Extra cheesy lasagna layered with a fresh from scratch tomato bolognese sauce, no-boil oven ready noodles, and a rich and creamy brown butter sage bechamel sauce. Baked to soft, saucy, gooey perfection and served piping hot straight from the oven. A fancy, upgraded version of a classic cheese lasagna, this recipe is sure to impress yourself and others!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
This is the best lasagna recipe, made with no ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, or meat for the most delicious vegetarian meal that serves two to four.
The brown butter sage bechamel sauce is super creamy and flavorful and gives the lasagna a richer depth of flavor.
It takes all the same flavors you know and love with lasagna and gives them a fancy upgraded twist!
Step by Step Video
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Onion- I personally prefer yellow or sweet onion, but a white onion will work as well.
- San Marzano whole tomatoes- San Marzano tomatoes are thicker and more flavorful than standard tomato varieties. You can substitute regular canned whole tomatoes but the sauce will need to cook longer so it's not too liquid.
- Sage- fresh sage, not dried. The sage is going to fry up in the butter while it browns to infuse it with the most flavor.
- Flour- all purpose flour is needed to thicken the bechamel sauce.
- Gruyere cheese- can be substituted with a slightly sweet and salty Swiss related cheese like Manchego cheese.
- Parmesan cheese- can be substituted with a cheese like Fontina or Asiago.
- No boil lasagna noodles- makes layering the lasagna really quick and the noodles bake up perfectly. This recipe has not been tested with noodles that you boil first.
Note: Full ingredient measurements and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page
Step 1: In a food processor, add the carrot, onion, and celery and pulse for 20 seconds until they are finely diced.
Step 2: Add the diced vegetables into a large saute pan with olive oil and saute for 10 minutes until tender.
Step 3: Add the tomato paste to the pan and mix to combine. Crush the whole tomatoes with your hands and add them with some of the sauce into the pan. Season with the salt, pepper, and sugar then simmer over medium low heat for 15 minutes.
Step 4: Pour in the heavy cream and mix to combine. Pour the sauce into a bowl and set aside to cool.
Step 5: In a large saute pan, add the butter and sage leaves. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and stir occasionally as the butter will bubble, foam, and pop while it changes color.
Step 6: When the butter is an amber brown color, remove the sage leaves and discard. Then let the butter cool for 5 minutes.
Step 7: Whisk the flour into the butter until well combined and bring it to a simmer.
Step 8: Whisking constantly, add the milk a little bit at a time and whisk until smooth. Simmer for 5 minutes until it starts to thicken.
Step 9: Add the parmesan and gruyere cheese and whisk to combine. Take the pan off the heat and pour the sauce into a bowl. Set aside.
Step 10: In a 5x8 baking pan, spoon some of the sauce and cheese on the bottom. Mix it with a bit of water, this will keep the noodle from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Place two no boil noodles on top.
Step 11: Spoon some of the sauce on top of the noodles.
Step 12: Add some of the brown butter sage bechamel sauce on top.
Step 13: Continue layering the lasagna until all of the bechamel and tomato sauce are used. The last layer should be topped with extra parmesan cheese.
When the lasagna is done, the edges of the dish should be bubbly and the cheese on top should be completely melting and starting to brown along the edges. After the lasagna bakes up into gooey perfection, give it a few minutes to rest before serving.
You definitely want to serve this meal straight after baking, but it will be easier to cut and remove from the pan after it cools a bit.
This deliciously hearty meal can be served with a light salad and a glass of red wine for lunch or dinner. It's impressive for a stay at home date night, anniversary, or holiday gathering and tastes even better the next day!
Don't leave it out! Wrap up any leftovers after the lasagna has completely cooled and keep it in the fridge for you to enjoy the next day.
Wanting to make this ahead of time? You can easily make this lasagna the night before and keep it in the fridge until you're ready to bake it.
It can also be frozen before baking for up to one month! It's best to assemble it in the pan you will bake it in, then wrap it in foil or plastic wrap before keeping it in the freezer.
FAQ + Expert Tips
- Crush the tomatoes into small pieces before adding them to the sauce so you don't get huge chunks of tomato in the lasagna.
- Cover the dish when you first put it in the oven- this will allow the noodles to cook and retain the moisture in the sauce so it doesn't dry out.
More Deliciously Savory Meals
- Baked Penne with Spicy Vodka Sauce
- Green Chile Grilled Macaroni and Cheese Sandwiches
- Easy Chewy Pizza Dough
- No Knead Focaccia Bread
Baked Cheesy Lasagna Recipe
- food processor
- saute pan
- 5x8 baking dish
Tomato Bolognese Sauce
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
- ½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 2 celery stalks, washed and roughly chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1-28 ounce can of whole San Marzano tomatoes crushed, about 3 cups
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup heavy cream
Brown Butter Sage Bechamel Sauce
- 8 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 10 fresh sage leaves
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups 2% milk
- ⅔ cup gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 12 sheets no boil, oven ready lasagna noodles
- parmesan cheese, to top
Making the Tomato Bolognese Sauce
- In a food processor, add the carrot, celery, garlic and onion and mix on high for 20 seconds or until the vegetables are minced finely.1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks, ½ medium yellow onion, roughly chopped, 2 celery stalks, washed and roughly chopped, 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- Place a large saute pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is shiny and fragrant, add the minced vegetables. Saute for 10 minutes until soft.1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add the tomato paste and mix to combine it with the vegetables.1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Crush the tomatoes with your hands and then pour everything into the pan and season with the salt, pepper, and sugar. Mix to combine. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.1-28 ounce can of whole San Marzano tomatoes, ¼ teaspoon pepper, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon sugar
- Turn off the heat and add the heavy cream. Mix it into the sauce to combine, then set the sauce aside.¼ cup heavy cream
Making the Brown Butter Bechamel Sauce
- In a large sauce pan, add the stick of butter and sage leaves. Place on the stover over medium high heat for 7 minutes until the butter looks brown and there are small brown bits. Turn the stove off and carefully remove the sage with a slotted spoon and discard. Let the butter cool for a few minutes.8 tablespoon unsalted butter, 10 fresh sage leaves
- When the butter has slightly cooled, turn the stove on medium heat and whisk in the flour.½ cup all purpose flour
- Slowly add a little bit of milk into the pan while whisking constantly so you don't get lumps. Continue adding milk a bit at a time until it's all incorporated. Let the sauce bubble and simmer for 5 minutes, whisking every minute, until the sauce starts to thicken.2 cups 2% milk
- Add the parmesan, gruyere cheese, and pepper and whisk to combine them into the sauce. Turn the heat off but keep whisking until all of the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth.⅔ cup gruyere cheese, shredded, 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded, ¼ teaspoon pepper
Layering the Lasagna
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/177 degrees C.
- In a 5x8 baking dish, add about ⅛ cup of water to the bottom along with a 2-3 tablespoons of the tomato sauce. Add 2 lasagna noodles on top. Then add about ¼ cup of tomato sauce on top of the noodles, using a spoon to cover the noodles.12 sheets no boil, oven ready lasagna noodles
- Add about ¼ cup of the cheese sauce on top of the tomato sauce and use the spoon to spread it out evenly. Top with another layer of 2 noodles. Continue layering the lasagna until the baking dish is full, ending with the top layer being the sauce and cheese.
- Sprinkle more shredded parmesan cheese on top then cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes covered, then remove the foil and bake another 10-15 minutes uncovered until the cheese is melted and bubbly.parmesan cheese, to top
- Serve hot with extra parmesan cheese, fresh basil and sage to top!
- The butter will make crackling sounds and will look kind of foamy. When you see brown bits and it smells nutty, the butter is done.
- Don't leave the butter on the stove unattended or it will burn.
- You can substitute Asiago, Manchego, or Fontina for the Parmesan or Gruyere cheese.