Lazy lasagna is basically a deconstructed lasagna bake, made with store-bought sauce, mozzarella and ricotta cheese, and whatever pasta you have on hand. It’s easy and comforting without having to use a ton of ingredients.
Lazy Lasagna Recipe
This recipe for lazy lasagna is actually inspired by my grandma, who I’m sure got hers from Taste of Home ages ago. It never failed that when we visited, this was on the menu one night with her Celery Seed Dressing that’s in my cookbook.
Apparently my grandma wasn’t like other food blogger grandmas. She was a baker and always had a good nut roll or spritz cookies in the freezer, but she wasn’t big on cooking. But would she ever slave away over a pot of long-simmered tomato sauce that was passed down from ancestor to ancestor – NO! She didn’t have time for that! She had 6 kids!
Well, I have zero kids and I rarely have time for that too, so I wanted to try to recreate what I remembered that made it so easy. Store-bought sauce? Check. Pre-packaged cheese? Check. Any pasta I can grab from the pantry? Double check!
You fuss with layers a little bit, but not quite as much as a traditional lasagna. Plus in this recipe, it’s a lot easier to avoid the use of aged cheese, like Parmesan, which people on a migraine diet have to avoid in the elimination stage.
Lazy Lasagna Ingredients
The ingredients for this lasagna bake are pretty straight forward and should be really easy to find. The most difficult part, if you’re following a migraine diet, is to find a pasta sauce without onions. Lucky I have a few favorite brands.
- Cucina Antica Garlic Marinara
- Rao’s Sensitive Marinara
- Fody Marinara
- Sprouts Sensitive Marinara
Now if you’re sensitive to garlic as well, you can just leave it out, but I love to add extra to mine to kick the flavor up a notch.
My advice for buying mozzarella and ricotta is to look for fresh, with as few ingredients as possible. Trust me, you can totally taste the difference between a $5 package of ricotta and a $2 package that justifies the increase in price. Some people find the texture of ricotta to be gritty and I insist it’s because they’re buying inexpensive ricotta. A good ricotta is luscious and super creamy. I used Liuzzi Cheese in this, but Calabro is another good brand. One without gums will work best in this recipe (and apparently they’re best for baking overall).
For mozzarella, I buy a big ball of it and grate it at home using a cheese grater, or just pull it apart in big pieces.
To Egg or Not to Egg?
I’ve made this by leaving the egg out and putting an egg in. The egg does help to bind the cheese mixture a little bit more and coat the pasta, but it’s truly not necessary. In this case, I think one less ingredient is nice and leaving it out doesn’t change the flavor.
If you’re one of those die-hard egg in lasagna people, go for it. But if you’re just doing it to help the texture of ricotta, it really doesn’t need it.
It also helps the ricotta is layered in between the pasta, so it doesn’t dry out like it would on top. Save the top layer just for the mozzarella!
Al Dente Pasta
One thing that helps with the texture is to cook the pasta slightly al dente. And if you haven’t heard of this before, it’s really easy to do. Just pull out your pasta about 1-2 minutes before the “final time” posted on the package. The pasta should be a little firm, but still soft enough to chew.
A few types of pasta that I think would go well are:
Feel free to use a gluten free version of any pasta you like for this recipe.
For more pasta recipes, check out these guys:
This lasagna bake takes all the best parts of lasagna (the gooey cheese, pasta, and sauce!) but saves you a little time and a lot of effort when it comes to layering. Can be made gluten free and without beef.
- 12 oz dried pasta (I used penne)
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 25 oz marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella, torn or shredded
- parsley for garnish
- olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and prep a 9x13 inch pan, rubbing with a little bit of olive oil to coat it. Meanwhile boil water and cook pasta just 1-2 minutes short of package directions until al dente (firm, but cooked through). At the same time, brown ground beef in a large saute pan until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes, and drain if there is a lot of excess moisture. Add marinara sauce.
In a separate bowl, combine the basil, garlic, oregano with ricotta cheese until well mixed.
Drain pasta and toss with the marinara/beef mixture till coated. Layer 1/2 the pasta in the bottom of the pan. Then top with all of the ricotta/garlic/basil mixture. Spread the rest of the pasta over the top of the ricotta mixture, then dot with mozzarella tears all over the top (save 2 or 3 slices for a snack!!).
Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until warmed through and bubbling. Remove foil and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes until lightly browned on top. (If you want yours a little more brown like mine, you may have to broil for 1-2 minutes on high)
Remove from the oven and serve warm with a side salad!
- Pastas that would work well here -Rigatoni, Penne. Fusilli, Cavatappi, Ziti
- Feel free to make this gluten free
- I go easy on the salt here for dietary accommodations, but feel free to taste the sauce and add more as needed