Vanessa's Make-Ahead Beefy Lasagna

A container of refrigerated pesto adds distinctive flavor to this basic beef-and-cheese lasagna, and the unbaked lasagna can be frozen for up to three months.  

Vanessa's Make-Ahead Beefy Lasagna
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Missie Neville Crawford
Total Time:
1 hrs 35 mins
8 servings


  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles

  • 1 (24-oz.) container 4% small-curd smooth-and-creamy cottage cheese

  • 1 (16-oz.) container ricotta cheese

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 cup refrigerated pesto

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 1/2 cups (10 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

  • 2 (24-oz.) jars tomato-and-basil pasta sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Prepare noodles according to package directions.

  2. Meanwhile, stir together cottage cheese and next 4 ingredients. Stir in 1 cup mozzarella cheese.

  3. Cook ground beef and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 6 to 7 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in pasta sauce.

  4. Layer 1 cup beef mixture, 3 noodles, and 2 1/2 cups cottage cheese mixture in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with 3 noodles, 2 cups beef mixture, and 3 more noodles. Top with remaining cottage cheese mixture, 3 noodles, and beef mixture. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese.

  5. Bake, covered, at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 20 minutes or until cheese is browned. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

  6. Note: Freeze unbaked lasagna up to 3 months. To bake, thaw in refrigerator 24 hours. Let stand 30 minutes; bake as directed. We tested with Classico Di Napoli Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce and both LeGrand Garden Pesto and Buitoni Reduced Fat Pesto with Basil.

Related Articles