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Quick Lasagna Recipes

Categories: Cooking, Food, Meal Planning


First of all, you guys have awesome tips for preventing Post Trip Insanity. Second of all, check out this post at Excruciating Minutiae where she lays out her very well thought out plan for Avoiding Post Trip Chaos. I’d never even really thought about smoothing out my reentry (other than having the house clean) and wow. Just wow. You guys are good.

Kath asked for a quick and easy lasagna recipe, so I started looking around.

confessions lasagnaI made this lasagna from Confessions Of A Pioneer Woman on Friday night for company. (I did not take pictures since Ree’s photos are amazing and I don’t like to try to outdo perfection). We’d had it before but I thought I’d share it with you in case you hadn’t heard of it. It’s a reasonably easy lasagna in the sense that you buy everything at your average grocery store and/or use what you have in the pantry. It’s not something I’d whip up at 6pm when I got home from the office however since the sauce simmers for quite some time and it bakes for another 30 minutes. But it’s still an excellent meal, if my friends were still having babies I’d make them five to put in their freezers.

I’ve made this Last Minute Lasagna from Real Simple many times. It is exactly the kind of ‘lasagna’ you’d whip up at 6pm after a long day of work. I will admit it’s not the most impressive looking lasagna and not something I’d serve for dinner guests, but it is filling, vegetarian and it includes spinach (not pureed!).last minute lasagna

Instead of relying on my own very limited knowledge of food, cooking or lasagna I thought I’d point you to this discussion at the Chowhound forum about cooking a quick lasagna. Great tips in this thread, including using jarred white sauce in your lasagna to replace the traditional ricotta or cottage cheese.

Here is another simple lasagna recipe involving just four steps, no boil noodles and jarred spaghetti sauce. The bake time is 30-40 minutes but the prep time is around 12 minutes, perfect when you’ve got other preparations to do and want to have your meal ready when your guests arrive . They suggest this recipe for a Christmas Eve open house, which sounds so easy I’m thinking of serving it at ours.

I really love this recipe because it’s faster than traditional lasagna but is a little more impressive than your jarred sauce and ricotta version. This recipe replaces the lasagna noodles with wonton skins, she also points out these are a great replacement for fresh pasta for ravioli as well. The recipe also includes prosciutto which is what bacon would be if it came from heavenly pigs. I’d serve this version for a spur of the moment dinner party or for a quick family meal as well.

Does your family have a favorite quick lasagna recipe? What about a favorite vegetarian lasagna recipe? Even better, what about a favorite gluten free and vegetarian lasagna recipe? If you share that favorite I’ll thank you endlessly for solving my unending “What To Feed My Little Sister” dilemma just in time for our annual Christmas Eve celebration.

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6 comments so far...

  • My husband’s business partner is vegetarian, so the last time we had him/his wife over for dinner, I made a vegetarian lasagna.

    The recipe is never an exact science since I just ‘throw’ lasagnas together, but you could start from the Pioneer Woman recipe. Buy a bad of frozen, chopped spinach, and let it thaw in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for an hour beforehand. Once thawed, place it between a few pieces of paper towel and gently squeeze out any extra water. In the cottage cheese (I used ricotta, but cottage cheese would work well as well as be cheaper), add the thawed spinach, and stir well so that it has a much more generoush smattering of green than the picture she has.
    Skip the meat, but mix up the sauteed garlic, tomatoes, seasonings, etc as in her recipe, and simmer for 15-20.
    Assemble and cook the same.

    For a veggie side dish, I usually make a big dish of spagetti squash. This is the large intimitating looking yellow squash with smooth skin you can get in most grocery stores.
    Pop the squash in the microwave for one minute to soften it a bit, and preheat the oven to 350 or the same temp you are cooking the lasagna at.
    Take a knife and carefully cut the squash in half length wise so you have two squat oblong halves. If you are scared of this step, recruit the hubby.
    Once halved, scoup out the seeds with a spoon, and rinse them.
    Set them face down on a creased cookie sheet and bake in the oven 45min or so, depending on size. Basically cook it until you can poke the outer shell of the squash and it feels soft. (If rushed, you can micro them for 6-9 min, faces together in a bowl.)
    Once soft, take them out and flip them over. Carefully (they are hot), take a large fork and poke/pry at the innards to break them up. It should be very stringy (thus the name spagetti squash), the shape/size of cooked angelhair pasta. Pull all the innards out of the shell and put them in a bowl. Discard shells.
    To bake: mix the innards with 1-2cloves chopped garlic, 2 tsp italian seasoning (or the basil and parsley), 1 Tbs olive oil, and 1/2 a cup parmesean cheese. Mix well, spread in a baking dish till its about 2″ thick. Sprinkle the top with another 1/4 parm cheese. Bake for 30 min at 350.
    To sautee if you are in a rush, mix the squash with the 1/2c cheese and seasonings, but sautee the garlic and olive oil in a pan, then add the squash and stirr well. Sprinkle additional cheese at end.

    If you want an all in one veggie dish, you could bake the spagetti squash and use the stringy innards in the place of the meat in the lasagna recipe.

    Katrina  |  November 13th, 2007 at 5:38 pm

  • ps- on the gluten free front - the spagettis squash recipe is gluten/meat free, but if you have your heart set on a lasagna-like dish, you could substitute eggplant for the noodles. Buy a couple large eggplants, peel them, cut off both ends, then thinly (1/4-1/2 inch) slice it lengthwise so you have many long strips. Salt the strips lightly, then use them in place of the noodles. Add the spinach, and thats a dish with some serious veggie punch.

    Katrina  |  November 13th, 2007 at 5:50 pm

  • yum you guys have me drooling for italian! i may have to make one of these tonight!

    Kate  |  November 13th, 2007 at 7:16 pm

  • or you could just use gluten-free lasagne noodles!

    Jeyd  |  November 13th, 2007 at 9:37 pm

  • The pioneer women recipe sounds complex - but you didn’t write the important (and amusing) bit ‘Did they like it?’

    Also a suggestion or two

    I’m British & I think most people in the UK use the no boil lasagne sheets - much easier you just bake the dish longer. To make up for the water the pasta absorbs while it cooks the meat sauce usually has more liquid in it - so throw in another can of tomatoes or use a cup of water, stock or even red wine.

    Also rather than just plain ricotta / mozzarella the traditional UK recipe includes cheese sauce. To make put 600ml milk, 25g flour, and 25g butter together in a pan on a low heat and stir until it boils and goes thick - about 10 minutes). Add a pinch of nutmeg, a grind of pepper, a cup of grated cheese (more if you like), and stir it in until its nice and smooth. Yum yum.

    You can add an egg to the cheese sauce if you want, just stir it into the pan off the heat once the sauce has thickened - this also makes the cooked sauce nice and fluffy!

    Another Kate  |  November 16th, 2007 at 3:31 pm

  • I made this for company and didn’t eat with the kids so I sort of forgot. Maddie ate some plain pasta, Max loves lasagna. All other dinner guests were pleased.

    msummers  |  November 18th, 2007 at 8:11 pm