Homemade no-boil lasagna bechamel with mushroom bolognese is simply the best! This union of two traditional sauces to create the world's favorite casserole is a match made in heaven. Shall we?
Everyone loves lasagna! What’s not to love?
This worshipped casserole is all about comforting layers of pasta sheets softened with decadent toppings, and crowned with endless cheese. Yum!
There are many, many ways to make it. However, today’s lasagna with no-cook sheets will quickly become your favorite.
This (almost) from scratch recipe is a perfect union of traditional and modern. Except for the noodles, everything is homemade!
Today's lasagna bechamel is stuffed with mushroom bolognese for that traditional rich and juicy taste. For the modern twist, I used the no-boil noodles and semi-hard Edam cheese instead of Parmesan.
A word of warning! This dish requires patience, attention, and caressing. In that vein, if you only have 30 minutes to make dinner, you’re better off trying our chicken and rice casserole or leek risotto.
Lasagna, in the words of a Washington Post article, “has never been an everyday dish!”
Why This Recipe Works
1. Like all the best lasagnas this one is made with two excellent sauces: bechamel and bolognese!
- Bechamel is a basic, white sauce belonging to French mother sauces. It’s made with milk (or heavy cream) that’s thickened with a roux (paste made with equal parts flour and fat). Bechamel is used by itself, or to enrich other sauces.
- Bolognese is the best known Italian meat sauce, known also as ragù by the Bolognese. Although recipes vary, the best kind is made by a long simmer of ground or minced beef (and fatty pork), over onions (and other vegetables) until a thick, aromatic sauce forms. (The addition of portabellas makes today's sauce mushroom bolognese.)
2. No-boil sheets will become your go-to!
- Nothing beats homemade lasagna sheets! Homemade is best.
- BUT! If you’re buying, and choosing between regular and oven ready lasagna sheets, choose the second kind. No cook noodles are a long way from the thick, dry sheets they used to be back in the day. That's right! Perfectly thin and moist, combined with rich sauces, today's no boil pasta comes out soft and delicious.
3. Instead of Parmesan (or Parmigiano-Reggiano) I’ve used Edam!
- Lasagna is usually made with either bechamel sauce or ricotta cheese. (Bechamel is usually topped with Parmesan.) So bechamel vs ricotta, which one should you use?
- It's a matter of preference. If you like a grittier taste, go with ricotta. Just know that the texture of baked ricotta is different than the fresh.
- Myself, I’ve always been the bechamel lasagna type of girl. And, while I like Parmesan, I love Edam! It’s a Dutch cheese, and has nothing to do with Italian cuisine. But for whatever reason, it makes the dish taste divine.
- Bolognese meat: Sub with ground turkey or pork. For a stronger taste, add 2-3 ounces diced bacon to the beef.
- Bechamel: Sub the sauce with ricotta but be aware that the texture is gritty and drier, especially when baked.
- Mushrooms: Sub with cremini, shiitake or a mix of. Not a fan of mushrooms? Sub with diced zucchini.
- Cheese: Sub with Parmesan for a more Italian taste. Otherwise, use Gouda. For freshest taste shred cheese at home.
Our lightning-fast instructions are here to give you an idea of how to prepare no-bake lasagna noodles with lasagna bechamel and mushroom bolognese. For more detailed information look at the recipe card below!
How to make mushroom bolognese sauce for no-boil lasagna:
- Heat up oil. Caramelize garlic and onion.
- Add ground beef. Simmer.
- Add mushrooms. Simmer.
- Add tomato sauce, herbs and spices. Simmer. Remove off heat.
How to make bechamel sauce for no cook lasagna:
- Melt butter.
- Add flour. Whisk until a smooth paste forms.
- Whisk in milk.
- Finally, whisk in heavy cream. Stir until the sauce thickens. Remove off heat.
How to assemble lasagna with no cook noodles:
- Line baking pan with no-boil lasagna sheets. Heat oven.
- Cover lasagna sheets with bechamel.
- Spread bolognese over bechamel.
- Top bolognese with grated cheese. Repeat 3 more times, but leave cheese off the last layer. Bake lasagna 15 min.
- Add remaining cheese on top. Bake 5 more min.
- Serve your lasagna bechamel with mushroom bolognese warm.
No-boil Lasagna Noodles Tips
What are no cook lasagna sheets like? In looks and taste these are closer to homemade lasagna than the regular. These thin noodles don’t require cooking ahead. Finished they’re soft and smooth.
They soften during baking: They soften by being baked in topping juices. As long as your sauces are juicy (if you follow our recipe they will be!) the sheets will soften perfectly. No boil lasagna doesn’t expand but instead behaves just like the homemade.
Soaking ahead: No need to soften or soak no-boil noodles ahead. If you really insist, boil them for 1-2 minutes only. Again, not necessary at all!
Substituting sheets: Substitute no boil for regular sheets easily by skipping the boiling step, and layering them as they are.
Assembling: Layer this lasagna the same way as any other. Think several rich layers of bechamel, bolognese, and cheese nicely divided by lacy layers of no-boil lasagna noodles.
Baking time: No boil lasagna doesn’t require longer baking! Bechamel and bolognese soften the noodles during the 15-20 minute bake.
Make ahead: Assemble lasagna bechamel just before baking. Mushroom bolognese sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge. Bechamel sauce should be made just ahead of the assembly.
Storage: Keep leftover lasagna in the fridge for up to 2 days in a tightly sealed plastic wrap.
Freezing: If you’re wondering how to freeze lasagna bechamel with no boil noodles, after baking, allow it to cool down, put into freezer bags (or containers), then freeze. You can cut it up, or freeze it whole up to 1 month. To bake, thaw completely. Bake for 20 minutes, top with cheese and bake another 5-10 minutes.
Reheating: Heat in the oven (highly preferred!) or microwave. If it was frozen, let thaw completely before baking.
- Breaded baked zucchini
- Ground beef potato moussaka
- Ground beef and potato pie
- Spinach pie
- Baked Stuffed Eggplant
If you make no-boil lasagna bechamel with muhsroom bolognese and like it, please consider giving it a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5-star) rating. This helps others find the recipe more easily!
Also, feel free to leave a comment (I read each one!), and don't forget to tag a photo #balkanlunchbox, or us @balkanlunchbox, on IG.
Prijatno and bon appetit!
No-Boil Lasagna Bechamel with Mushroom Bolognese
- 6 tablespoons oil
- 1 onion larger, diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 16 ounces ground beef
- 10.5 - 12 ounces portabello mushrooms
- 7 ounces tomato sauce
- Herbs and spices to taste parsley, celery, basil, oregano, salt, pepper or about ½ teaspoon each
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter unsalted
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 16 ounces milk warm
- 7 ounces heavy cream warm
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 14-16 ounces cheese gouda, edam, or other hard yellow cheese, grated
- No boil lasagna sheets I used 12 sheets sized 3.5x7 inches*
- In a large pan, heat up oil over medium (2 min). Add onion and garlic and simmer until crystalized (3-5 min).
- Add ground beef and simmer until no longer pink, stirring occasionally (5 min).
- Add mushrooms, stir well and simmer until mushrooms sweat (6-7 min).
- Stir in tomato sauce, herbs, spices and sugar. Simmer (2-3 min), and remove off heat. The sauce should have more liquid than the usual bolognese.
- In a large, wide pan melt butter on low to medium (2 min).
- Add flour and whisk vigorously to prevent lumps from forming while forming a paste (1-2 min). The mix should achieve a golden color and be smooth.
- Stir (or whisk) in milk.
- Stir (or whisk) in heavy cream and salt. Continue stirring (2-3 min) and watching the thickness. When the sauce is about the thickness of tomato sauce, or thinner it is done.* Remove off heat.
- Line bottom of a baking pan (9x13 inch or 22x33cm) with lasagna sheets.* Heat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Add a layer of bechamel (roughly ¼ of the sauce), and evenly distribute, covering lasagna sheets completely.
- Add a layer of bolognese (roughly ¼ of the sauce) over bechamel, and evenly distribute.
- Top bolognese with cheese (¼ of grated cheese). Repeat steps 1-4 three more times, but don’t put the cheese on the top most layer right away. (Layer 1: lasagna sheets, bechamel, bolognese, cheese; layer 2: lasagna sheets, bechamel, bolognese, cheese; layer 3: lasagna sheets, bechamel, bolognese, cheese; layer 4: lasagna sheets, bechamel and bolognese.) Bake 15 minutes.
- Take lasagna out and top with remaining cheese. Return to oven for 5 more minutes.
- Serve warm.
I used a deep pan 10.5 X 7.5 and that worked well, accommodating all of the noodles, layers, and ingredients. This is simple and delicious. I had ground beef and mushrooms and didn't want to make stroganoff. I can see why you make this often. Thanks for a great idea that can work for company but is simple enough to make on a weeknight. I added bay leaf (which I took out before creating the layers) and nutmeg to the bechamel (an italian touch). Thanks so much for this lovely recipe.
Elisabeth, we're so happy you liked it. Thanks for sharing your experience and tips. We're sure they'll be helpful to future readers. Bon appetit, or as we say, prijatno!
Ive been searchhing for a good Bolognese sauce. Much to my avail I am confused. Do I start with the carrots, celery & onion? Or mushrooms, red pepper & onions,?hamburger and ground pork/Italian sausage?
Vicki, there are no peppers or carrots in the recipe. Celery seasoning is used. Start by simmering onions until translucent, then add meat. When meat is light brown add mushrooms. Once they release their fluid add the seasonings and tomato sauce. Your bolognese for this recipe is then done. Try watching the video, it should clear it up.
This is absolutely scrumptious. Leftovers don't last long if there are any!
Thanks Elisabeth! ☺️