced vegetables of your choice. Additional chopped mushrooms are a great choice.
  • Don’t like cottage cheese? You can use the same amount of ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese, if you prefer.
  • Add some fresh herbs. If you have any fresh herbs such as basil or parsley, those would be great additions to this recipe. Stir ¼ to ½ cup of chopped herbs into the cottage cheese mixture, then proceed with the recipe as written.
  • Make it eggless. You can leave the egg out if you’d prefer. It helps the cheese mixture hold together—but the lasagna will still work well and taste great without it.

How to store and reheat lasagna

I love that lasagna makes for wonderful leftovers or to tuck away in the freezer for an SOS dinner. Here is how you can store this lasagna recipe for a quick and easy protein and veggie-loaded dinner on the fly!

  • Fridge: Let leftovers cool before covering and storing in fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave for 60-90 seconds—or cover the whole oven-safe tray in foil and warm in a 350℉ oven until hot.
  • Freezer: This lasagna can be assembled ahead of time, wrapped in foil, and then frozen for up to 2 months. Before baking, defrost in the fridge for a full day and then bake. (It may take an extra 10 to 15 minutes if you put the lasagna in the oven when it’s cold.) You can bake the lasagna from frozen, but it will take up to an hour and a half to bake. You can also freeze this lasagna in individual portions after baking. Just wrap each slice tightly in a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Defrost in you fridge overnight, then remove foil and plastic wrap before warming in the microwave for 60-90 seconds or until heated through.
A white casserole dish containing lasagna sliced into squares—and a metal spatula is sitting in an empty space in the lasagna. Casserole dish is sitting a cooling rack on a grey surface. Lasagna is surrounded by salt and pepper shakers, two white bowls each containing a sliced piece of the lasagna, and a small bowl with spinach leaves (out of frame).

Recipe Testing Note from Taesha

  • Be sure to cut your veggies small. I mention in the recipe to cut the bell peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini about 1/4 of an inch. Now, you don’t have to bust out a ruler while cooking dinner like I did (food blogger life!), but I do want to encourage you to eyeball that 1/4 of an inch. The smaller the dice, the more the veggies’ texture will blend into the sauce and beef in this lasagna. However, if you and your crew enjoy a chunkier veggie, you do you!

Other amazing veggie-loaded pasta recipes!

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A fork in a slice of lasagna sitting on a white bowl. The bowl is sitting on a grey surface and is surrounded by a napkin. Out of focus in the background is a white casserole dish filled with lasagna on a cooling rack and a few dishes.
Beef & Veggie Lasagna (with cottage cheese)
5 from 8 votes

Beef & Veggie Lasagna (with cottage cheese)

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cuisine: American, Italian
Course: dinner
Full of rich, classic flavors, this beef & veggie lasagna is going to become a dinner staple! Packed with protein from lean ground beef, cottage cheese, 4 different finely chopped vegetables (spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper, & zucchini), oven-ready noodles, and (of course) mozzarella cheese, this hearty dinner is healthy comfort food at it's finest!

Ingredients
 

For meat sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon (14 g) olive oil
  • 1 pound (453.59 g) lean ground beef, or ground turkey…dark meat will taste the best
  • 1 medium (1 medium) zucchini, diced small (¼ inch)
  • 1 medium (1 medium) red bell pepper, diced small (¼ inch)
  • 8 ounces (226.8 g) button or cremini mushrooms, diced small (¼ inch)
  • 2 cups (60 g) packed baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon (1 g) ground black pepper
  • cups (612.5 g) pasta sauce

For cottage cheese layer

  • 16 ounces (453.59 g) cottage cheese , preferably 4% or low-fat
  • 1 large (1 large) eggs
  • cup (33.33 g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) Italian seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon (0.5 g) ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon (1.5 g) garlic powder

To assemble

  • ½ pound (226.8 g) no-boil lasagna noodles , about 18 noodles
  • cups (392 g) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup (245 g) pasta sauce

Instructions
 

  •  Heat the oven to 375℉. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with oil or non-stick spray.

To make veggie-loaded meat sauce

  •  Add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and cook, breaking into small crumbles, until browned and cooked through. About 5-7 minutes
  • Stir in the zucchini, pepper, and mushroom, and continue to cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
  •  Stir in the spinach, garlic powder, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper, and marinara sauce. Simmer on low for 10 to 15 minutes to develop the flavors.

To make cottage cheese layer

  • In a bowl, stir together the cottage cheese, egg, parmesan cheese, and seasonings.

To assemble

  • Spread a cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of baking dish. Place 6 lasagna noodles over the sauce (it’s ok if they overlap slightly). Dollop about ½ of the cottage cheese mixture (about 1 ¼ cup) over the noodles then spread into an even layer. Spoon and spread ½ of the remaining meat sauce (about 2 ½ cups) over the cottage cheese layer then sprinkle with 1 cup of mozzarella.
  • Repeat the layering process (noodles, remaining cottage cheese, remaining meat sauce, and 1 cup of mozzarella). Finish with the final layer of noodles then evenly spread the 1 cup of plain marinara sauce over the top.
  • Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil then bake until the noodles are tender, 40 minutes.
  • Carefully remove the foil then sprinkle the remaining 1 ½ cups of mozzarella over the top. Bake until the cheese on top is melted and slightly browned around the edges, about 10 minutes.
  • Allow the lasagna to cool for 10 to 15 minutes then cut into 12 squares and serve.
Serving: 1piece, Calories: 323kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 66mg, Sodium: 760mg, Potassium: 643mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 1411IU, Vitamin C: 22mg, Calcium: 246mg, Iron: 2mg