This tomato-free Red Pepper Lasagna is a rich cheesy vegetarian lasagna that’s filled with red peppers, a red pepper sauce, and then baked up so it’s comforting and melty!
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Many of the ingredients are right there in your pantry. And it’s great if you don’t have any canned tomatoes or tomato sauce in the house.
This recipe was requested by a reader who told me she was allergic to tomatoes, so I hope it helps those of you who can’t or don’t eat tomatoes as well.
For this version, I decided to make it in a 13×9 casserole dish so it’s a bit larger and uses more lasagna noodles than my original lasagna. And I love leftovers of lasagna; it’s so easy to reheat it in the microwave and have a quick and delicious comfort food dinner.
You can also make this in a taller narrower casserole dish so each slice of the lasagna is thicker. Either way, it’s delicious.
I’ve suggested some substitutions below and in the recipe card in case your cupboard is looking a bit bare in places.
Don’t have any flour?
If you don’t have any flour in the house, or want the sauce to be gluten free, simply use 1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch in place of the flour. Just add it into the sauce following the same instructions.
You can also use dried thyme leaves in place of fresh thyme sprigs. Use ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves instead of the fresh thyme sprigs, and you don’t have to pull out the sprigs at the end of cooking the sauce.
Jarred roasted red peppers
I always try to keep a jar or two of roasted red peppers around. It makes for an easy way to toss in a little extra veggies into dinner. They’re also great to add to breads and appetizers.
If you don’t have any jarred red peppers you can also roast your own red peppers. They are easy to do, and really fun to make. You’ll probably need 4-5 peppers for this recipe, depending on the size of the peppers.
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Red pepper lasagna (tomato free) Recipe
Red Pepper Lasagna
- 1 tablespoon oil or butter
- 1 small red onion chopped
- ½ teaspoon Salt plus more to taste
- 4 garlic cloves minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons flour or 1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch
- 1 ½ cups jarred roasted red peppers drained and rinsed, coarsely chopped if whole
- ¼ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
- 5 springs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup milk
- Freshly ground pepper
- 15 no-boil lasagna noodles from a 9-ounce package
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces mozzarella shredded
- 2/3 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 cups jarred roasted red peppers drained and chopped
- Heat oil or butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until the onion begins to brown, about 15 minutes. If the onion is cooking too quickly, add a little bit of water to slow the cooking. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add flour and stir until flour is lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add red peppers, red pepper flakes, thyme springs, oregano, basil, and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until peppers are soft, about 20 minutes.
- Remove and discard thyme sprigs. Working in batches, puree sauce in blender until smooth and creamy, or use an immersion blender in the pot to blend the sauce.
- Return sauce to pot, and heat over low, stir in milk, and adjust the seasonings to taste with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 10 more minutes to thicken and reduce the sauce.
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta and 2/3 of the shredded mozzarella. Set aside.
- Lightly coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Spoon ½ cup of the sauce in the dish. Top with 3 lasagna noodles. Spoon ¼ of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Top with ¼ of the red peppers. Top with ½ cup of sauce.
- Top with 3 more noodles, continuing to layer like this until all the cheese and red peppers are used. Add last 3 lasagna noodles, and remaining sauce. Sprinkle the top with remaining shredded mozzarella and remaining Parmesan.
- Cover with foil. Bake for 50 minutes. Let stand, covered, on a rack for 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!