If you’re a mushroom lover, this unbelievable mushroom lasagna is for you. This hearty vegetarian casserole is made with rehydrated dried mushrooms and fresh sautéed cremini or button mushrooms. Layered with lasagna noodles, cheesy ricotta filling and creamy bechamel sauce, the thick layer of mushroom duxelles gives this earthy recipe its signature flavor.
I LOVE mushrooms. So much so that I use mushroom powder to amp up my homemade pot roast, add them to my breakfast egg cups, my favorite brunch quiche, they’re the star of this gravy recipe as well as the heroes of my vegan mushroom barley soup and fennel and leek soup. We love them stuffed for hors d’ouvres, as a filling for savory tartlets and as a garnish for crostini. In other words, mushrooms are KING.
So when I found these beautiful dried exotic mushrooms at a farmers market in Boulder, CO — I bought the biggest bag I could (that would fit into my luggage). It was full of fancy mushrooms like Oyster, Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, Royal Trumpet, Crimini, Pioppino, Black Pearl and Cinnamon Cap. You can order from Hazel Dell Mushrooms online to get your own (not sponsored, just a fan). You can also use a mix of whatever dried (or fresh) mushrooms you have for this lasagna recipe.
How to rehydrate dried mushrooms:
These mushrooms are dehydrated, so in order to get back their meaty, umami texture and flavor, we need to add moisture back to them. Here’s how to do it:
- Transfer the dried mushrooms to a large bowl.
- Pour boiling water (I used about 4 cups) over the dried fungi.
- Place a dish (that will fit comfortably within the diameter of the bowl) over the mushrooms. The dish will keep the fungi submerged so they can rehydrate evenly, otherwise, they’ll float.
- Let the mushrooms soak for at least 30 minutes.
- Transfer to a cutting board and pat dry any excess liquid with a dish towel.
Pro-Tip: What to do with leftover mushroom soaking liquid
The liquid that you’ve soaked the dried mushrooms in is now infused with flavor. Don’t let it go to waste.
- Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and strain the mushroom jus through the strainer to remove any sand, grit or detritus.
- Pour the mushroom infused water into ice cube trays and freeze.
- When they’re solid, transfer to a zip top freezer bag and use a few cubes whenever you want to add flavor to soups, braises or sauces.
What are the main ingredients for mushroom lasagna?
- Mushroom Duxelles
- Bechamel Sauce
- Ricotta Filling
- Lasagna Noodles
- Grated Mozzarella Cheese
- Pecorino Romano
Like any lasagna recipe, this one has several components, but none of them are difficult to make and most can be made ahead of time. Let’s start with the mushroom duxelles.
What are duxelles?
Mushroom duxelles are a meaty mixture of finely chopped mushrooms simmered with shallots and herbs (and in our case, a little garlic and red wine). Mushroom duxelles are most notably used in fancy Beef Wellingtons blended with foie gras, but they make up two fungi-rich layers in this lasagna recipe. (If you want to add foie to this recipe, you certainly could — but that takes it out of the vegetarian category.)
How to make mushroom duxelles for lasagna
- Rehydrate the dried mushrooms and drain well. Chop the mushrooms – you don’t have to chop too finely, just enough so that you can easily slice the lasagna, but large enough so the mushrooms are distinguishable.
- Sauté the fresh mushrooms in olive oil with a little salt and pepper.
- Add a bit more olive oil, the shallots, garlic and chopped, rehydrated mushrooms.
- Sauté until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Stir in the red wine and cook down until the wine is just glazing the mushrooms.
- Add reserved mushroom soaking liquid and cook down until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add chopped thyme and cook for one minute.
- Taste for seasoning and adjust with a little salt and pepper.
The other layers for mushroom lasagna
Bechamel is a classic French white sauce made with melted butter, combined with flour to form a paste (called a roux), then warm milk is gradually stirred into the roux until it’s blended and smooth. As the bechamel heats to a boil, the sauce thickens to a creamy, lush consistency.
Bechamels are the starting point for many recipes. I use them in my mac and cheese, creamed chipped beef on toast, this cheesy ham and scalloped potato casserole, old fashioned tuna noodle casserole, and even to thicken this enchilada sauce.
Fresh ricotta is a rich, smooth, soft cheese with a neutral to slightly sweet flavor. We add an egg and grated Pecorino Romano cheese, along with fresh chopped parsley and layer it between the mushroom duxelles and the lasagna noodles.
How to assemble mushroom lasagna
- Spread a thin layer of bechamel sauce in the bottom of a casserole dish.
- Top with a layer of no-bake lasagna noodles
- Add 1/3 of the remaining bechamel sauce and smooth over the noodles.
- Spread 1/2 of the mushroom duxelles in an even layer over the bechamel.
- Add 1/2 of the ricotta cheese mixture and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the mozzarella mixture over the ricotta cheese.
- Add another layer of lasagna noodles and repeat the layering process one more time.
- Finish with a layer of lasagna noodles and bechamel sauce.
- Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove the foil, sprinkle on the remainder of the parmesan cheese and bake for 10 minutes until the cheese is melty and the lasagna has browned.
Give the mushroom casserole a moment to rest
After the lasagna is finished in the oven, it’s best to let it rest for at least 10 to 15 minutes before cutting into it. This will give it a chance to set up a bit and hold together more when you scoop up a serving. Plus, it’s piping hot and you don’t want to burn the roof of your mouth, right?
While it rests, you can have the kids set the table, open a bottle of wine and toss a salad or if this is a side dish, take care of the rest of your meal.
You won’t believe how much flavor the rehydrated mushrooms impart to this casserole. They are really rich and meaty and they soak up the flavor from the red wine, giving the lasagna a real depth.
Any leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, cover with foil and bake in a 325° oven for 15-20 minutes or until warmed through.
Yes. The cooked mushroom lasagna will freeze very well. To get even slices for freezing, refrigerate the casserole overnight, then cut the lasagna into portions, wrap with foil, then wrap in freezer paper. It should last this way for up to 3 months.
How about 2 packages of frozen spinach, lightly sautéed with butter, garlic and shallots. You can mix it with the mushrooms or create a separate spinach layer in the lasagna. Also try kale.
Serve mushroom lasagna as a main course or side dish
This is a rich dish with two layers of cheese, the creamy sauce and a hefty dose of mushrooms. You can serve the mushroom lasagna as a vegetarian main course, but for me, I prefer to think of it as a side dish. Like a mushroom-y mac and cheese. That way I get the indulgence and flavor but it won’t put me in a food coma.
That said, I know plenty of people who will happily eat this for dinner with a slice or two of garlic bread… so you do you, baby.
What to serve with mushroom lasagna:
If you’re having the mushroom casserole as your main course, I would make something to counteract the richness. Try one of these salads or veggie side to pair with the hearty exotic mushroom lasagna.
Try these mains with a wild mushroom lasagna side dish:
If you’re serving this mushroom casserole as a side dish, you’ll want some main course options that will stand up to it. The meatiness of the rehydrated mushrooms deglazed with red wine will emphasize the flavors in these meaty mains.
- Grilled Veal Chops or Veal Steaks
- Cast Iron Ribeyes
- Cider Brined Smoked Pork Loin
- Rotisserie Chicken
- Spatchcock Grilled Turkey with Cider Gravy
- Bourbon Maple Brined Roast Turkey
- Simple Herb Roasted Chicken with Pan Gravy
- Bourbon Marinated Flank Steak
- Whole Smoked Turkey
- Homemade Ham with Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze
- Roast Beef with Brown Onion Gravy
- Grilled Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb
- Herb Crusted Pork Loin
- Pan Seared Filet Mignon Bordelaise
Incredible Mushroom Lasagna
- 2 quart casserole dish
FOR THE DRIED MUSHROOMS
- 3 ounces mixed dried mushrooms
- 2-4 cups boiling water
FOR MUSHROOM LAYER:
- 10 ounces cremini or button mushrooms sliced into quarters
- 1 large shallot minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- drained rehydrated mushrooms (from above) finely chopped
- 1/2 cup red wine such as beaujolais, cabernet or cotes de rhone
- 1/2 cup reserved mushroom liquid
- 1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
FOR BECHAMEL LAYER:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch grated nutmeg
FOR RICOTTA LAYER:
- 15 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup chopped italian parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
FOR ASSEMBLING LASAGNA:
- mushroom duxelles
- ricotta mixture
- 6-8 no bake lasagna noodles
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
- 1/4 cup grated pecorino or parmesan
REHYDRATE THE DRIED MUSHROOMS:
- Place the mushrooms in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Rest a dish that will fit in the bowl on top of the mushrooms. This will help to keep the mushrooms submerged in the water so they can soak up the liquid. Soak for 30 minutes.
- Transfer the mushrooms to a cutting board and chop them. Set aside.
- Set a fine mesh strainer over a container (like a large glass measuring cup) and pour the mushroom liquid through the strainer. Discard any sediment caught in the strainer. Reserve the mushroom liquid.
MAKE MUSHROOM DUXELLES:
- Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to a heavy skillet and heat over medium high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms, cook and stir until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid and start to brown, 5-7 minutes.
- Add the shallots and garlic and cook until they're softened and fragrant. Add the remainder of the olive oil and the chopped rehydrated mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Stir in the red wine and let it cook down until most of the wine is evaporated, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup of the reserved mushroom soaking liquid, stir and cook until most of it has evaporated. Stir in the chopped thyme and cook for one minute.
- Sample a little of the mushroom mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
MAKE THE BECHAMEL:
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle on the flour, kosher salt, pepper and nutmeg and cook for one minute, stirring constantly until a thick paste forms.
- Whisk in a little milk at a time, not adding more until the previous amount has been absorbed into the flour mixture.
- Continue adding milk and whisking until smooth. Turn the heat to medium high and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook for one minute, then remove from the heat to cool.
MAKE THE RICOTTA MIXTURE:
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, grated cheese, salt, pepper and parsley. Mix until combined.
ASSEMBLE THE MUSHROOM LASAGNA:
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Add 3-4 tablespoons of bechamel to the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish and spread evenly in the bottom.
- Lay a few lasagna noodles over the bechamel sauce. It works easier if you have a rectangular dish (but I only had an oval one) If the lasagna noodles don't fit evenly, break them into pieces and fit them like a mosaic to cover the sauce.
- Spread 1/3 of the bechamel sauce over the noodles.
- Spoon 1/2 of the mushroom mixture over the bechamel and spread evenly over the bechamel.
- Spoon 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the mushrooms, spreading into an even layer.
- Sprinkle 1 cup of grated mozzarella over the ricotta.
- Top with another layer of lasagna noodles, followed by 1/3 of the bechamel sauce, the remainder of the mushrooms, remainder of the ricotta and 1 cup of the mozzarella.
- Top with another layer of lasagna noodles and the remainder of the bechamel. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove the foil and sprinkle on additional mozzarella and grated pecorino or parmesan and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Let the lasagna rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into the casserole.