Easy to make for weeknight family dinners, this Lasagna Soup is budget-friendly comfort food! It’s made with gluten-free Mafalda pasta or lasagna noodles, but you can use any pasta you’d like. There are also simple dairy-free options as well. Italian sausage adds lots of flavor to this soup with a herby tomato broth and plenty of pasta. Top this soup with a spoonful of ricotta plus a sprinkling of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
We crave lasagna flavors more often than I actually have time to make lasagna. So the easy solution is to come up with an easy weeknight option!
You’ll find my Instant Pot Lazy Lasagna which is similar, but I wanted something even easier than that. So when I first saw the ruffled Mafalda pasta hit the shelves in a gluten-free version I knew it was time to get busy.
As it turns out pretty much everyone on the Internet has been making Lasagna Soup for a while now. I may be a bit late to the party, but I wanted to add my spin on what has now become a classic.
This lasagna soup is based on the ingredients from my Gluten Free Lasagna but there’s no layering or 1 hour bake time. All the same ingredients, but 30 minutes or less to dinnertime.
So I hope you enjoy this Lasagna Soup with gluten-free and dairy-free options! It has all the flavors of my mom’s lasagna I remember growing up in a convenient weeknight package.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Italian sausage – I like to use mild, but you can use hot Italian sausage if you like spice for a variation. Ground beef or pork can be used here as well, but the flavor is blander and you’ll need more seasonings to make up for it. You can also use a ground turkey sausage or chicken sausage here, but it dries out more in the soup.
- Lasagna noodles –You can use broken-up lasagna noodles, but my favorite is what is pictured above, called Mafalda. Jovial makes them gluten-free with 100% brown rice, and they work wonderfully in this soup. They’re also the more budget-friendly option. Gluten-free lasagna noodles cost more per ounce, but they do work here. You can also use any shape of pasta you’d like in this soup. It all tastes the same and looks different with slightly different textures. Try and use something more bite-sized like fusilli rather than penne, which can be ungainly in a soup!
- Ricotta cheese – whole milk ricotta has the best flavor and is more readily available than it used to be. However if you can’t find it, try using whole-milk cottage cheese. My mom used to do this back when ricotta was definitely not at our local grocery store. You can mash it with a fork to break up the curds a bit or pulse it in a mini food processor until it more closely resembles ricotta. For dairy-free, Kite Hill makes a great ‘ricotta’ cheese.
- Mozzarella – freshly grated will give you the best texture, but you can use pre-grated as well.
- Parmesan – again freshly grated has the best flavor, but pre-grated works here as well, just avoid the ‘green can’ kind.
- Diced tomatoes – I like to use fire-roasted canned diced tomatoes for more depth of flavor, but you can use regular diced tomatoes as well. Just look for anything that doesn’t have added spices or chilis in it.
- Onions & garlic – add depth of flavor to the base of this soup.
- Broth – look for low-sodium chicken broth, or make your own Homemade Chicken Stock to have in your freezer.
- Italian seasoning – give the classic ‘lasagna’ flavor to this soup. Italian seasoning has a good amount of oregano in it that gives you that ‘lasagna’ flavor, and I also like to add some ground fennel to round it out. If you don’t have fennel, omit it. But I recommend giving it a whirl at some point because it adds depth. I don’t use it often, so I keep a spice jar of fennel seeds and grind them in a mortar and pestle when I need them.
How to make this Lasagna Soup recipe step by step
Step 1: Start by dicing up the onion.
Step 2: Next cook the Italian sausage in a large pot over medium-high heat. I use a large Dutch oven, but any large pot works well.
Use a utensil like a wooden spoon to break up the meat into small bite-sized pieces. If you use a lean sausage made from turkey or chicken, you’ll need a bit of olive oil to cook it.
Step 3: After the sausage is browned and just cooked, add the garlic and onion to the pot.
Cook for 1-2 minutes to soften.
Step 4: Add the seasonings, broth, and blended diced tomatoes and stir to combine.
Add the pasta to the soup broth and stir to combine again. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the pasta is al dente.
Step 5: While the pasta is cooking in the soup, mix the ricotta with the fresh herbs.
Sprinkle in a bit of parmesan and season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Step 6: When the pasta is just done, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Ways to serve this
- Serve in bowls with a dollop of ricotta mixture plus grated mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Add more chopped fresh parsley and/or fresh basil if you have it on hand. Add a side of garlic bread for dipping into the soup if you’re not gluten-free.
- Add a side salad like my Apple Spinach Salad, or try my Caesar Salad (without the grilled chicken).
- Add another veggie like my Garlic Roasted Carrots or, for a stovetop option, my Sautéed Green Beans. For more options, head on over to the Side Dish Category for all my veggie recipes.
Yes and no! The 2 brands I recommend are 100% brown rice and no one can tell this lasagna is gluten-free. The texture of these brown rice noodles is almost identical to traditional lasagna noodles. You’ll want to avoid any brands containing corn or ingredients like quinoa which can have a strange flavor in pasta.
Yes, both gluten-free lasagna noodles and regular lasagna noodles broken into pieces work in this recipe. You don’t need to track down Mafalda pasta if it isn’t readily available to you!
- To store – place any leftover soup into a sealed container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Make ahead – the pasta in this soup will get soggier and break down when made ahead. My best make-ahead tip for this soup is to make the soup without the pasta. Then when you’re ready to serve the soup, cook the pasta in boiling water until it’s halfway cooked, then drain and add to the simmering soup to finish cooking.
- Reheating – add the leftover soup to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until hot. The pasta will be softer and gluten-free pasta will begin to break down, but it still tastes great.
- To freeze – I don’t recommend freezing this soup with pasta in it because the gluten-free noodles will turn to mush in the soup.
Tips & Tricks
- Sprinkle the top with a bit of chopped fresh parsley for a bright pop of color. Or if you keep living herbs around, (you can read about how to keep them alive for months in my post) you can pinch off a sprig of basil for a garnish.
- I like to use diced tomatoes here rather than tomato sauce. I find they have a light flavor that makes for a better lasagna soup. It’s worth the few seconds to blend them up instead of using tomato sauce.
Dietary Options & Substitutions
- Dairy-free – try using your favorite dairy-free ricotta and dairy-free cheese grated. My favorite brand is Kite Hill for their ricotta! Also double check the label on any Italian sausage you buy, some contain cheese or dairy derivatives.
I really hope you enjoy this easy Lasagna Soup recipe! If you get a chance to make this recipe, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage - mild or spicy
- 1 medium onion - finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning - no added sugar or salt
- 1 tsp ground fennel - optional
- 28 ounces can fired-roasted diced tomatoes - blended until smooth in a blender
- 32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 tsp sea salt - more or less to taste
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 6 ounces Mafalda pasta - broken lasagna noodles, or pasta of your choice, see notes
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil - or 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- After you've prepped the ingredients, place a large pot or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the pot is hot but not smoking, add the Italian sausage and break it up with a wooden spoon while it browns.
- When the sausage is just done and broken into bite-sized pieces, add the onion and garlic. Cook stirring occasionally for 1-2 minutes or until just softened.
- Add the Italian seasoning, ground fennel, blended tomatoes, and chicken broth to the pot. Stir to combine while you bring the soup to a boil scraping up any browned bits from the bottom with the wooden spoon.
- Add the salt and peppers, (or reserve to the end if desired) and stir again. Add the pasta to the pot and stir.
- Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook stirring occasionally until the pasta is al dente, or with a bit of resistance when you bite into a piece, 8-10 minutes.
- While the pasta is cooking in the soup, mix the ricotta with the fresh herb(s). Season to taste with a little salt and pepper and mix in about 1/3 of the parmesan cheese.
- When the pasta is done, season the soup to taste with sea salt and pepper. Serve with the ricotta mixture, mozzarella, and remaining parmesan cheese as toppings.