The BEST Venison Lasagna Recipe (using Cottage Cheese) is a hearty baked pasta dish oozing with cheese and flavor. Venison Lasagna is one of the best ways to use ground deer to make a comforting family dinner!
Oftentimes, and especially during the holidays, I am cooking for a crowd. Lasagna is a go to dish for me. Of course, making lasagna requires some time and quite a few steps but it is worth it! When making lasagna, I always double the recipe and freeze one for later!
If you are looking for another dish with layers of pasta, try this 5 Ingredient Meatless Baked Ziti! It is perfect to prepare ahead of time and requires only 5 ingredients. Does it get any easier?! Or, if you want to use more deer meat, try this Sweet and Spicy Venison Chili! This is my signature dish. I jokingly call it my 2nd place chili because it won second place in a cookoff. However, it will always be number one in my book!
Venison Lasagna Details
Flavor: This lasagna tastes like a traditional lasagna with Italian flavors. The spicy italian sausage adds some zest that is balanced with the sweet tomato base.
Time: It takes about 45 minutes to make this lasagna. That includes 30 minutes of simmer time.
Level of Difficulty: Medium. Anyone can make this lasagna, I promise! I give it a medium difficulty level because it is time consuming.
While the ingredient list is extensive, most ingredients are pantry staples.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- White Onion
- Mushrooms: I prefer to use whole white mushrooms and chop them versus purchasing pre-sliced mushrooms.
- Garlic Cloves: Substitute 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Ground Venison: You could also use ground beef for a similar flavor.
- Ground Spicy Italian Sausage: Substitute Mild Italian Sausage for less heat.
- Crushed Tomatoes: Substitute marinara sauce or tomato sauce.
- Diced Tomatoes
- Black Pepper
- Tomato Paste
- Cottage Cheese: I use cottage cheese because I find it to be creamier than ricotta cheese. Substitute ricotta cheese.
- Parmesan Cheese
- Dried Basil
- Dried Oregano
- Mozzarella Cheese Slices
Making homemade lasagna requires a few steps but it is worth it for this hearty meal!
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Begin by heating the Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large pot or large sauté pan. Once the oil is hot, add chopped onions. Cook for about 3 minutes until onions begin to soften. Add mushrooms and cook until the become golden brown. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add ground venison and Italian sausage. Season with salt and pepper. Break up meat as it begins to brown. Stir to mix meat with vegetables.
- When ground meat is cooked, add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir to combine.
- Turn heat down to low and allow meat mixture to simmer for 30-40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the cottage cheese mixture. Add the cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, dried basil and dried oregano to a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
- When the meat has simmered, begin to layer the lasagna. To a 9x13 baking dish, place a layer of lasagna noodles in the bottom of the dish. I normally use 4 noodles. If needed, break noodles apart to fit.
- Add a layer of the meat sauce. Use a spoon to evenly distribute the sauce .
- Place the cheese mixture on top of the meat.
- Repeat two more times with the pasta sheets, layers of meat sauce and cheese sauce. Top lasagna with mozzarella cheese slices.
- Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes uncovered until the top of the lasagna begins to become golden and bubbly.
- Let lasagna sit for 5-10 minutes before slicing.
Step 1: Sauté white onions in EVOO until soft. Add mushrooms and cook until golden brown. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
Step 2. Add ground venison and ground Italian sausage to the pan. Break up and combine meats as the meat browns.
Step 3. Add the tomato paste, diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine. Turn heat to low and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Step 4. Make the cheese layer by mixing together the cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, dried basil and dried oregano.
Step 5: Begin layering the lasagna. Start with adding 4 lasagna noodles to the bottom of a 9x13 pan (not photographed). Then, add a layer of the meat sauce.
Step 6: Next, add the cheese layer. Continue to alternate noodles, meat and cheese layers.
Step 7: Top with mozzarella cheese.
Step 8: Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes until top of lasagna is bubbly.
- Substitute the wild game (deer meat) with ground beef or ground lamb.
- Substitute the cottage cheese mixture with a ricotta cheese mixture.
- Use Italian seasoning in place of the dried basil and dried oregano.
- Alternatively, use fresh herbs like basil, parsley or oregano in the meat mixture.
- Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the ground meat mixture for a kick of heat.
- Add extra vegetables such as chopped red and green peppers or sautéed spinach to the meat mixture for extra veggies
No fancy equipment is required to make this crowd pleasing meal!
- Large pot, large saucepan or large Dutch oven
- 9x13 pan
- Large mixing bowl- here is my favorite set!
Store venison lasagna covered with aluminum foil or plastic wrap in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat individual pieces in the microwave for 1-2 minutes at a time or reheat the entire pan in the oven until warm in the center. Alternatively, you can freeze any leftover lasagna in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Make sure you use the largest pot or saucepan that you have when making this lasagna. There are a lot of ingredients and you don't want to the pot or pan to overflow.
Keep lasagna from falling apart by letting the lasagna set up after it cooks. When you remove the lasagna from the oven, all the lasagna to sit untouched for 10 minutes. This will allow the lasagna to cool and congeal together. When the lasagna is very hot, it has a tendency to fall apart.
2-3 layers of noodles, meat sauce and cheese are great for lasagna. However, there is no right answer as it will depend on how thick you layer in the meat and cheese sauce. I start my lasagna with a noodle layer, then meat layer and then a cheese layer.
This Venison Lasagna is a hefty meal! I like to serve it with a fresh salad, garlic bread and, of course, red wine!
Yes, you can freeze venison lasagna? Lasagna is one of my favorite dishes to meal prep. I will make 2 lasagnas, one to eat now and another to freeze! Assemble the lasagna in a freezer safe pan (I prefer to use an aluminum foil pan). Allow lasagna to cool completely. Wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. When you are ready to eat the lasagna, allow the lasagna to dethaw in the refrigerator overnight. Remove lasagna from refrigerator while the oven preheats. Cook as directed. After 25-30 minutes, check to see if the middle of the pasta is hot. If not, place a sheet of aluminum foil over top of the lasagna and continue to cook until warm.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
These are my favorite dishes to serve with [this recipe]:
Creamy Venison Lasagna with Cottage Cheese
- 12 oz Oven Ready Lasagna Noodles
- 1 lb Ground Venison substitute ground beef
- ½ lb Spicy Italian Sausage
- 8 oz White Mushrooms Chopped
- 1 White Onion Chopped
- 14 oz Whole Milk Cottage Cheese
- 4 Garlic Cloves Minced
- 8 oz Tomato Paste
- 28 oz Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 Eggs
- ½ cup Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 8 Mozzarella Cheese Slices
- 14 oz Diced Tomatoes
- 1 tsp Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
- 2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Begin by heating the the Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, add the onions and saute for 3 minutes until onions begin to soften.
- Add mushrooms. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until mushrooms are golden. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant.
- Add ground venison (or ground beef) and Italian Sausage. Season with the salt and pepper. Break up meat while browning.
- Once meat is brown, add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir to combine.
- Turn heat down to low. Simmer ingredients together for 30-40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, dried oregano and dried basil.
- When meat mixture is done simmering, begin assembling the lasagna. In a 9x13 pan, place 4 uncooked lasagna noodles. Place meat mixture on top using a spoon to spread out on top of noodles. Add cottage cheese mixture on top. Repeat noodles, meat, cheese.
- Top lasagna with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until the top is hot and bubbly. If the top begins to brown, cover with foil.