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My go-to dinner for feeding the family, Pesto Bolognese Lasagna. Slow cooked Italian style Bolognese sauce with a mix of beef, peppers, sweet tomatoes, and herbs. All layered with basil pesto ricotta, provolone cheese, and no-boil lasagna noodles. This is the classic lasagna updated with an easier method and so much more flavor. Serve this topped with a generous amount of parmesan cheese for a comforting lasagna that everyone will love. This is a great make ahead dinner to serve to family or use for your next holiday dinner party.

overhead photo of Pesto Bolognese Lasagna with cut pieces

We’re officially just one week from Christmas Eve, and two weeks from New Year’s Eve. I’m hoping that soon everyone will be settling into a much slower holiday mode, and preparing to spend some time with family and friends over the next couple of weeks.

For me, I have a few more busy days ahead. But I’m really looking forward to at least a couple of days off. I’ll be spending time with my parents, siblings, and cousins who will all be with us this Christmas. And little miss Asher and I have a Christmas afternoon planned later this week. It’s truly my favorite time of year. I love that no matter how busy or crazy things are with work and life, everything slows for a couple of days, the snow falls (hopefully), and we all just take a minute to breath.

bolognese sauce

All of my siblings are already here except Brendan and Lyndsie, but the rest of the family arrives this Friday. Before the chaos that comes with eighteen people arrives, I’m attempting to get ahead by prepping a few dinners. It’s much easier said than done, but as said, lasagna are my go-to when it comes to feeding the masses.

I make one white lasagna, and one or two more classic lasagna. Last week I shared my favorite white pesto lasagna. This week it’s time for the more classic, Bolognese style, lasagna.

overhead close up photo of Pesto Bolognese Lasagna

This is without a doubt everyone’s favorite dish. The boys of the house look forward to this lasagna ever single year. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t love it. Unless you are vegetarian in which case you should definitely check out my white lasagna.

The secret is all in the sauce. A slow cooked Bolognese sauce is what makes for the best, classic lasagna. I like to make mine with a mix of vegetables, spicy Italian sausage, lean ground beef, sweet tomatoes, and milk (for richness). It’s basically my slow cooker Bolognese pasta, but instead of serving over pasta, we’re layering it into a lasagna.

You can cook the sauce in as little as thirty minutes. But I will not lie, it’s so much better if you can simmer the sauce over a low heat for a couple of hours. Even better? Simmer the sauce all day and then let chill overnight in the fridge. The added sitting time really allows for the flavors to mend and become mouth wateringly delicious. Obviously do what you have time for, either way this will be delicious. But if you can plan ahead, I would recommend doing so. Just make the sauce a day or two ahead of assembling the lasagna.

overhead photo of Pesto Bolognese Lasagna

When you have the sauce all ready to go, it’s time to assemble.

The second secret to my lasagna is all in the cheese. Instead of just using ricotta, which in my opinion can sometimes be on the bland side if not seasoned properly, I like to mix a little basil pesto into the ricotta for extra flavor. You all know how much I love pesto. So I always have either some homemade or store-bought on hand to create quick dinners. It’s my go-to pantry ingredient that adds so much flavor.

I swirled a good amount of pesto into the ricotta. Then I layered with the Bolognese sauce, provolone cheese, and no-boil lasagna noodles.

If you wanted to add even another layer of flavor, a lot of times I’ll top my lasagna with pepperoni. I highly recommend this if you’re feeding a crowd that loves pizza. The pepperoni are always a hit.

Pesto Bolognese Lasagna pieces out of pan

I like to serve my lasagna with a wintry salad, the family’s favorite bread, and my spicy pomegranate mule for the ultimate welcoming holiday dinner.

What’s great about serving up a dish like lasagna is that I can make them completely ahead of time and have them baking when everyone shows up for dinner.

The best part though?

The smell, oh my goodness, it’s good. And trust me, this lasagna tastes just as good too.

overhead photo of Pesto Bolognese Lasagna with slices cut

If you make this lasagna, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Pesto Bolognese Lasagna

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories Per Serving: 1264 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until the onion is fragrant and beginning to caramelize. Add the bell pepper, garlic, sausage, and beef, brown all over, breaking up the meat as you go, about 10 minutes.
    2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, bay leaves, milk, and 1 cup of water. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook over medium for 30 minutes, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Or cook, covered, for up to 3 hours over low heat, stirring occasionally. The longer you can cook, the more flavorful. Remove the bay leaves and discard. If your sauce seems thick, add 1/2 cup additional water to thin.
    4. In a medium bowl combine the ricotta and pesto.
    5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch pan. Spread 1/4 of the Bolognese sauce onto the bottom of the dish. Top with 3-4 lasagna sheets. Spread with 1/2 the ricotta cheese mixture, another 1/4 of the Bolognese sauce, and half of the provolone. Place another 3-4 lasagna noodles on top. Then top with the remaining ricotta cheese mixture, another 1/4 of the Bolognese sauce, and the remaining provolone. Add the remaining lasagna noodles and pour the remaining Bolognese sauce over top. Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until the top has bubbled up and browned a bit. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
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  1. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was incredible. My husband loves lasagna and he said this was one of his favorites ever! We have a lot of leftovers though…how long does this keep in the fridge? Freezer?

    Thanks for amazing recipes! You are my go-to fit all recipes!!

    1. Hey Cristina,
      Happy Monday!! 🍁 Love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks a bunch for making it! You could keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or freeze for 3 months! xT

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely love the flavour of this lasagna! I’ve made it a couple of times already and it’s been a big hit. The pesto added to the ricotta is such a nice touch…it’s subtle but distinctive. The oven-ready noodles make this so much easier to put together. Thank you for sharing another fabulous recipe, Tieghan!

    1. Hey Samantha,
      Happy Sunday!!🎃 I am delighted to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for making it and sharing your feedback! xx

    1. Hey Kasey,
      Totally, that would work well for you! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! x

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for a small dinner party last night. It was a huge hit. My husband says it’s the best lasagna he’s ever had. I did the slow cook method for the sauce and used regular noodles without boiling first. Discovered years ago there’s no need to boil the noodles as long as the sauce has enough liquid.
    I look forward to trying some of your other recipes.

  4. Oh my goodness!! This lasagna was a great dish to serve to a larger dinner party. I live in a house with 4 roommates (all mid-20s) and we love hosting… and are still learning how to cook– and our go-to recipes are always from Half Baked Harvest — Tieghan has never let us down (esp when were serving to lots of folks and want it to be something delicious). So this is really a comment to say Thank You! You have supplied us with multiple recipes that we always come back to — and you’ve given us new ones that we arent afraid to try out for a group even if its our first time making it. My roommates and I are so thankful!

    1. Hey Weldon,
      Thanks so much for making this dish and sharing your review, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Thanks so much for your kind message and making so many recipes? Have a great weekend:) xx

  5. 5 stars
    Made this for my boyfriend’s bday dinner and he LOVED it! And made the Simple Chocolate Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Buttercream = happy birthday boy.

    1. Hi Carolina,
      Happy Friday!? Thanks a bunch for testing this recipe out, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Happy Birthday to your boyfriend! xx

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      You can just follow the recipe as written, no need to pre-cook the fresh lasagna sheets:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  6. What adjustments would need to be made to the liquids and/or cook time to use regular lasagna noodles instead of no-boil? I’d like to follow the recipe as written, but have a box of regular in my pantry that have just been sitting there and would prefer not to have to go buy more if I can help it. Will def rate and review once I’ve made it (although I can only assume it’s delicious like every other HBH recipe I’ve made).

    1. Hi Florence,
      You will just want to cook your pasta noodles until al dente and then follow the recipe as is:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xx

      1. It really helps to have everything ready. “Add” is the instruction. Water is the ingredient. Definitely gave me pause and had to go back and read again to see if I forgot anything else. It would help the reader to include it in list of ingredients….as if water is not important.

  7. 5 stars
    One of my favorite HBH recipes. Such a good play with the pesto on a classic dish. Sometimes my sauce is on the runnier side so I just add a little 1:1 cornstarch/water mix and it works great. Everyone always loves this dish and it’s even better as leftovers when it’s set!

    1. Hey Sara,
      Happy Friday! Thanks a bunch for trying this recipe out and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it was a hit! xTieghan

  8. 5 stars
    I have made this many times.. everyone loves it. My question is if you have made it uncooked and froze it? If so how did it turn out? I’m planning on making it for a large group ahead of time but I’m worried on how it will turn out.

    1. Hey Kala,
      Awesome!! Love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for making it and sharing your feedback!! Sure, just freeze before baking, it’s great! 🙂