This flavorful and simple pumpkin lasagna recipe is the perfect fall meal to cozy up with on a weeknight or weekend. Made with a pumpkin purée sauce and hearty ingredients, this is one fall recipe you’ll be coming back to time and time again.
So let’s talk lasagna. Are you the kind of person who loves her lasagna soaked in sauce, or do you prefer to go easy on the sauciness? Because I’m the second one; I like my lasagna neat and oh-so-cheesy.
This cheesy pumpkin lasagna is by no means dry, but rather perfectly moist and a dream to cut up. It’s the way I envision the French would do lasagna, as they’re also not one to make foods too saucy.
It’s also the way I grew up eating lasagna. I shared my beef lasagna recipe here on the blog before; it’s the recipe my mom taught me and the one I’ve grown up eating. You won’t find a runny filling in that recipe, nor will you find one here.
Instead, this pumpkin lasagna recipe is all about comforting ingredients with cheesy goodness. It also includes my fall twist on a mornay sauce as a substitute for the more traditional marinara counterpart.
If you’ve never had mornay sauce, it’s basically a classic bechamel sauce (white sauce) with the addition of cheese. For this pumpkin lasagna recipe, you’ll add grated parmesan cheese to the sauce.
This is also where the pumpkin purée is added in to create one luscious, creamy pumpkin sauce for the lasagna. If you really wanted your lasagna super saucy, you could probably multiply the sauce ingredients by 1.5x and really go heavy handed with it.
The amount shared here is plenty for layering in between the lasagna noodles. Speaking of layering, can we talk about the scrumptious filling that’s made here?
C’est incroyable, mes amis! Italian sausage is browned and sautéed with garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, mushrooms, and spinach. So incredibly tasty and perfectly satisfying.
The filling for this pumpkin lasagna is layered with the pumpkin sauce and a nice mix of white cheddar and gruyere cheese. The final touch are some crispy sage leaves on top for a truly quintessential fall meal.
Here are some extra tips for making this pumpkin lasagna recipe:
- If you use something other than ground Italian sausage, such as bratwurst or turkey sausage, you’ll want to add a teaspoon of dry Italian seasoning to the sausage for some added flavor.
- For taller lasagna pieces, double up the entire recipe – otherwise, this recipe will produce three layers of lasagna noodles and two layers of filling. This recipe will feed 4 to 6.
- Be sure to use pumpkin purée and not pumpkin pie filling for the pumpkin sauce step!
- To prep ahead and bake later, prep everything and cover tightly with plastic wrap for the fridge (if baking next day), or cover tightly with plastic wrap then a sheet of foil and freeze.
Pumpkin Lasagna Recipe
- 9 lasagna noodles
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 6 tbsp finely grated parmesan
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 oz. ground Italian sausage
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/4 onion diced
- 2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 3 cups spinach stems removed
- 1/2 tsp salt
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 4 oz. gruyere-white cheddar mix
- 2 bouquets sage leaves (about 12 or so leaves)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Cook the lasagna noodles
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place the lasagna noodles in a 8.5 by 11" baking dish (or something similar in size) and pour the boiling water over the noodles. Let the noodles rest in this dish for 15 minutes.
Take the lasagna noodles out of the water and place each one, side by side, on a wooden board or plate or a tray, making sure they're not stacked on each other (otherwise they can stick). Dump out the water in the baking dish and dry the dish with a paper towel.
Make the pumpkin sauce
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Once melted, add the flour and whisk to combine. Pour in the milk and the grated parmesan, then whisk to mix. Continue giving the sauce an occasional whisk over medium-low heat for another 10 minutes or so, until the sauce begins to thicken and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the pumpkin purée to the sauce, along with the nutmeg. Whisk to blend in and continue to cook for another five minutes. Turn the heat off.
Make the filling
Add the Italian sausage to a skillet over medium heat. Use a wooden spoon to break up the sausage into small pieces. Cook until browned.
To the browned sausage, add the onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes until onion becomes translucent.
Add the red pepper flakes and sliced mushrooms. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.
Add the spinach, then stir until the spinach is wilted. Add the salt and stir again to combine.
Assemble the lasagna
Add some of the prepared pumpkin sauce to the bottom of your baking dish so that you have an even layer coating the bottom of the dish.
Place three lasagna noodles in the dish, side-by-side. Add half of your filling onto the noodles, spread the filling out so that it's evenly distributed across the length of the noodles.
Pour pumpkin sauce over the filling, taking care not to drench everything in sauce but rather give them a nice coating of sauce (see note). Grate about 1/3 of the cheese over the sauce.
Add a second layer of lasagna noodles, again 3 noodles side-by-side. Top with the remaining filling, some more pumpkin sauce, and then grate another 1/3 of cheese on top.
Add the final layer of lasagna noodles, then spoon pumpkin sauce all over the top, making sure that you're spooning sauce along the edges too so those aren't left dry. Grate the remaining third of cheese all over the top.
Create the crispy sage
Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the sage leaves and fry until they turn forest green (rather than their original bright green), but not black.
Transfer the sage leaves to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Bake the lasagna
Cover the lasagna with a sheet of foil, then bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes uncovered until the cheese is melted and the top is looking nice and golden.
Once the lasagna is ready to be served, top with the crispy sage leaves.
*The amount of sauce you pour should be similar to the way you’d coat a piece of turkey with gravy sauce. You don’t want to drizzle the sauce, nor do you want to completely soak it in sauce.