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Pumpkin Lasagna with Sausage and Kale

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This pumpkin lasagna with sausage and kale is a rich and hearty take on a classic dish. Hearty sausage, pumpkin, and cheese are balanced with fresh kale and mushrooms to make a mouth-watering meal.

Close up of a slice of pumpkin lasagna on a plate, with another slice and the baking dish in the background

Everybody loves lasagna. But sometimes the standard lasagna formula can get a little tiring.

Enter pumpkin lasagna with sausage and kale. Rather than using a marinara sauce, this recipe uses an earthy, savory pumpkin cream sauce. With fresh veggies like kale and mushrooms, Italian sausage, and lots and lots of melty cheese, this will quickly become one of your favorite lasagnas. 

The flavors are complex, but the preparation isn’t. Despite being a show-stopper of a meal, this pumpkin lasagna only takes a little over an hour to make. And most of that time is when the dish is already in the oven! 

Why Add Pumpkin To Lasagna? 

Pumpkin isn’t exactly a traditional lasagna ingredient, but squash is a common flavor in Italian food. Pumpkin is a hearty flavor, and pairs really well with strong flavors like sausage, garlic, onion, and cheese. Like tomatoes, pumpkin is a smooth savory flavor with a hint of sweetness. It works well with all of the ingredients in this lasagna, while also being unique.

Close up of the corner of a baking tray with pumpkin lasagna, with the corner piece removed

Recipe Ingredients

Here’s everything you need to make pumpkin lasagna with sausage and kale. Make sure to check out the recipe card at the bottom of the article to see the exact quantities of each ingredient.

For the Sausage and Kale Mixture

  • Sweet Italian sausage
  • Mushrooms – You can use any type, but basic button or baby bella mushrooms work perfectly.
  • Onion
  • Lacinato kale – This hearty kale is ideal for this dish, but you can use other types of kale.
  • Garlic

For the Ricotta Filling

  • Whole milk ricotta
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Large eggs
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Garlic powder

For the Pumpkin Cream Sauce

  • Pumpkin puree – Be sure to use pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling.
  • Heavy cream
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Nutmeg

For the Assembly:

  • Lasagna noodles
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Can You Use Other Types of Sausage?

You can use any type of savory sausage that you have on hand for this recipe. However, since lasagna is an Italian dish, the flavors in Italian sausage are perfect for this recipe. 

Can You Make it Gluten-Free?

This is an easy recipe to make gluten-free, as only one ingredient has gluten: the lasagna noodles. To make this pumpkin lasagna with sausage and kale gluten-free, simply use gluten-free noodles.

A plate with a slice of pumpkin lasagna, with a fork taking a forkful of it, with another plate of lasagna in the background

How to Make Pumpkin Lasagna with Sausage and Kale

This recipe is bursting with different flavors, yet it’s easy and straightforward to make.

  • Prep. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  • Cook the noodles. Follow the instructions on the package to cook the lasagna noodles in salted water until al dente. When they’re finished cooking, drain and add to a bowl of water so they don’t stick. 
  • Cook the sausage and kale. Heat the sausage in a skillet over medium heat until browned. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until the onion is translucent. Add in the kale and garlic and cook until the kale is soft, which should take 2-3 minutes. Set the mixture aside.
  • Make the ricotta filling. Put all of the ingredients for the ricotta filling in a bowl, and whisk together until smooth. 
  • Make the pumpkin sauce. Place the pumpkin sauce ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until the cheese is fully melted, and the sauce has thickened, then set aside. 
  • Assemble. Place a layer of pumpkin sauce in a 9×13-inch pan, then add a layer of lasagna noodles. Pour on ⅓ of the pumpkin sauce, followed by ½ of the ricotta mixture and ½ of the sausage and kale mixture. Repeat that process, then add a final layer of noodles and the rest of the pumpkin sauce. 
  • Add cheese and bake. Top with shredded mozzarella and parmesan, and bake until the cheese is golden brown. This should take about 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 20 minutes. 

Tips for Success

Here are a few tricks and tips for making a perfect pumpkin lasagna with sausage and kale.

  • Get some color on the meat. The more color you get on the sausage, the more flavor it will add to the lasagna. When cooking the meat, make sure the pan is pretty hot, and don’t stir the sausage too much. This will allow it to caramelize a little bit. 
  • Tent, if necessary. Keep an eye on the lasagna when it’s in the oven. If the cheese is browning too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil. You want the cheese to end up golden brown, but you also want the lasagna to spend a good amount of time in the oven so everything can cook together. 
  • Let it cool sufficiently. This lasagna smells fantastic. When you pull it out of the oven and smell the rich pumpkin and sausage, mixed with the melted cheese, you’ll want to dive in right away. Resist the temptation, and let it cool for at least 20 minutes. This will allow the lasagna to absorb the liquids, and will give the cheese time to firm up a little bit. As a result, the lasagna will hold its shape when you cut into it. 

How to Serve Pumpkin Lasagna

This dish is pretty heavy with the meat, noodles, pumpkin cream sauce, and cheese. So I like to serve it with some lighter sides, like veggies and salads. Here are a few of my favorite things to serve with pumpkin lasagna.

How to Store Pumpkin Lasagna with Sausage and Kale

You can keep this pumpkin lasagna in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven or in the microwave. 

A slice of pumpkin lasagna on a plate, with another slice and a baking dish in the background

Other Savory Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkins aren’t just for pies and other desserts! If you liked this recipe, check out some of my other favorite savory dishes that star pumpkin.

A baking tray with pumpkin lasagna cut into eight slices, with one slice removed and a serving spoon in it

Pumpkin Lasagna with Sausage and Kale

This pumpkin lasagna with sausage and kale is a new twist on an old favorite. With pumpkin cream sauce replacing marina, and a cheesy, gooey layer on top, this will be your new favorite lasagna.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

For the Sausage and Kale Mixture:

  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cups finely chopped lacinato kale
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced fresh garlic

For the Ricotta Filling:

  • 15 ounces whole milk ricotta
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

For the Pumpkin Cream Sauce:

  • 15 ounce canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

For the Assembly:

  • 1 pound uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 °F
  • Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions in salted water until al dente. To prevent them from sticking together after draining, fill a large bowl with cool water and add the cooked noodles to the water.
  • Heat a large skillet to medium and cook the sausage until browned. Add in mushrooms and onion and cook for a few minutes, until onions are translucent. Add in the kale and garlic and continue cooking for 2-3 more minutes, until softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Whisk together all ingredients for the ricotta filling until smooth.
  • Add all ingredients for the pumpkin sauce to a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk well until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened, then remove from heat.
  • To assemble the lasagna, start with a thin layer of pumpkin sauce in a 9×13” pan.
  • Next, add a layer of lasagna noodles, followed by ⅓ of the pumpkin sauce, ½ of the ricotta and ½ of the sausage/kale mixture. Repeat 2x, then finish with a final layer of lasagna noodles, remaining ⅓ of pumpkin sauce, and top with 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella and ¼ cup parmesan.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes, until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 slice | Calories: 462 kcal | Carbohydrates: 5 g | Protein: 21 g | Fat: 40 g | Saturated Fat: 20 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14 g | Trans Fat: 0.004 g | Cholesterol: 153 mg | Sodium: 1102 mg | Potassium: 254 mg | Fiber: 0.3 g | Sugar: 2 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: easy lasagna recipe, homemade lasagna, lasagna recipe, lasagna with pumpkin, pumpkin lasagna
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