skillet lasagna

Lentil Bolognese Skillet Lasagna

(This post is sponsored. I received compensation to write this post but all opinions and ideas are mine alone.)

Easy enough to whip up during the weeknight but sophisticated enough to serve for a special family dinner, this Skillet Lasagna is full of flavor without any fuss. 

Table of Contents

Plant-powered with layers of flavor, this Skillet Lasagna starts with a hearty bolognese sauce that gets its protein from lentils. The broth comes together in just about 10 minutes before nestling in the lasagna noodles. I used no boil, gluten-free noodles from Jovial Foods and no one could tell they were gluten-free. (Another win for me!)

I folded in two vegan cheeses AND a vegan cream sauce, because…it’s lasagna! I’m a bit biased about brands when it comes to vegan cheese so take note of my choices (and no, they’re not paying me, they’re just the best in my opinion!).  

What's With the Skillet?

I don’t believe you need a lot of fancy gadgets to be a good cook, but I do believe you need two key tools: a good knife and a good pan. When it comes to the former, I rely on five pieces of cookware for my daily cooking and weekly meal prep: a Dutch oven, large skillet, small skillet, saucepan and last, but certainly not least a cast iron skillet.

If you haven’t invested in a cast iron skillet yet, let me introduce you to Karibe and their 10″ Skillet. This is your new BFF. From stovetop to oven and straight to the table to serve, this skillet does it all – and it does so effortlessly and beautifully. There is nothing that I love more than a one-pan meal so this Lentil Bolognese Skillet Lasagna is my new go-to for effortless weeknight cooking. My non vegan crew (all three kids and the hubby) LOVED this meal so you know it’s a winner!

lasagna in a skillet on a counter on top of a striped kitchen towel and next to fresh basil leaves

What is Lentil Bologese?

Bolognese sauce, originating from Bologna, Italy, is a rich and hearty meat-based sauce that is a staple of Italian cuisine. Traditionally known as ragù alla bolognese, this sauce combines ground meat—typically beef, sometimes with pork, veal, or a mixture—slowly simmered with a soffritto of finely chopped onions, carrots, and celery.

Tomatoes, in the form of tomato paste, puréed tomatoes, or a combination thereof, are added along with a generous pour of red wine and sometimes milk or cream to create a deeply flavored, thick sauce. Herbs like oregano, basil, and bay leaves, along with salt and pepper, are used to season the sauce. Bolognese sauce is most famously served with tagliatelle, a wide, flat pasta that perfectly captures the sauce, but it’s also the key ingredient in lasagne alla bolognese. Unlike the quick-cooking tomato sauces more common in other Italian pasta dishes, Bolognese sauce is characterized by its slow cooking process, which allows the flavors to develop and meld together beautifully, creating a comforting and beloved dish.

The Lentil Bolognese in this skillet lasagna is my vegan weeknight version of the traditional. Instead of the traditional ground meat, this version uses lentils as the main protein source, simmered with a rich blend of tomatoes, garlic, onions, and a medley of herbs and spices that doesn’t skimp on flavor or texture. The lentils not only provide a satisfying bite but also make this dish a fiber and nutrient-rich option, perfect for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into their diet. Prep this sauce ahead of time to really streamline the lasagna prep during the week.

What You Need to Make Lentil Bolognese Skillet Lasagna

Lentil Bolognese Sauce

This homemade sauce is the base for this skillet lasagna. Made with onion, garlic, lentils, tomatoes, seasonings, red wine and balsamic vinegar, it’s an easy sauce to simmer on the weekend to use later in the week.


Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

Made with cashews, vegan chicken broth, roasted garlic and nutritional yeast, this sauce is quickly comes together in the blender and adds luscious flavor to the Lentil Bolognese Sauce when folded in together.


Lasagna Noodles

Any brand or variety works for this recipe.


Vegan Cheeses

Plant-based mozzarella, (Miyoko’s Creamery is my pick), and ricotta, (nothing can compare to Kite Hill IMO).


Fresh Basil

Aromatic basil leaves are the perfect garnish for this dish. I slice mine into a chiffonnade for a pretty presentation.

How To Make Lentil Bolognese Skillet Lasagna

  1. Make the Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce: Roast the garlic and blend the remaining ingredients together.
  2. Make the Lentil Bolognese Sauce: Saute the garlic and onion, stir in the lentils and remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  3. Layer the lasagna: Pour the Lentil Bolognese Sauce Nestle the into the skillet. Nestle in the lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes.  
  4. Add in the Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce: Pour in the sauce, stir to combine and simmer for 5 more minutes.
  5. Add the vegan cheeses: Fold in ricotta and top with the vegan mozzarella. Broil until golden brown.
  6. Serve: Remove from the heat and garnish with fresh basil. 

Meal Prep & Storage Tips

Make both the Lentil Bolognese Sauce and Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce ahead of time to get this skillet lasagna on the table in under 30 minutes. The sauces can be made up to a week in advance and stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator.


Leftover lasagna can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a week.

What To Serve You With Lentil Bolognese Skillet Lasagna

  1. Garden  Salad: Use a mix of fresh greens like arugula, spinach, and romaine. Add cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and thinly sliced red onions for crunch. Make a simple vinaigrette with olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to dress the salad.
  2. Garlic Herb Breadsticks: Yes, more carbs please! Use them to soak up the lip smacking sauce.

  3. Sautéed Spinach with Garlic

    This quick side dish pairs beautifully with the skillet. Simply saute slices of garlic in olive oil, fold in the spinach until slightly wilted and remove from the oven. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Caesar Salad: Keep it traditional with the classic Caesar. Toss chopped romaine with your favorite homemade or store-bought Caesar dressing. I like to toss in roasted chickpeas and chunks of avocado, along with a sprinkling of Everything Bagel  seasoning.


Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes, you can easily make this recipe gluten-free by choosing a brand of gluten-free lasagna noodles. Ensure that all other ingredients, such as vegetable broth and sauces, are certified gluten-free to avoid cross-contamination.

Is it possible to use fresh lentils instead of canned?

Absolutely. If you prefer using fresh lentils, you will need to cook them first. Use about ¾ cup of dry lentils, and cook them according to package instructions until they are tender but not mushy. Drain any excess liquid before adding them to the skillet.

Can I prepare this dish ahead of time?

Yes, in addition to preparing the sauces in advance, the entire skillet lasagna can be prepared ahead of time up to the point before you would broil it with the vegan cheese on top. Assemble the dish, let it cool, then cover and refrigerate. When you're ready to serve, reheat it gently on the stove or in the oven, add the cheese, and broil as directed.

What if I don't have a cast iron skillet?

If you don't have a cast iron skillet, any large, oven-safe skillet will do. The key is to use a skillet that can move from stovetop to broiler safely. If your skillet is not oven-safe, you can transfer the mixture to a baking dish before adding the cheese and broiling.

Are there any substitutions for the red wine?

If you prefer not to cook with wine, you can substitute it with an equal amount of vegetable broth or a non-alcoholic red wine. Another option is to use a mixture of half vinegar (like red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar) and half water to mimic the acidity and depth of flavor that wine adds to the dish.

How can I add more protein to this dish?

To increase the protein content, consider adding a plant-based ground meat substitute along with or instead of the lentils. You can also add chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds to the sauce for extra texture and protein.
a hand holding one side of a skillet with lasagna on top of a striped kitchen towel
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lasagna in a skillet on a striped kitchen towel on a counter next to basil leaves

Lentil Bolognese Skillet Lasagna

  • Author: Stephanie Dreyer
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Easy enough to whip up during the weeknight but sophisticated enough to serve for a special family dinner, this Skillet Lasagna is full of flavor without any fuss. 


Units Scale

For the Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce:

  • 1 head garlic, peeled (about 12 cloves)
  • 1 cup vegan chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup raw, unsalted cashews (Soak overnight if not using a high-speed blender.)
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the skillet lasagna:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable broth
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 14ounce can lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp Italian herb seasoning
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 14ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 8 oz regular or gluten-free lasagna noodles, broken into large pieces
  • 1 cup Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
  • 1/3 cup vegan ricotta (such as Kite Hill)
  • 4 oz vegan mozzarella grated or sliced (such as Miyoko’s Creamery)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced


For the Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce:

  1. Roast the garlic: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the garlic on a small sheet of foil. Fold the foil so that the garlic is completely covered and place the foil package on a sheet pan. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, until soft and spreadable.
  2. Blend the sauce: When the garlic is done cooking, remove the cloves from the foil and place in a high-powered blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth.

For the skillet lasagna:

  1. Cook the onion and garlic: Heat the oil or vegetable broth in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and cook until translucent.
  2. Make the Lentil Bolognese Sauce: Stir in the lentils, Italian herb seasoning, marinara, vegetable stock, tomatoes and red wine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  3. Layer the lasagna: Stir in the balsamic vinegar and nestle the lasagna noodles into the bolognese sauce. Cook for another 10 minutes. 
  4. Pour in the cream sauce: Pour in the Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce and gently stir to combine. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
  5. Add in the cheeses: Fold in the vegan ricotta and top with the vegan mozzarella. Broil for 3 minutes until golden brown. 
  6. Serve: Remove from the heat and garnish with fresh basil. 



  • Nut Allergy? Omit the ricotta and mozzarella (if nut based) without sacrificing the flavor of the dish. Substitute raw, shelled pumpkin seeds for the cashews in the Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce.
  • Spoiler Alert: Lentil Bolognese Skillet Lasagna can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for a week.
  • For non vegans: Serve with cooked and crumbled Italian sausage that can be sprinkled on individual pieces of the lasagna.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Meals
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Italian

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