Do I Need to Cook Spinach Before I Put it in a Lasagna?

Spinach lasagna is a favorite for vegetarians and those looking for a vegetarian meal alternative. You can also add spinach to your favorite meat lasagna, mixing it with the ricotta or cottage cheese filling. Both fresh and frozen spinach work for lasagna, but either option requires some prep work before you mix it into the cheese filling.

Add spinach to your favorite lasagna recipe to boost nutrition. (Image: Francesco Dibartolo/iStock/Getty Images)

Fresh Spinach

If you prefer to use fresh spinach in your lasagna, wash it well, rinsing away all the dirt and sand. Remove tough stems and coarsely chop. Bagged spinach does not need to be washed, and baby spinach can be used whole, without chopping. Cook your spinach in boiling, salted water for two minutes, then drain well. Save time and dishes by cooking your spinach in the pasta water for your lasagna noodles before you cook the noodles.

Frozen Spinach

Frozen spinach doesn't need to be cooked before you put it in lasagna, but it does need to be thawed and drained. You can thaw frozen spinach in the microwave or in a pot of water on the stove, or place the spinach in a strainer under running, warm water. Once the spinach has thawed, squeeze out as much water as possible before you add it to your lasagna ingredients.

Mix It Up

Every lasagna recipe is different, but most use spinach as a part of the cheese filling, rather than a layer on its own. Stir together the cheese filling for your lasagna, including ricotta or cottage cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and other spices. Mix in the spinach, using a 20-oz. package of fresh spinach or one to two packages of frozen spinach for a 9-by-13-inch pan of lasagna.


While spinach is a classic choice for lasagna, you can also use other greens, depending upon what looks good in your garden or market. Allow a longer cooking time for tougher greens, such as kale. Remove stems, particularly on large or tough greens. Very delicate greens, including arugula, can be chopped and used raw, like you would basil leaves.

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