This 4 Cheese Sage Pesto Florentine Lasagna is the perfect baked pasta for cozy November and December nights at home. Beautiful layers of creamy sage and garlic butter béchamel sauce, spinach, pesto, and lasagna noodles, all come together in this vegetable-focused lasagna. It’s vibrant, creamy, cheesy, and so delicious! Top the lasagna with herbs before baking for a warming dinner that’s mouth-wateringly delicious. This is a great make-ahead lasagna for Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, and all the upcoming holiday dinner parties.
The Thanksgiving recipes continue on today! After sharing our 2020 Thanksgiving menu on Monday, I wanted to be sure to share all the new recipes with you guys as soon as possible. I know so many of us are in the midst of planning our holiday menus!
I shared my mini cranberry brie bites yesterday, and today it’s the vegetarian main course of our Thanksgiving menu. The extra cheesy, herby lasagna…that rivals the turkey itself. It just depends on the kinds of food you love most! Personally, if given the option between this lasagna and the Thanksgiving turkey, I’d have to go for the lasagna. But that’s just me. I’m much more of a cheesy carb person versus a meaty person. My brothers on the other hand?
The complete opposite.
With every Thanksgiving dinner, I think it’s always important to include at least one vegetarian main course. With so many people choosing to eat vegetarian these days, I think it’s really nice to have a main on the table that will satisfy those guests. Yes, I know the brussels sprouts and salad are delicious. But they aren’t quite the main course we’re looking for on Thanksgiving Day.
I never want anyone to feel left out, especially on such a fun holiday like Thanksgiving, so I always do at least one main that’s meat-free. And you know what? It’s almost always the first dish to fully disappear from the table.
When thinking about my menu for this year, I kept in mind that I wanted to keep things simple and on the classic side. I knew I wanted to include a version of my Aunt Katie’s white lasagna. When I was younger, my aunt would make her cheesy spinach lasagna for holiday parties. I remember loving it so much. When she passed, I kept her lasagna alive and have been making it for our holiday dinners every year since.
Some years I follow her recipe to a T. Other years I’ll switch it up slightly by adding new herbs or swapping cheeses.
Which is what I did this year. I left out the chicken, added lots of fresh sage and a pinch of rosemary, and doubled up on the cheese. It’s her base recipe, just with a few little twists and tweaks…that I know she would fully approve of!
4 Cheese Sage Pesto Florentine Lasagna – the details…
This lasagna is pretty straightforward and easy. My aunt didn’t like recipes that require a lot of work…and we all love her for that!
Start with the butter. She didn’t skimp on it, so we’re not going to either. Let the butter cook and slowly brown with plenty of garlic and sage. As the butter cooks, the garlic caramelizes and the sage becomes crispy and very fragrant. Once you’ve got the butter a light golden brown color, add a little flour to the mix. The flour will help thicken our sauce.
Next, add milk and a mix of fontina and parmesan cheese. Simmer until the sauce is creamy and all that cheese has melted. This is your béchamel sauce.
Once you’ve got the sauce, the rest comes together easily.
Mix ricotta with provolone and a spoonful of basil pesto, then grab the noodles and assemble.
In full disclosure, I did make homemade pasta for this. You can find my dough recipe here. However, making homemade pasta is not necessary at all, so please don’t feel like you need to follow my lead. When I made this, I had run out of lasagna noodles and decided that instead of going out in the snow, I’d just make my own pasta since it’s really pretty easy to do.
I knew it would make for an even better lasagna, so I just went for it. I will say that the fresh pasta does give you that authentic Italian style lasagna. So maybe if you have the time, give it a try, it is delicious.
If not, no big deal at all!
And moving along…
Once you have the béchamel sauce, the ricotta cheese mixture, and the noodles altogether, all that’s left to do is assemble. Simply layer everything together with easy, no-boil lasagna noodles (or that fresh pasta).
Bake and then begin to enjoy all the wonderful smells coming from the oven.
I really can’t begin to describe just how delicious this lasagna is. Something about these flavors all layered together and baked is just beyond GOOD. The caramelized garlic and sage add so much depth of flavor. And the sauce is incredibly rich and creamy and brightens up with the addition of spinach. When everything is put together you get a rich, creamy, and super cheesy pasta.
Every last bite is delicious.
One of my biggest tips for holiday entertaining, whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, is to use recipes that can be prepped ahead of time. I avoid planning too many recipes that require you to hover over the stove all night long. It’s best to work with recipes you can assemble in advance, like this lasagna!
When guests arrive, I can be more present and actually enjoy the evening (or afternoon). Amazing food is important, but that doesn’t mean we have to be huddled in the kitchen all day preparing it!
So with that, I’ll leave you with my favorite lasagna of the year. It’s going to be great on Thanksgiving, but will be equally special for nights ahead. Whether that’s a snowy Sunday dinner or a Tuesday night with friends. The holidays are all about family, friends, and delicious food.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a great salad to go along with this hearty pasta, I highly recommend this. It’s always a crowd favorite.
Looking for other vegetable focused holiday dinners? Here are my favorites:
Lastly, if you make this 4 Cheese Sage Pesto Florentine 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 tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
4 Cheese Sage Pesto Florentine Lasagna
Calories Per Serving: 747 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 stick (8 tablespoons) salted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seed
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk or canned coconut milk
- 2 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup shredded Gruyère or fontina cheese
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta
- 2 cups shredded provolone
- 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 1/4 cup basil pesto
- 1 large egg
- 1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1.Preheat the oven to 375° F. Butter a 9x13 inch pan.2. In a medium saucepan, melt together the butter, garlic, sage, rosemary, fennel, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook 3-4 minutes, until the butter is lightly browning. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the milk and broth. Season with salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Stir in the Gruyère/fontina cheese, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, and the nutmeg. Stir until the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove from the heat. 3. In a medium bowl combine the ricotta, provolone, spinach, pesto, and egg. Season with pepper. 4. Spread 1/4 of the cheese sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Top with 3-4 lasagna sheets. Spread with 1/2 the ricotta cheese mixture and another 1/4 of the cheese sauce. Repeat the layering. Repeat the layering until all the sauce has been used...don't stress about making it perfect. Top with a 1/2 cup of parmesan. 5. Bake covered for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15-20 minutes, until the top has bubbled up and browned a bit. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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To Make Ahead: Prepare the lasagna through step 4, but do not bake. Cover and store the assembled lasagna in the fridge for up to 2 days. To bake, remove the lasagna from the fridge while the oven preheats, then bake as directed. To Freeze: Prepare the lasagna through step 5, but do not bake. Cover and wrap tightly in foil, then plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw: thaw the lasagna overnight in the fridge. To bake from frozen, remove the plastic wrap and bake, covered at 375 for 1 hour or until the center is hot. Remove the foil and bake another 40-45 minutes, until the top has browned. To Make Gluten Free: Use gluten free no-boil lasagna noodles and an equal amount of your favorite gluten free flour blend in place of the all-purpose flour. I recommend Cup4Cup gluten free flour.