This homemade kale lasagna uses no-boil noodles to cut down on prep time, and cottage cheese for a twist on the classic ricotta filling.

Spicy kale lasagna

Lasagna is one of those rare dishes that has it all. It’s comforting, but at the same time elegant. It’s substantial, yet also fairly economical. It can involve meat or easily stand on its own without. Basically, it’s the perfect versatile entrée to serve for guests or enjoy on a cozy night in (thank you, Italy!). It seems that many families have their own favorite recipe for this dish. For whatever reason it wasn’t a staple in my household, so Alex and I had to forge our way into new territory on this one. Three pans and a lot of research later, we’ve finally emerged with a recipe that we enjoy. This spicy kale lasagna takes a little over an hour to make, but it’s well worth the effort.

Other favorites? Spaghetti squash lasagna, vegan lasagna and vegetarian lasagna.

Kale
You can use either curly kale or Tuscan kale in this lasagna.

What makes it the best kale lasagna?

If you’re hesitant to add kale to your lasagna, we urge you to try this recipe! The kale is boiled first and then doused in cold water to prevent it from cooking further. Since kale is a fairly tough leafy green, boiling it first ensures that no chewy bits make their way into your lasagna. After you’ve boiled the kale, make sure to wring out all the water so your lasagna isn’t too wet.

The earthy flavor of the kale is complemented by the spicy red pepper flakes, creamy cottage cheese, and gooey mozzarella, making this dish hard to resist. You’ll also make your own tomato sauce using crushed tomatoes, garlic and herbs. Of course, if all of this still hasn’t convinced you to make this spicy kale lasagna, feel free to use spinach or another leafy green instead!

Lasagna noodles

Important: use no boil noodles!

To cut down on the prep time for this kale lasagna, use no-boil noodles instead of regular noodles. They’re a little strange to use at first, but once you’ve tasted the final dish you’ll be amazed you’ve never tried no-boil noodles before! The noodles are specially formulated to re-hydrate while they’re baked in the tomato sauce. Because of that: do not use standard lasagna noodles for this recipe! You’ll risk ending up with a watery pan.

How to serve kale lasagna

You’re welcome to sneak some extra veggies into this spicy kale lasagna, but I really don’t think anything extra is needed here. The combination of cheese, kale, and tomatoes is simple but satisfying, and the layers of noodles will certainly fill you up.

What’s the best side to serve with lasagna? We think it’s a simplest old standard: a green salad! And don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of wine! Here are a few easy salads we’d recommend:

This spicy kale lasagna recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten free, use gluten free noodles.

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Sides to go with lasagna

Spicy Kale Lasagna


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x

Description

This homemade kale lasagna uses no-boil noodles to cut down on prep time, and cottage cheese for a twist on the classic ricotta filling.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/4 pounds kale (around 3 bunches)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (with herbs if possible)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 cups cottage cheese
  • ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pound no-boil whole wheat lasagna noodles (or noodles cooked according to the package instructions)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Prepare the kale: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Roughly chop the kale. Boil the kale leaves for 2 minutes, then drain and rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle. Using a towel, wring out as much water as possible from the kale. Chop it and season with kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Make the tomato sauce: Meanwhile, mince the garlic. In a cold saucepan, combine garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes (or less depending on your spice tolerance), and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to medium high heat, stirring as the mixture heats up. Saute for about 30 seconds, then add the crushed tomatoes. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  4. Make the filling: Strain out all liquid from the cottage cheese (squeeze it in a strainer). Add ½ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper.
  5. Assemble the lasagna: Place a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9” x 13” baking dish. Cover the sauce with a layer of noodles, then half of the cheese mixture, half of the kale, and half of the remaining sauce. Add another layer of noodles, the remaining cheese, and the remaining kale. Top with the remaining noodles, then the remaining sauce. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

Adapted from Vegetarian Times

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

Keywords: kale lasagna, vegetarian, easy, no boil

Looking for more vegetarian Italian recipes?

Outside of this spicy kale lasagna, here are a few of our favorite Italian recipes:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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34 Comments

  1. I love the idea of doing a spicy version of the leafy green. I’ve done variations on vegetable lasagna with both red sauces and bechamel/white sauces. Usually my vegetable filling is just a combination of whatever leafy green vegetable plus whatever other vegetables I may have on hand. I recommend slicing up some mushrooms or bell peppers and sauteing them together, then mixing with cheese mixture (I usually use ricotta, parmesean mixed with one egg and salt and pepper). My layers are sauce, cheese/vegetable mix, noodle, sauce, etc.

    1. Sounds excellent! We were going for a “simple-ish” recipe so did not add extra veggies, but we’ll definitely try that as a future variation!

  2. Wonderful recipe. A healthy alternative to a traditional favorite too.

    I’d love for your to submit them to Vegolicious, a vegetarian food photo gallery where readers can browse beautiful photos to discover new recipes and wonderful blogs. If you would like to share this recipe with our readers please submit http://www.vegolicious.com/submit a photo along with a link to this post.

  3. Love it! We’ve not made it to the Winter Farmer’s Market yet this year. Last year we were there every other weekend… Hope you two were warm and safe during the ice storm. I was amazed at how clear the roads were today.

  4. Great use of kale! It’s a funky vegetable to cook, it’s so easy to get sick of it especially when your farmer sends it every.single.week. in your CSA. I’m totally snagging this recipe to get through the rest of kale season.

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