Make lasagna fit for Passover with this spinach and cheese matzo lasagna. Layers of creamy ricotta, mozzarella, and spinach with sheets of matzo in place of traditional lasagna noodles. It’s a Jewish holiday favorite, but delicious any time of year!
Matzo is an unleavened flatbread with a cracker-like texture. Recipes using matzo are popular during Passover, and this matzo lasagna is one many look forward to every year. Get creative with your matzo recipes, and try this Matzo Pizza or these other Matzo Recipe Ideas to serve during the week of Passover.
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
- This lasagna can be made ahead of time and baked right before serving.
- It’s great comfort food and a one pan meal.
- Vegetarian spinach lasagna made with sheets of matzo instead of traditional noodles is kosher for Passover.
Dana’s Note: This recipe was requested by people in my Jewish Cooking Facebook group. Many members said that it's a beloved nostalgic dish. Some people feel that with all the layers of ingredients in the dish, it’s hard to distinguish the Passover matzo version from the original.
One pitfall of making matzo lasagna is that it sometimes can be bland, so this recipe was designed to have extra flavor by including garlic powder, fresh basil, aged Parmesan, and a flavorful marinara sauce.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
See the recipe card below for a complete ingredient list and measurements.Jump to Recipe
- Ricotta - Some brands of ricotta taste plain while others are salty, so the salt in the recipe is optional depending on if you think it’s needed. Make sure to taste the ricotta first.
- Egg - Although the egg helps to hold the lasagna layers together, the recipe works with or without the egg.
- Garlic powder - To change it up, try a little grated nutmeg instead of garlic for a different flavor profile. Can also substitute with 1-2 cloves garlic.
- Fresh basil - Fresh basil gives an extra burst of flavor that makes this dish extra delicious. Otherwise, can substitute with dried basil or oregano. When using dried herbs, use about a third of the amount you would use for fresh.
- Parmesan cheese - Try to buy an aged Italian Parmesan cheese for the best flavor.
- Spinach - Get the chopped frozen spinach so you don’t have to chop it yourself. The spinach can be optional, but it adds more flavor, interest, and nutrition. I think this is the right amount of spinach for the recipe, but it’s on the generous side. So if you’re not sure if your family will like the spinach, I would cut the amount in half.
- Matzo - Any brand of matzo will work. I tested this recipe with plain unsalted matzo.
- Marinara sauce - Use your favorite jarred brand, or make your own San Marzano Tomato Sauce.
- Mozzarella cheese - If you like an extra cheesy lasagna, add a little more cheese to each layer or to the top; you can finish the rest of an 8 ounce package.
Have leftover matzo? Try these matzo topping ideas.
Meat: This Passover lasagna is a flavorful vegetarian lasagna that uses a marinara tomato sauce and dairy cheese. The marinara sauce can be substituted with a bolognese sauce if you’d like to make a meat lasagna. To keep a bolognese lasagna kosher, either use a veggie meat crumble (like Beyond Meat) in the sauce, or use vegan cheese and a vegan béchamel sauce. When making a Passover béchamel sauce, substitute the flour with potato starch.
More veggies: It’s easy to add more vegetables to this lasagna. Put cooked and thinly sliced eggplant, zucchini, or sweet potato planks in the layers too. One combination I really like is sautéed mushrooms, onions, and zucchini. Use whatever leftover vegetables you have on hand.
Noodles: When it's not Passover, the matzo sheets can be substituted with no-boil lasagna noodles such as the ones made by Barilla.
Double: This recipe can be doubled and made in a 9x13 inch casserole dish for a bigger crowd or to have leftovers.
Step by Step Photos
See the recipe card below for complete directions.Jump to Recipe
Mix ricotta, spinach, egg, salt (optional), pepper, garlic, basil, and ¼ cup parmesan together.
Spread ⅓ cup of marinara sauce at the bottom of a baking dish.
Add matzo and top with ⅓ cup of ricotta and spinach mixture.
Next add another layer of sauce on top.
Top this layer with mozzarella cheese. Repeat the process with 3 more layers. Finish with some extra parmesan on top.
Bake until the cheese is bubbly and lightly golden brown.
- Drain the spinach well. Once thawed, place the spinach in a clean tea towel or cheese cloth, and ring it out well to drain the excess liquid.
- If you need to thaw the spinach quickly, place the frozen package under running cold water.
- No need to soak the matzo sheets, which is suggested by some other recipes. The matzo will soften and absorb moisture during the cooking process.
- An 8x8 inch baking dish is the perfect size so that one sheet of matzo will fill up a whole layer. You can still use a 9x9 inch dish, but the matzo sheet won’t quite reach the edges of the casserole dish.
- Once out of the oven, wait to cut into the lasagna about 10-15 minutes. This will make it easier to cut neat squares.
Assemble matzo lasagna ahead of time, and bake later in the day or the next day. Store assembled lasagna covered in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before baking. Leave out on the counter for about 30 minutes before baking so it’s not so cold going into the oven. Be sure not to put a cold glass casserole dish in a hot oven, or it may break.
Storage and Reheating
Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing: Can be frozen baked or unbaked. I recommend freezing the unbaked lasagna so that it is less likely to get mushy. To freeze, tightly wrap the matzo lasagna in a double layer of plastic wrap and then foil. Freeze for up to 3 months.
To thaw, place the lasagna in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the plastic wrap so that you don’t accidentally bake with the plastic wrap on. Do not put a frozen casserole dish straight into a hot oven as the dish may break from heat shock, especially if it’s made of glass. However, if you use a disposable aluminum pan, then the frozen lasagna could go straight into the oven, but would take considerably longer to bake or heat.
How to reheat: Microwave single servings covered until warm and sizzling.
What to Serve With Matzo Lasagna
Serve this Passover lasagna with soup, salad, or an appetizer that’s kosher for Passover.
Pair it with these Passover desserts!
Matzo Lasagna Recipe for Passover
- 8x8 baking dish
- aluminum foil
- 1 cup ricotta 8 ounce container
- 1 large egg beaten
- ¼ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt optional
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil plus extra chopped basil for garnish (0.2 ounces)
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese divided
- 10 ounce box chopped frozen spinach defrosted and drained well
- 4 standard matzo sheets
- 1 ⅔ cups marinara sauce choose your favorite brand (15 ounce jar)
- 1 ⅓ cups shredded mozzarella cheese 6 ounces
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Ricotta spinach mixture: In a large mixing bowl combine the ricotta with egg, salt, pepper, garlic, chopped fresh basil, ¼ cup of the parmesan, and drained spinach. Mix until well combined.
- Sauce on bottom: Spread ⅓ cup of the sauce at the bottom of an 8x8 inch square baking dish into an even layer.
- Make first layer: Place 1 sheet of matzo in the baking dish. Dollop with a heaping ⅓ cup ricotta spinach mixture, and spread as evenly as possible. Spread ⅓ cup sauce on top, and then sprinkle with ⅓ cup of the mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat to make 4 layers total: Repeat this process three more times layering in this order: matzo, ricotta mixture, sauce, and then mozzarella. Always use ⅓ cup of each filling.
- The top: Sprinkle the top of the lasagna with remaining 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese.
- Bake: Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, but use a slightly bigger piece, and tent the foil so that it doesn’t touch the cheese. Bake for 35 minutes. Then, uncover, and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and lightly golden brown.
- Garnish lasagna with extra chopped fresh basil on top.
- Be sure to squeeze the defrosted spinach out well in a tea towel or cheese cloth to get all the excess water out.
- Make ahead: Assemble matzo lasagna ahead of time, and bake later in the day or the next day. Store assembled lasagna covered in the refrigerator until 30 minutes before baking. Leave out on the counter for about 30 minutes before baking so it’s not so cold going into the oven. Be sure not to put a cold glass casserole dish in a hot oven, or it may break.
- Storage: Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezing: Can be frozen baked or unbaked. I recommend freezing the unbaked lasagna so that it is less likely to get mushy. To freeze, tightly wrap the matzo lasagna in a double layer of plastic wrap and then foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, place the lasagna in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the plastic wrap so that you don’t accidentally bake with the plastic wrap on. Do not put a frozen casserole dish straight into a hot oven as the dish may break from heat shock, especially if it’s made of glass. However, if you use a disposable aluminum pan, then the frozen lasagna could go straight into the oven, but would take considerably longer to bake or heat.
- How to reheat: Microwave single servings covered until warm and sizzling.