Growing up in an Italian household, we often had lasagna for dinner and even for holidays and special occasions. My mom always made her signature sauce from scratch – a simple but delicious combination of tomato sauce and paste with crushed tomatoes and spices.
Maybe because I had Italian food so much growing up, or because I typically only cook for 1-2 people, I can’t remember the last time I made lasagna. I occasionally make ravioli or pasta for an easy dinner, but never lasagna. So when I came upon slow cooker recipes for lasagna, I thought it would be a good chance to revisit my childhood. I didn’t have time to make sauce so I cheated and bought a jar of organic basil marinara at Trader Joe’s (which I highly recommend). I added in some old spinach that needed to be used, which could easily be omitted.
I wasn’t sure how lasagna would turn out in a slow cooker, but it was delicious! The noodles were tender but not overcooked, and although some of the pieces were funny shapes, the ooey gooey cheesy layers combined with slightly sweet tomato sauce were perfect. This was a simple way to make a lasagna of any size (I used a 3.5 quart slow cooker, which made enough for 2 of us to have dinner and lunch).
What was your favorite dinner as a child?
Slow Cooker Spinach Lasagna
Note: I used a 3.5 quart slow cooker, but this recipe can be easily adjusted for a bigger or smaller one.
Makes 4-6 servings
- 13 oz. part-skim ricotta cheese
- 1/2 C low-fat milk
- No-boil lasagna noodles (I used about 1/3 of a 16 oz. box)
- 25 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce
- 2 C grated part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Package of baby spinach
Combine ricotta and milk in a medium bowl. Lightly coat the interior of slow cooker with non-stick spray and pour enough tomato sauce to make a thin layer along the bottom. Top with a layer of noodles (you will have to break them to get them to fit – don’t worry, I put in lots of little pieces to fill in crevices and it turned out just fine). Spread a layer of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Add a layer of spinach, followed with layers of shredded mozzerella then sauce. Top with another layer of broken noodles and repeat (noodles, ricotta, spinach, mozzerella, sauce, noodles…) until you’ve run out of ricotta and spinach. For the last layer, put noodles, sauce and the remaining mozzerella cheese. Cover and cook on low for around 3-4 hours, until noodles are tender.