Clear the marinara sauce out of your cupboards, empty the fridge of cheese, and get ready to prepare the easiest lasagna casserole you've ever cooked! Our easy lasagna casserole recipe uses up all of those leftover cupboard staples and makes for a delicious alternative to the often complicated traditional lasagna recipes you've probably already tried.
You can cook this meal in bulk and keep it in the fridge for several days, taking the hassle out of prepping dinner. If you want fresh lasagna noodles, you can always up your game by preparing homemade pasta!
The options are endlessly delicious with this recipe, which is why we love it so much.
10 oz of short pasta
1lb of ground beef
1/2 a cup of chopped onions
1 tsp of minced garlic
25 oz of marinara sauce
1/4 of a cup of water
1 cup of ricotta cheese
1 large egg
3 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
Italian herbs and seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh basil to serve
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil on the stovetop.
Add in your pasta and allow it to cook until it's al dente (cook the pasta for one or two minutes less than it says to on the back of the packet). Once you finish cooking the pasta, drain the water, and keep the pasta ready on your counter.
Place a large skillet onto a medium heat on the stovetop and throw in your ground beef, chopped onions, and minced garlic. Allow the ingredients to cook on medium heat until the ground beef is browned all over, and the onions have softened up.
Add in your Italian herbs and seasoning alongside salt and pepper to taste. Stir before pouring over your marinara sauce. Pour in a little water (no more than 2 tbsps) to lighten the sauce.
Allow the ingredients to simmer in the sauce until it's warmed up (no need to boil), then add your drained pasta to the mix and stir everything together.
Now you need to prepare a 13 x 9-inch casserole dish and preheat your oven to 350 °F.
While the oven is preheating, pour your ricotta cheese into a large mixing bowl. Crack your large egg into the bowl and whisk it into the cheese.
Shred your mozzarella cheese and grate your parmesan. Add half of both kinds of cheese to the mixing bowl. Stir everything together with a light seasoning of pepper.
Now it's time to layer your lasagna casserole. First, pour half of the sauce, beef, and pasta into the baking dish. Add a smooth layer of your cheese mixture, then add a second layer of sauce, beef, and pasta.
Add any leftover cheese mixture to the top, cover the pan with tin foil, and then place the lasagna casserole into the oven.
After 30 min of baking, take the easy lasagna casserole out of the oven, remove the tin foil, and cover the top with the rest of your grated parmesan and shredded mozzarella.
Place the lasagna back into the oven, this time uncovered. Bake for a further 10 min to give the lasagna a cheesy, yet golden brown finish.
Leave to cool, sprinkle with fresh basil, and serve up to a hungry dinner table!
You can whip up an easy lasagna casserole using many of the ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen pantry or hiding in your refrigerator. It's a great way to get rid of that extra cheese, pasta, or sauce, so it's often called the "poor man's lasagna!"
For more ideas and variations of our quick lasagna recipe, keep reading! Our chefs put together this detailed FAQ to answer the most common queries about our easy lasagna casserole.
The recipe works best if you use short pasta and not the long spaghetti or angel hair noodles. You'll find that you might already have this stashed away in your cupboard!
Besides using short pasta, it doesn't matter which variety you use. A macaroni lasagna is excellent if you want something the kids will enjoy. Penne lasagna or a fusilli lasagna works for a classic touch. Suppose you're scraping ingredients together from the pantry. In that case, you can even get away with using longer pasta noodles, such as tagliatelle or fettuccine, as these are a bit thicker than classic spaghetti noodles. Our recipe is versatile, so you can use your favorite noodles or whatever is on hand.
Easy lasagna casserole is all about cutting down on preparation time, but there's nothing quite like using homemade pasta, especially if you're a true fan of Italian cooking.
If you're making homemade pasta, then you'll need to prepare the pasta dough from scratch or try and find a packet of pre-prepared dough in the store.
Luckily, a pasta roller will take out most of the hard work if you do want to prepare a more authentic pasta for the dish. Making fresh pasta adds to the preparation time, but it will be worth it. You could even make a large batch of homemade pasta, dry it out, store it in your cupboard for later, and specifically for occasions like a lazy lasagna craving day.
Lasagna casserole is the perfect dish for preparing ahead of time. It's quick and easy to put together, and you can do much of the work early on and finish the cooking just before it's time for dinner.
If you're preparing the casserole the night before or in the morning, we'd suggest first cooking your pasta, preparing the sauce, and mixing the different cheeses for easy dinner prep. Layer up the casserole dish, cover it in tin foil, then leave everything in the fridge until it's time to cook.
When it's dinnertime, remove the dish from the fridge and bake it in the oven as per the recipe's instructions above. Don't forget to finish the lasagna with a delicious coating of cheese!
You can quickly turn this into a vegetarian-friendly lasagna. All you need to do is remove the ground beef from the recipe. You can replace the ground beef with tofu or a veggie substitute. A vegetarian alternative will give the casserole a similar taste and texture to the original meat version.
If you haven't got a vegetable or meatless substitute lying around, you can add in vegetables you might have in the fridge or the pantry. Slice up some bell peppers, chop some zucchini, or sautee a few mushrooms to go into the dish. You can even add vegetables to the meat recipe, too, if you want to bulk out the casserole or make it a little bit more nutritious!
A vegan lasagna casserole is a lot more challenging to make using our recipe as a base. It might not be quite as spontaneous for lazy days, but it's not impossible. For starters, you'll need to make sure you do not add eggs to your pasta recipe. Most dried pasta from the store doesn't contain eggs. If you're making your pasta using a pasta maker at home, you can be extra confident that it's vegan-friendly!
You'll also have to cut out the ground beef (replace this with vegetables or a meat substitute such as Quorn mince) and cut out the cheese entirely (definitely no egg-ricotta mixing!). You can often find vegan cheese in the store these days if you want to replicate this vital part of the lasagna casserole.
If you have any leftovers, you can quickly freeze them and keep them safely stored for up to 6 months. Once the leftovers have cooled down, transfer them to a suitable freezer container. A resealable box or a ziplock bag will work well. We'd recommend dividing the leftovers into portions too, as this will make them easier to defrost individually at a later date.
Once boxed up, move your leftovers to the freezer and close the door! When it's time to eat lasagna casserole again, you can either let the leftovers thaw on the side or defrost them on low power in the microwave. We'd suggest that you reheat the leftovers gently in a large skillet on low heat or bake them again in the oven. To add a little bit of freshness to the casserole, you could sprinkle over a new layer of cheese to melt before garnishing the reheated lasagna with some herbs.
If you're in a hurry, then the microwave also works, but you can easily overdo it and lose the texture and freshness of your lasagna when you're reheating it this way!
Lasagna casserole is super easy to make and will cut your lasagna prep time down to half, if not more - we guarantee it. This delicious recipe is not only easy to prepare, but you can cook it up well ahead of time or save the leftovers in the freezer for months afterward.
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