This Easy Lasagna recipe is made with oven ready lasagna noodles, jarred tomato sauce and a couple special ingredients that bring LOADS of flavor! Includes step by step recipe video so you can make this simple lasagna at home.
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Sharing this Easy Lasagna recipe here on The Recipe Rebel, I’ll admit, is mostly for me.
I occasionally have purely selfish motives here (and my motives are almost entirely selfish when cheesy pasta is involved 😉 ).
The thing is, I realized one day that lasagna is one of those things I hadn’t yet mastered, because I never use a recipe.
So I have made some amazing lasagna, and I have made some dry lasagnas, and I have made some soupy lasagnas, and I struggled to get consistent results.
I figured the only thing to do was to come up with an incredibly flavorful Easy Lasagna Recipe to share here, and that would force me to actually get in my kitchen and figure out the best ratios of sauce to pasta to cheese and then I would be making amazing lasagnas forevermore.
The first thing I have to say is that I am not Italian.
I understand everyone is passionate about their own culture and how recipes (etc., etc., etc.,) are portrayed by others who, really, have no clue.
I get it! I am not culture-less myself.
That being said, this is one delicious Easy Lasagna Recipe.
It is not the most authentic Italian lasagna. But really, what is an authentic lasagna?
What is authentic lasagna?
All I have to say to this is: WHO REALLY KNOWS?!
Even in Italy, there are so many variations of lasagna depending on where you live, that I don’t know if we can really claim there’s one right way.
Some Lasagnas have a layer of ricotta, cheese and egg mixture layered with meat sauce.
Some Lasagna recipes have cottage cheese (I feel like this is a Canadian prairies thing, but I could be wrong).
Some Lasagna recipes have a layer of bechamel sauce rather than tomato.
And then there are all the other types of lasagna in the world: veggie, zucchini noodles, chicken, Alfredo, lasagna rolls…. and on and on forever.
I’m sure as I post this I’ll receive a valuable education from concerned readers about what Lasagna really is, but right now I’m sharing this delicious and easy lasagna. Because I feel like it.
How to make lasagna:
- Start with your meat sauce: in this recipe I like to use a combination of ground beef and Italian sausage because it adds a ton of flavor without us really having to put in any extra work!
- Make the ricotta layer: Stir together the ricotta, seasonings, cheese and egg to hold it all together.
- Grab your noodles: for this Easy Lasagna recipe I really wanted to come up with an amazing lasagna that used oven ready lasagna noodles, because having to boil those noodles first is a big job, that uses a big pot, and really wasn’t as easy as I wanted it to be.
- Layer it up: Start with a little meat sauce in the bottom of the pan to ensure your noodles don’t stick to the bottom, then top with noodles, ricotta, and meat sauce and then repeat. Dump allllll of that extra mozzarella on the top for good measure!
- Cover and bake: Covering the lasagna with foil to bake ensures that the moisture stays inside and cooks the noodles. We will uncover once we add the cheese and let it sit at room temperature for some time before slicing to help it set well.
Variations on this Easy Lasagna Recipe:
And because there are about 1 million different ways to make lasagna, here are a few tips to get it just the way you like:
- You can swap the ricotta for cottage cheese and change nothing else at all. See how easy that was! Simply mix it up with the cheese just like you would ricotta.
- Don’t have ricotta or cottage cheese? You can actually skip it altogether! (Just don’t tell anyone)
- Want to add extra veggies? Go for it! I often do, but I wanted to keep this lasagna recipe as simple as possible to start. Finely chopped carrots, celery, mushrooms, kale or spinach would be great, and you can add them when you’re cooking the meat.
- Don’t have an Italian sausage? You can use all ground beef or sub for ground turkey or pork, but you will want to increase the seasonings somewhat.
How to freeze lasagna:
One of the best things about a good lasagna is how easy it is to make ahead, and it still tastes just as amazing when you bake it later!
You can wrap and refrigerate the lasagna for 3-4 days before baking, or you can freeze it to enjoy it even later.
To freeze lasagna before baking, you can add the cheese before freezing or just before baking — I prefer to add it during the last ten minutes so it doesn’t get stuck to my foil!
Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then foil, or use an airtight, freezer safe lid. Freeze up to 3 months before baking.
To bake, let thaw at room temperature throughout the day – 8 hours – or overnight in the refrigerator. Bake for 1-1.5 hours until lasagna noodles are tender. Top with cheese and bake until melted.
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- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 lb Italian sausage loose packed or casings removed (5 sausages)
- 1 onion finely diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 3.5 cups jarred tomato pasta sauce about 1.5 jars
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups Ricotta cheese 450g
- 1/2 cup frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry (100g)
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese divided
- 12 oven ready lasagna noodles
- In a large pan, cook ground beef, Italian sausage and onion until browned, stirring often. If there is a lot of liquid in the pan, drain it before continuing.
- Stir in garlic, salt and Italian seasoning and cook 1 minute.
- Stir in pasta sauce and water. Remove from heat to cool slightly. (This can also be made in advance and refrigerated up to 4 days or frozen up to 3 months)
- In a medium bowl, stir together Ricotta, spinach, cream, egg and Parmesan and 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (if baking right away) and lightly grease a deep 9×13" pan.
- Spread just enough meat sauce in the bottom of the pan to create a thin layer.
- Top with 3 lasagna noodles. Spread the noodles with ⅓ of the Ricotta mixture, and top that with ¼ of the meat sauce.
- Repeat layers 3 times, and on the last layer of noodles spread only the remaining meat sauce.
- Lightly grease a piece of tin foil or oven safe lid and place over top of the lasagna. Bake for 40-45 minutes until noodles are tender (this can take up to 60 minutes, depending on your brand of pasta) — it will still be juicy at this point and that's okay.
- Remove the foil and sprinkle with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10 minutes until melted and broil for 2 minutes if desired to brown the cheese.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes — there should not be any liquid remaining on the edges after this rest. Slice and serve.
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