Fresh and Fruity Spinach Lasagna: A Great Choice for Your Next Meat-Free Day

Originally posted July 18, 2015. Revised and updated February 17, 2017.

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Who doesn’t love a good lasagna? It’s the perfect dish to prepare for family or friends.

Our Fresh and Fruity Spinach Lasagna is a great choice for your next meat-free day. Get the recipe now or pin it for later:

This version is a wonderful and light alternative to your standard lasagna, which is often prepared with ground meat and béchamel sauce. Or pepperoni, if you’re feeling fun and casual.

It is a vegetarian alternative that easily compares with the original. And it comes with a special twist.

What makes this vegetarian lasagna fresh and fruity? The addition of tangy orange juice, to brighten up the sauce. Try it now or pin it for later:
A dollop of creme fraiche and a few fresh sprouts make a delicious and eye-catching garnish for this dish.

When it comes to today’s healthy eating habits, the idea that you have to eat meat at every meal, or at least every day, is a thing of the past.

Throughout most of human history, meat was only consumed occasionally (depending on the culture and geographic location). Even today, meat is not the primary focus of diets in many cultures or locations.

Looking for a meatless meal that's delicious and packed with veggies? Try our recipe for Fresh and Fruity Lasagna - and check out our post to learn what the secret ingredient is:

Vegetarian alternatives often taste equally delicious when compared to their meat-based counterparts, and they’re packed with vitamins, too. This recipe combines healthy spinach (perfect for good eye health!) with creamy ricotta, and fresh orange juice for a tangy twist.

The Best Fresh and Fruity Lasagna for Meatless Monday |

Spinach is not uncommon in lasagna and is sometimes even used in combination with salmon instead of ground meat. You can use the frozen version in this recipe as well, if you have some already in the freezer or fresh is not available.

Be sure to thaw and thoroughly drain the spinach, so your final dish won’t become too watery.

Golden brown cheese, tangy tomato sauce, spinach, parmesan, onion, garlic, and thyme - plus a secret ingredient! Check out this delicious twist on a classic recipe now or pin it for later:

Using orange juice as an ingredient in lasagna might sound odd, but it gives the lasagna a wonderful fruity aroma, and harmonizes really well with the tomatoes and the ricotta.

Try to use fresh oranges for this recipe. They have a more intense flavor than pre-made orange juice will.

Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna |

This recipe calls for sieved tomatoes or “passata,” which is a common product found throughout Western Europe. From what I understand, this is not a product that’s commonly used in the US.

Anyhow, you can make a suitable substitute by running canned tomatoes through a food mill. Crushed tomatoes may also be used, or canned tomato sauce.

The Recipe

Fresh and Fruity Spinach Lasagna: A Tangy Twist on a Classic Dinnertime Favorite |
Fresh and Fruity Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna
Votes: 5
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Looking for a meat-free vegetarian lasagna recipe that's a little different? Try this version - the added orange juice adds a nice touch of tangy flavor.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Fresh and Fruity Spinach Lasagna: A Tangy Twist on a Classic Dinnertime Favorite |
Fresh and Fruity Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna
Votes: 5
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
Print Recipe
Looking for a meat-free vegetarian lasagna recipe that's a little different? Try this version - the added orange juice adds a nice touch of tangy flavor.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb sieved or crushed canned tomatoes
  • 3 small oranges (or 2 large)
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 small onions
  • 2 cups ricotta
  • 2 1/2 lbs fresh or frozen spinach
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 slicing tomatoes
  • 1 package no-boil lasagna
  • 1 cup freshly grated or shredded parmesan
Servings: servings
  1. Mince the garlic, dice the onions, and thinly slice the fresh tomatoes. Squeeze the oranges and measure one cup of juice. Reserve the rest for later use in this recipe.
  2. If you are using fresh spinach, wash it well, spin it dry, and give it a rough chop. Frozen spinach should be thawed and drained in a colander, pressing to remove the excess water.
  3. Pour the sieved tomatoes into a saucepan. Add half of the garlic, the thyme, sugar, and orange juice, and bring to a boil. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes, then take off the stove. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Combine the diced onions with the remaining garlic and the ricotta in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Heat up the butter and the remaining orange juice in another pan on the stove. Add the spinach and let the fresh variety wilt or the frozen and defrosted version heat through, stirring occasionally.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9x13” baking dish. Layer with lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, spinach, tomato slices, and ricotta, one after another until everything is used up. The last layer should be ricotta.
  7. Scatter the parmesan on top and bake in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on top.

Nutritional Info*

Nutrition Facts
Fresh and Fruity Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna
Amount Per Serving
Calories 988 Calories from Fat 423
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 47g 72%
Saturated Fat 28g 140%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 8g
Cholesterol 191mg 64%
Sodium 2195mg 91%
Potassium 2457mg 70%
Total Carbohydrates 92g 31%
Dietary Fiber 15g 60%
Sugars 26g
Protein 55g 110%
Vitamin A 598%
Vitamin C 245%
Calcium 151%
Iron 70%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prepare Mise en Place

First, wash all of your produce well. If you are using fresh spinach, dry it in a salad spinner, then give it a rough chop.

Fresh and Fruity Spinach Lasagna for Meatless Monday |

If you are using frozen spinach, set it in a colander over a large mixing bowl or your sink to defrost and drain. Once it has reached room temperature, press with a spoon or paper towels to remove the excess water.

Squeeze the oranges and measure 1 cup of juice. Reserve the remaining juice for later use in this recipe.

Mince the garlic, chop the onions, and thinly slice the tomatoes.

Vegetarian Lasagna with Fresh Tomatoes, Spinach, and Orange Juice |

Measure out the quantity of thyme, sugar, and butter that you will need, and grate the parmesan. Oregano or basil also make nice alternatives to the thyme, and you can substitute fresh if it’s available.

Step 2 – Sauce

Pour the canned tomatoes into a saucepan. Add the thyme, sugar, half of the garlic, and your pre-measured cup of orange juice.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. A pepper mill is a great kitchen tool to have on hand, to add the most flavorful seasoning, though pre-ground pepper may also be used if you prefer.

Step 3 – Ricotta Mixture

In a bowl, combine the chopped onions and the remaining garlic with the ricotta.

Recipe for Fresh and Fruity Spinach Lasagna |

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 4 – Spinach Mixture

In another pot, heat up the butter with the remaining orange juice.

Homemade Fresh Fruity Spinach Lasagna |

Let the fresh spinach wilt in the mixture, or heat the frozen and defrosted spinach through, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 5 – Layer the Ingredients and Bake

Preheat the oven to 400°F (about 200°C).

Spread some tomato sauce in an even layer in the bottom of a 9×13” baking dish.

Layer with lasagna noodles, tomato sauce, spinach, tomato slices, and ricotta.

Homemade Meatless Spinach Lasagna |

Repeat until you have used up all of the ingredients. The last layer should be ricotta.

Homemade Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna |

Scatter the parmesan on top. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy on top.

Homemade Fresh and Fruity Spinach Lasagna Recipe |

If you are worried about burning or drying out the top layer of your lasagna, you can cover it with foil before putting it in the oven. Remove the foil during the last 1o minutes of baking, or broil for a few final minutes of cooking to crisp the top.

Enjoy Some Meatless Magic

This wonderful vegetarian lasagna should be your next choice for Meatless Monday – or any other day of the week on which you would like to enjoy a creative and delicious meal.

Learn how to make vegetarian spinach lasagna with a flavorful twist, with our recipe. |

The orange juice provides just the perfect amount of sweetness to complement the tasty tomato sauce. With rich ricotta in between and hearty parmesan on top, this lasagna will be as delicious as its classic relative.

If you're a lasagna lover, you've got to try this new twist on a vegetarian classic. Check out the recipe now or pin it for later:

Excited to try this classic dish with a new twist? Have you tried it at home? Share your thoughts and comments below – we want to hear from you!

And for more delicious lasagna recipes, check out some of these tasty dishes:

Don’t forget to Pin It!

Looking for a meat-free vegetarian lasagna recipe that's a little different? Try this version - the added orange juice adds a nice touch of tangy flavor that combines deliciously with the spinach and ricotta. Get the recipe now on Foodal.

Photos by Nina-Kristin Isensee, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

*Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Nina-Kristin Isensee

Nina lives in Iserlohn, Germany and holds an MA in Art History (Medieval and Renaissance Studies). She is currently working as a freelance writer in various fields. She enjoys travel, photography, cooking, and baking. Nina tries to cook from scratch every day when she has the time and enjoys trying out new spices and ingredients, as well as surprising her family with new cake creations.

38 thoughts on “Fresh and Fruity Spinach Lasagna: A Great Choice for Your Next Meat-Free Day”

  1. Orange is indeed an intriguing addition. I can’t say I’ve ever had it, but I can see how it would blend well with the other ingredients. It’s something I will definitely have to try!

  2. Using orange in lasagna is very interesting. What I love about lasagna is that you could always freeze it and have it again later.

    • That’s right, it is a perfect dish for preparing a large portion and freeze it. It means only one-time work but frequent enjoyment, I love it!

      • That’s perfect for me, since I’m trying to eat better. This not only sounds tasty, but I love dishes that I can (like you said) make a bunch and have it again a few times without the extra prep time and effort. It helps me stick to healthier eating when I know I have something available that will be convenient. If I’m honest, I fall off the wagon more when I have to start from scratch and I’m already hungry and tired.

        The orange sounds interesting. I’ve learned that I like it in many more things than I would have thought. I’ll happily give this a try.

        • You are so right about this. Whenever I know there is something left (whether on purpose or not), it makes it much easier to stick to it. And healthy food can be as tasty as more unhealthy alternatives. So I hope you will have the time to try out this lasagna and not only enjoy the convience, but also the fruity infusion! 🙂

  3. Hmm, I can’t work out how I feel about oranges in savoury dishes. I’ve eaten them this way before but as part of a savory salad, not a hot dish. However, I do enjoy spinach and ricotta and would certainly give this recipe a try, possibly omitting the orange!

    • Oh yes, I had oranges as a part of salads too. They always give it a nice fruity twist, they go well with avocado too, I think. For the lasagne, the juice will actually gently emphasize the taste of the tomatoes without being too strong on its own. But if you don’t like it or don’t want to try, you can replace the orange juice with vegetable stock e.g. to provide a more typical flavor. Either way, I hope you enjoy the lasagne!

  4. Ooh, I have been thinking about a good veg lasagna today. But every recipe I come across has some ricotta– and I do not have a good experience with that. Is there anything that could be traded for it? I love the idea of orange flavour to spinach though! Sounds so daring!

    • Maybe you could use crème fraîche, cream cheese or plain yogurt as a replacement. I haven’t tried it yet but I can imagine that would work because they have a similar creamy texture. I hope it works out!

  5. I definitely need to make this for my pescatarian friend; she already loves lasagna, but her mother only typically makes the meat-filled one. Also, my brother enjoys spinach, and this dish would be a nice surprise. I never knew you could add orange juice to something like this! Thank you for the tips and recipe.

    • I’m happy that you’ ve found a new recipe to try and share. I hope this can be a tasty alternative for your friend and your brother.
      I really like the combination, it is quite unusual but not too extravagant when it comes to ingredients. Have fun preparing it 🙂

  6. This looks amazing. It probably is to die for. The oranges are the interesting ingredient to add. I’ve been using oranges to sweeten some recipes. This one would be a nice add in for the holidays.

  7. I love spinach, both alone, and cooked in dishes such as this one. I have had oranges in salads, but never in a cooked dish such as this, but it sounds like an interesting combination, and it’s always nice to pack in a few more nutrients in our food, especially nowadays. I like the idea of adding the pressed orange juice to the tomatoes, so the flavors can meld and complement one another. This will have to go in my recipe box, so I can try it out.

  8. Orange as an ingredient in a lasagna dish is indeed quite curious. I wonder where you got the idea of using it in hot dish such as this? Was it something that was recommended to you by someone else, did you discover it accidentally, or it was just a part of an experiment that yielded good results? I ask this because I don’t think I could imagine it myself to use orange juice in a dish like this. Just a little too creative for my normal thought process.

    • Thanks for asking, I got this inspiration from a vegetarian-cookbook I own. It has some fancy combinations and recommends new twists for recipes, e.g. risotto-varieties with apples. To mix fruits into savory dishes is one thing I tried and liked immediately. It might be a bit unusual at the first bite, but it’s definitely worth to try 🙂

  9. My goodness! I mostly clicked on this recipe because of its intriguing name! Fresh and… fruity? Fruity lasagna? I am so interested in trying this! While I love lasagna, I need to find some healthier alternative to the heavy one my roommate usually makes (although that one is so very delectable)- he would probably balk at the idea of a lasagna where oranges are included in the recipe. I can’t wait to prove him wrong! Thanks for the idea!

    • Haha, I really hope you can convince him to try this variety! Common lasagna is such a delicious meal, I love it!
      But – as you say – a lighter version would be nice to replace it from time to time. So, I wish you success and I hope you two like it when you decide to try it out. Enjoy!

  10. I’ve always loved pasta dishes, but I know how fattening they can be! I usually try to ofset that by adding a ton of different vegetables to my dinners. I’ll have to give this recipe a try! It’s definitely right up my alley! To be honest I’ve never used oranges in my lasagna before so I’m a little skeptical but I’m going to take a leap of faith and give it a chance! 🙂

    • Thank you for giving it a chance. I hope so much that you will like it. It might be a bit unusual, I agree, but it is really worth it. This one has both: the special twist, and a healthier basis than regular lasagna. If you like, share your experience when you’ve dared to try it! 🙂

  11. Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe Nina. I’m a total meat lover, but it’s dishes like this one that make me want to go vegan, and if not all the way vegan then at least motivated enough for me to skip a few meaty weekly meals. Also for those who have trouble finding fresh spinach, you can try visiting Costco. They always have spinach in stock, and it’s very clean and delicious.

    • I’m happy you like it, Michelle. I agree with what you say, I also like meat and preparing it in the most different ways. I regularly include meat-free days and it’s creative ideas like this that keep it interesting and exciting to try out new recipes.
      Thanks for your buying tips, too.

  12. I love to make lasagna, and this is interesting because I’ve never thought to add oranges. I’ve seen recipes where orange has been incorporated, but have yet to try it myself. This recipe changes my mind on that! I love spinach in my lasagna, and this has my mouth watering!

    • Nice to hear that, I hope you’ll like it. The flavor is not too predominant, it just has this slightly fruity twist. And for me, this works great with tomatoes and spinach. So have fun cooking this lasagna and let’s know how it turned out 🙂

  13. This is certainly quite an innovative take on lasagna, it almost reminds me of spinach quiche! However I think plenty of the calories stem not from the ground meat, but from the parmesan and ricotta cheese. I think a healthier variant would cut down on the cheese a little more.

    • Right, it has some qualities of a spinach quiche, I agree with that.
      You might be right that one could also use less cheese and cut down some calories. Still, I have in mind that the béchamel sauce of common lasagna is quite rich, too. So we save some of these calories already.
      It can also be the combination of ground meat that makes a difference. Pure beef e.g. would be a leaner alternative than pork.
      However, if meatless or not, lasagna is always a hit in the house 🙂

  14. Oh my goodness, how wonderful! I would absolutely love this. I saw the title and couldn’t for the life of me figure out what fruit would be added to lasagna… and then as soon as I saw what it was, I thought “Oh wow, that would be soooo good!”

    I will be copying the recipe immediately because I’m going to the store tomorrow morning… yes! 🙂

    Do you have nutritional information, specifically calories and sodium content?

    Also, would the sieved tomatoes be the same as our (U.S.) crushed tomatoes, I wonder? That’s most likely what I’ll be buying to make this.

    • Thank you, I’m happy that you’re eager to try it out!
      Well, I’m sure you can use the crushed tomatoes. I can tell you that the sieved tomatoes I use have no more pieces, they are kind of like a thick juice with a smooth texture. But you will be fine with the crushed ones, I suppose 🙂

      Unfortunately, I only have few nutritional information and they have “grams” as measurement. So I hope this will still be helpful in any ways:
      for 4 portions, per portion: approx. 660 kcal, 32 g protein, 28 fat, 68 g carbohydrates

  15. I like lasagna recipes that are easy to store for another day. As a mother I need many meals that I can prepare this way. I can have three meals ready for an affordable price..because there are many lasagna combinations that my family loves…this is a new one for me…using oranges is a surprising addition.

    • I think this one will be a nice addition to your collection then 🙂 It’s convenient and saves you lots of time, and that is – like you say – an important aspect when cooking for your children. I hope you all will enjoy this recipe!

    • Thank you, I would be happy if you tried it. And feel free to share your thoughts. At a first glance, it sounds strange, but the sweetness goes great with the tomatoes and ricotta. I hope you’ll enjoy this version!

  16. I used to despair that I could never eat delicious lasagna again when I quit eating red meat, 10 years ago. Until I realized I could make my own, vegetarian options! I’m curious about what orange will do in this recipe, but it sounds absolutely delicious; spinach’s my favorite vegetable to cook with so you can’t go wrong there. For added proteins, I’d suggest adding lentils.

    • Adding lentils is really a nice idea for some boost of protein, thanks for that. Did you already have the time to try out the recipe? I hope you can enjoy it as much as the usual meat-variety! And spinach is indeed a thankful veggie to cook with, I love using it regularly, too.

  17. Wonderful – even after over 40 years a vegetarian I love to find new recipes. I love the combinations here and will be trying it soon.

    • Wow, 40 years is such a long time, so I’m happy that my lasagna is still something new for you. The different flavors work really well – although it’s quite unusual. But this is what makes it so interesting!

  18. Mmmm, this sounds delicious. Although I am a meat eater I don’t like to eat red meat more than once a week, so this is a great alternative, but still a hearty meal. And I love the idea of adding the oranges to this dish, I can’t wait try it when the weather gets colder.

    • Thanks, I agree with you about meatless days, and this is definitely a nice option. I especially like the many faces of this dish: fruity, but savory, mild, but aromatic at the same time (not to forget the nice colors). Enjoy!

  19. I’m not a person that eats a lot of vegetables but this vegetarian lasagna looks mouth-watering. It’s also an alternative for people that are looking to eat healthier but still enjoy something delicious. Looks awesome!


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