I love lasagna, but the frozen varieties aren’t quite delicious or nutritious enough for my taste, and I have been trying lately to curb our consumption of processed or ready made foods as much as possible.
But every time I made homemade lasagna in the oven, I found it dry when it was fully cooked. I thought I would have to choose between processed foods or dry lasagna. . . until I found out that I could cook lasagna in the crock pot. It’s genius, I tell you!
I started out by taking a veggie crock pot lasagna, and I substituted some of the veggies for ground meat and increased the overall sauce portion. My recipe works really well, but the lasagna is a little less sturdy than oven-cooked lasagnas. It is super moist, flavorful, and delicious, though, and definitely worth a try! My favorite part is that it is chock full of vegetables, but doesn’t really taste like it – so it truly is a family friendly one pot meal!
- 1 zucchini chopped
- 1 handful spinach leaves, chopped
- 2 leaves of kale, chopped
- Mushrooms finely diced (optional)Finely diced garlic (optional)
- 1 lb ground beef (browned)
- 8 oz ricotta cheese (I make my own, but store bought works too!)
- 1 can chopped tomatoes (with juice)
- 1 egg
- Basil (to your preference)
- 4 cups tomato sauce
- 1/2 package traditional Lasagna noodles (not oven ready)
- 3/4 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
In a medium sized bowl, mix ricotta cheese, and finely chopped kale and spinach together. Mix in your preferred amount of basil
In a large mixing bowl, mix tomato sauce, chopped tomatoes, and cooked ground beef with the chopped zucchini (and garlic if you choose to add it).
Spray your crock pot with cooking spray, and spread one smooth layer of pasta sauce mixture in the bottom. Lay uncooked lasagna noodles on the sauce mixture, and then layer the ricotta cheese mixture and lastly the mozzarella cheese. Repeat this layering twice, and then repeat the sauce-noodles part of the layering, ending with the remainder of the sauce and the rest of the mozzarella cheese.
Cover, set your crock pot on high for 4 hours, and set it and forget it! In 3-4 hours, you will have a bubbly, delicious italian entree to serve. No worrying about oven temperature, or whether your lasagna will be too dry (or burn, for heavens’ sake!) Just yummy delicious fall apart and melt in your mouth lasagna chock full of a great balance of protein, dairy, carbohydrates, and vegetables.