But then I threw together this really super simple spinach lasagna last weekend and I've changed my tune! Why was it so much easier? I used "no boil" noodles, homemade marinara sauce that I had in my freezer, and a meatless filling required no pre-cooking. I literally just mixed it, layered it, and then just threw it in the oven. Sure, it still needed to bake for an hour, but it was totally worth the wait.
Of course, if you don't have homemade marinara sauce waiting in your freezer, you can use a jarred sauce from the store (and then be sure to make some homemade marinara so you're prepared next time). Also, some people don't like the texture of no-boil lasagna noodles because they tend to be a bit gummier, so you can certainly boil some regular lasagna noodles and use them instead.
Oh, and if you do want meat in your lasagna, I would suggest browning some Italian sausage or ground beef in a skillet, and then adding it to the marinara sauce before beginning the layering process.
Spinach Artichoke Lasagna
Total Recipe cost: $14.17
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Cost per serving: $1.18
Prep time: 30 min. Cook time: 1 hr. Total: 1.5 hrs.
|1 lb.||frozen chopped spinach||$1.38|
|1 (13.75 oz) can||artichoke hearts in brine||$2.62|
|15 oz.||ricotta cheese||$1.94|
|2 cups||shredded mozzarella||$2.18|
|1/3 cup||grated parmesan||$0.31|
|1/2 Tbsp||minced garlic||$0.16|
|10-15 cranks||fresh cracked pepper||$0.05|
|4 cups||marinara sauce||$3.17|
|1 lb.||no-boil lasagna noodles||$1.88|
STEP 1: Allow the frozen spinach to thaw. In a large bowl combine the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper, and half of the shredded mozzarella (1 cup). Stir until well combined. Drain the artichoke hearts, roughly chop them, and then add them to the cheese mixture along with the thawed spinach and minced garlic. Stir well.
STEP 2: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat the inside of a 9x11 inch baking dish with non-stick spray and then layer in the ingredients in this order: 1 cup of marinara sauce, one layer of noodles, 1/2 of the cheese mixture, 1 cup of marinara, one layer of noodles, the second half of the cheese mixture, 1 cup of marinara sauce, one layer of noodles, one final cup of marinara sauce, and then the final cup of shredded mozzarella.
STEP 3: Cover the baking dish loosely with foil (don't let it touch the shredded cheese on top) and place the dish in the fully preheated oven. Bake for one hour and remove the foil for the final 15 minutes of baking.
Step By Step Photos
The first thing I did was allow the spinach to thaw. For this recipe, I prefer the frozen chopped spinach that comes in a bag, rather than the frozen spinach that comes in a block. It is less stringy and has a better texture. I let it thaw in a colander just incase it dripped while thawing.
In a large bowl, stir together the ricotta, parmesan, eggs, salt, pepper, and half of the shredded mozzarella (1 cup).
Next, drain the artichoke hearts and roughly chop them up.
Add the thawed spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, and minced garlic to the cheese mixture. I used pre-chopped garlic, but if you're using fresh, use approximately two cloves.
Stir everything together and you've got your amazing, cheesey, spinach and artichoke filling.
Next layer the ingredients together in this order: 1 cup sauce, noodles, 1/2 of the cheese filling, 1 cup of sauce, noodles, the second half of the cheese filling, 1 cup of sauce, noodles, 1 more cup of sauce, and then finally the second half of the shredded mozzarella.
Cover the dish with foil and bake in a preheated, 375 degree oven for one hour. Remove the foil for the final 15 minutes of baking.
Look at those delicious, cheesy layers!
Oh, also, this freezes really well. I suggest cutting it into pieces and then freezing them in containers individually. It's an easy, grab-n-go lunch!