Lasagna With Cottage Cheese

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5 from 89 votes
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This lasagna with cottage cheese is a lighter twist on the classic without sacrificing any flavor! It’s hearty, creamy, protein-packed, and cheesy.

Love unique lasagna recipes? Try my zucchini lasagna, seafood lasagna, eggplant lasagna, or keto lasagna next.

lasagna with cottage cheese.

I love a good homemade lasagna but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to make it a little bit healthier..provided it doesn’t sacrifice on flavor!

This is where my cottage cheese lasagna recipe comes into play. It’s a very minor swap which boasts tons of extra nutritional benefits without detracting from the dish whatsoever.

Table of Contents
  1. Why I love this recipe
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make lasagna with cottage cheese
  4. Arman’s recipe tips
  5. Storage instructions
  6. Frequently asked questions
  7. Lasagna With Cottage Cheese (Recipe Card)

Why I love this recipe

  • A lighter lasagna. Using cottage cheese instead of ricotta makes lasagna higher in protein and lower in fat.
  • No cottage cheese taste. The cottage cheese blends seamlessly into the noodles for creamy, cheesy goodness.
  • Perfect make-ahead meal. I love to prep a double batch and keep one in the freezer for busy weeknights. It can be cooked frozen and tastes just as good!

★★★★★ REVIEW 

“Five-star recipe! Thank you for this lighter take on lasagna. I switched the ground beef out for a lean ground turkey, and it also tasted great.”Sabrina

Ingredients needed

  • Ground beef. I prefer to use lean ground beef as it’s healthier, but any cut works. If you choose a higher-fat one, simmer the mixture for an extra 3-4 minutes to reduce the excess liquid.
  • Tomato sauce. No, not ketchup! This is 100% unsweetened tomatoes, often called Pasata.
  • Crushed tomatoes. Opt for tomatoes in their natural juices and one with minimal/no added spices.
  • Tomato paste. A small amount of tomato paste added to the sauce enriches the tomato flavors in it. 
  • Bell pepper. Chopped. 
  • Onion and garlic. To provide a rich flavor base for the sauce. 
  • Vinegar. Use red or white wine vinegar to balance out the acidity and tartness of the tomatoes. 
  • Seasonings. Kosher salt, black pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  • Sugar. To reduce the acidity of the tomatoes, you may need to add a small amount of sugar to the sauce. I’ve always added a pinch of sugar to all my pasta sauces (thanks, Mom!).

To assemble the lasagna:

  • Lasagna noodles. You will need 9 lasagna noodles to assemble this in a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Don’t worry if they break apart or you only have small ones, you can fit it all in.
  • Cottage cheese. To replicate the same texture and flavor of ricotta cheese, always choose full-fat cottage cheese and either small curd or smooth. If your cottage cheese is large curd, simply blend it until smooth before adding it to the lasagna.
  • Mozzarella cheese. Grated mozzarella cheese melts perfectly layered between the sauce and the lasagna noodles. 
  • Parmesan cheese. To finish off the lasagna with a bold cheesy flavor. 
  • Basil and parsley. To sprinkle on the lasagna before serving. 

How to make lasagna with cottage cheese

I’ve included step-by-step photos below to make this recipe easy to follow at home. For the full printable recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1- Cook the meat. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion, bell peppers, and minced garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant. Add the ground beef. Use a wooden spoon to break apart the meat and cook it until it’s no longer pink. 

lasagna meat sauce.

Step 2- Build the sauce. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 5 minutes, then remove.

meat sauce in baking dish.

Step 3- Assemble the lasagna by adding a thin layer of sauce to the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of lasagna noodles, followed by 1/3 of the cottage cheese and 1/3 of the grated mozzarella cheese, followed by more meat sauce. Repeat.

cottage cheese lasagna.

Step 4- Bake. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake the lasagna for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes.

cottage cheese lasagna recipe.

Arman’s recipe tips

  • Use a store-bought marinara sauce to save time. Or spaghetti sauce. I have tried both my pomodoro sauce and sugo recipe for this dish instead, and they have worked perfectly.
  • Freshly shredded mozzarella cheese melts better and tastes better, too, so skip the pre-shredded kind.
  • Take your time to divide the beef sauce and the grated cheese into even portions. Spread the sauce and the cheese evenly on the lasagna noodles so that each bite is full of flavor. 
  • While this recipe calls for only three layers of noodles, you can make 6 layers to make the lasagna more filling and feed more people. Simply double this recipe and you are good to go.

Variations

The beauty of this lasagna is just how easy it is to customize to change up ingredients or the flavor profile. Here are some of my favorite ways to tweak it:

  • Use other ground meat. Try ground turkey, ground chicken, ground pork, or even Italian sausage.
  • Add veggies to the sauce. Baby spinach, sliced zucchini, grated carrots, and diced celery are great additions.
  • Roast the bell peppers. Adding roasted peppers to the beef sauce will give it a hint of smokiness. 
  • Make a bechamel. If you prefer your cheesy sauce to be even creamier, add two eggs.
  • Use fresh noodles. You’ll just need to boil the noodles first.

Storage instructions

To store: Place leftovers in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to five days.

To freeze: Leftover cottage cheese lasagna can be stored in individual portions in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Make ahead: Assemble the lasagna, cover it with aluminum foil, and freeze it for up to 3 months. When it’s time to bake it, remove the frozen lasagna from the freezer and bake it covered until it defrosts and cooks. Remove the foil cover and bake the lasagna until the top is bubbly and golden brown.  

lasagna cottage cheese.

Frequently asked questions

Is this recipe gluten-free?

This recipe is gluten-free so long as you use gluten-free lasagna noodles. Check the label on the cottage cheese too. Some brands add wheat starch to cottage cheese to improve its consistency. 

lasagna recipe with cottage cheese.

Lasagna With Cottage Cheese

5 from 89 votes
This lasagna with cottage cheese is a lighter twist on the classic without sacrificing any flavor! It's hearty, creamy, protein-packed, and cheesy. Watch the video below to see how I make it in my kitchen!
Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 45 minutes

Video

Ingredients  

Meat sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 large bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound ground beef I used extra lean beef
  • 28 ounces tomato sauce
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 14 ounces canned tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Lasagna

  • 1/2 pound lasagna noodles 9 large sheets
  • 24 ounces cottage cheese
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 4 ounces parmesan cheese freshly grated

Instructions 

  • In a non-stick pan, add the olive oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, bell peppers, and garlic, and cook until fragrant. Once cooked, add the ground beef and use a wooden spoon to break it apart. Cook until no longer pink.
  • Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and crushed tomatoes, along with the remaining meat sauce ingredients, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to low and let everything simmer for 5 minutes, or until it has thickened.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish or pan.
  • To assemble the lasagna, add a thin layer of the meat sauce to the bottom. Next, add a layer of lasagna noodles, followed by 1/3 of the cottage cheese, and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese, followed by more meat sauce. Repeat this process until all the lasagna noodles are used up. Top with the remaining cheeses, along with the Parmesan cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake the lasagna for 25 minutes, before removing the foil for another 15 minutes. Let the lasagna cook in the pan for 10 minutes, before slicing and serving.

Notes

TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days.
TO FREEZE: Place the cooked and cooled lasagna in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to two months.
TO REHEAT: Microwave portions of the lasagna for 30-40 seconds or reheat in a preheated oven. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 315kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 35gFat: 8gSodium: 1200mgPotassium: 677mgFiber: 4gVitamin A: 966IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 552mgIron: 3mgNET CARBS: 23g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Originally published December 2022, updated and republished May 2024

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Delicious! Easy to follow! I substituted with soya mince and it turned out incredible. There were no leftovers!

  2. 5 stars
    Five star recipe! Thank you for this lighter take on lasagna. I switched the ground beef out for lean ground turkey and it also tasted great. What do you recommend to decrease some of the water/moisture in the pan and thicken it up?

    1. Hi Sabrina- so glad to hear that! You could use blended cottage cheese and/or a leaner ground beef- unfortunately, even traditional lasagna gets some moisture 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    I found a simple and excellent way to make the noodles. All you have to do is take all the noodles and put them in a large roaster pan, cover them with very hot water and put the lid on. Let them sit for 30 minutes and voila perfect noodles no more hassle of boiling them. I am not sure if you put your noodles in raw when assembling the lasagna because it’s not stated.

  4. 5 stars
    Memories! My grandma used to make her lasagna with cottage cheese. I can’t wait to try this one. Your recipes are always so good. Thank You!

  5. nice ingredient swap and yes, don’t notice much of a difference in flavor with cottage cheese, so thank you!

  6. I’m Italian and switched to cottage cheese years ago. Ricotta has a tendency to get grainy. I do add lots of seasoning and an egg or two to the cheese and run my stick blender through it to smooth it out. Try it – I think you’ll like it.

  7. Well now…how did you get into my 60 year old recipe box??? That sounds like my recipe and yes, I always used cottage cheese! The major difference was 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 Italian sausage and homemade tomato sauce. Yes, cottage cheese tastes just fine! Thank you for the work you do providing good recipes. I use several of them…and collect quite a few that I haven’t used…yet! I don’t cook much just for myself anymore, but I sure like reading recipes and thinking…”oh, that would be good”, or “yes, that is easy”! 🙂