If I’m taking the time to make a truly special dinner, chances are it’s probably Italian. It’s just my favorite cuisine and I find that generally, the time pays off in a delicious dinner. This Spinach Ricotta Lasagna is truly special and worth the time!

Layers of lasagna noodles stack up with thin smears of a fresh spinach ricotta mixture and a creamy bechamel sauce. It puffs up as it bakes and makes for a wonderful white spinach ricotta lasagna that’s very different than the meat and red sauce lasagna you might be used to.

Trust me when I say that it’s a hit and it’s worth the work!

I love that green stacked pasta thing!

– My 7-year-old daughter.

How to prepare spinach for lasagna

Anytime you are preparing an ingredient for lasagna the thing you want to watch is the water content. If you add something with a lot of water to it then your finished lasagna is going to be a soupy mess.

Spinach can be tricky because it’s mostly water!

Sauteeing spinach to remove water.

Instead of using frozen spinach, use fresh spinach and saute it with olive oil and shallot until it’s dry. Then you can use it in the recipe knowing that most of the water is cooked out!

Crunch Time Tips

This spinach tip along with the base for this recipe is from a Food Lab Spinach Lasagna Recipe that uses fresh pasta.

Making the ricotta mixture

Once you have the spinach cooked, you can make the ricotta mixture which is half of the mixture we will use for this lasagna.

Divide the ricotta cheese in the recipe in half and add half to a food processor with the egg and process until smooth. Then remove it and mix in a bowl with the chunky ricotta cheese (this helps with the texture of the sauce).

Add the spinach to the food processor and pulse it until it’s in a chopped paste.

Spinach chopped in a food processor.

Then you can mix this spinach mixture into the ricotta mixture to finish the filling. It should be thick enough to hold its shape.

Finished ricotta mixture in a bowl.

Crunch Time Tips

Don’t have a food processor? That’s okay! Just whisk together the ricotta ingredients and chop the spinach as fine as you can and stir it in. All will be okay!

Making the bechamel sauce

While it may seem like overkill to add a bechamel sauce to a lasagna that already has a ricotta base, just trust me on it. It works out great because you keep the layers very thin for both.

Nothing fancy about this bechamel sauce.

Start it with butter melted in a medium pot and whisk in the flour. Once that has cooked into a roux, whisk in the milk until it has thickened like a thin gravy.

Add in half the cheeses, the nutmeg, and season with salt and pepper.

Note: A traditional bechamel sauce doesn’t have the cheese, but I like the consistency to melt half the cheese in the sauce and sprinkle half in the layers.

Bechamel cheese sauce for lasagna.

Cheeses that work well for spinach ricotta lasagna

I am far from a cheese gate-keeper when it comes to lasagna. I can tell you I always like to use low-moisture mozzarella and parmesan in mine (the fresh mozzarella is too watery).

While I do like ricotta for this recipe, you can also substitute cottage cheese and probably nobody will notice.

To add a little more flavor to the cheese, I recommend also adding some gruyere or something with a little more flavor. Jarslberg is another cheese that works well in lasagna.

What kinds of lasagna noodles do I use?

I prefer two types of noodles for my spinach ricotta lasagna.

The best option is to make homemade pasta. This is a slog and you need a lot of fresh pasta to make a lasagna. I do this exactly once a year for Christmas Eve.

The next best option (and what I did for the version in these pictures) is to use no-cook sheets of lasagna.

While you don’t have to boil them, I actually do like to toss them in salted water for about 90 seconds to expand them so they fit better and also so they don’t soak up too much liquid in the final lasagna.

Cooking the lasagna noodles.

Making and Baking the Lasagna

Once you have all the pieces done, this spinach ricotta lasanga is fun to toss together.

Start with a little bechamel sauce in the bottom of your dish. Layer in noodles, top with a thin layer of the spinach ricotta mixture, a thin splash of the bechamel sauce, and a sprinkle of cheese.

Repeat until you run out of noodles or sauce or both! I usually get 6-7 layers from my batch or around 10 layers if I use homemade pasta which ends up being thinner.

Building the spinach lasagna.

Too much work? I get it. Try my lasagna rolls or my free-form lasagna stack!

Once all your layers are done, top the lasagna with any leftover sauces and cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 400˚F for 20 minutes. Then remove the foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes until the lasagna is puffed and browned in spots.

Most importantly, let this rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving!

Baked Spinach Ricotta Lasagna.

Servings options for the Spinach Lasagna

This is a hearty dish and should be served with lighter side dishes. I like a light salad like a beet salad or a kale salad would be really nice.


I wouldn’t try to substitute too much in this recipe, but here are a few ideas.

  • You can substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta cheese without issue.
  • If you don’t like spinach, you could try this with sauteed broccolini, chopped and layered in the lasagna.
  • Looking to add meat to the lasagna? Seared crumbled Italian sausage would be a perfect addition.
  • If lasagna isn’t your thing, you can use the same filling to stuff manicotti shells and then bake with the bechamel sauce on top! (See my turkey manicotti for some guidance there).


You will almost certainly have leftovers of this lasagna. That’s good news because it keeps really well in the fridge for a week or so and you can freeze individual slices, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to three months.

Reheat the lasagna either in a 350˚F oven until warmed through, or you can heat in a skillet so the edges get crispy.

The microwave is also an option and the lasagna holds up fine to a quick blast from the microwave.

Spinach Ricotta Lasagna

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Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Resting Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
A traditional white lasagna layered with sauteed spinach, ricotta cheese, and a creamy bechamel sauce. Truly a wonderful and special lasagna that would be a great Italian centerpiece dish for any occasion.



  • 2 9-ounce boxes no-boil lasagna sheets, cooked al dente
  • 8 ounces low-moisture mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
  • 8 ounces gruyere cheese, or similar, grated, divided
  • 2 ounces parmesan cheese, grated

Ricotta Mixture:

  • 1 ½ pounds fresh spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs

Bechamel Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 ½ – 4 cups whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


For Ricotta Mixture:

  • Rinse spinach leaves well and dry. Trim off any long stems, but some stems are fine.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and shallot and cook for a few minutes until shallot softened. Add all the fresh spinach and cook until spinach is wilted and dry (not still releasing water), about 6-7 minutes.
  • Remove spinach from heat and let cool. Add to a colander and press with a few paper towels to remove more water.
  • In a food processor, add half of the ricotta mixture, the eggs, and a pinch of salt and pulse until smooth. Scoop out ricotta mixture into a large bowl with remainder of the ricotta cheese (un-processed).
  • Add spinach to the food processor and pulse until chopped. Stir the chopped spinach mixture into the ricotta mixture. Set aside.

For Bechamel Sauce:

  • In a medium pot over medium heat, melt butter and whisk in flour. Cook until it turns a light tan color making a roux.
  • Slowly whisk in the milk in 1 cup batches, waiting for the mixture to thicken before adding more. When all the milk is in and the sauce is the consistency of a light gravy, whisk in half of the cheeses and the nutmeg and set aside.

For noodles:

  • If you are using no-cook lasagna noodles, you do not have to cook them before using them, but I like to blanch them in salted water so they expand a bit and it ensures your lasagna has the right texture and consistency.
  • You can also use fresh lasagna noodles if you want to make fresh pasta.

For Spinach Lasagna:

  • Preheat oven to 400˚F. In a 9×13 baking dish, spoon in about 1/2 cup of the bechamel sauce and add a layer of lasagna noodles. Top with a thin layer of the spinach ricotta mixture and a thin layer of bechamel sauce. Sprinkle sparingly with cheeses.
  • Repeat this layering (noodles, spinach mixture, bechamel sauce, cheese) until you use up all the noodles. You should get 6-7 layers of lasagna. Top the lasagna with the last of the sauces and the cheese.
  • Cover the lasagna with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 20-25 minutes until lasagna is puffed and cooked through.
  • Let lasagna rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Serving: 1piece | Calories: 627kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 26g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 187mg | Sodium: 882mg | Potassium: 851mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 9391IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 1028mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian

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