This lasagna is super easy to fix and bake in the crock pot. The ingredients are layered and slow cooked to perfection. If you're skeptical about using broken, uncooked lasagna noodles, try the recipe; you'll be surprised. It comes out looking and tasting just like a layered, baked lasagna, and with far less work and mess.
Don't feel you have to follow the recipe to a "T." Like most casseroles and slow cooker combinations, it is a versatile recipe, and highly adaptable. For a chunkier sauce, replace the tomato sauce with two 14.5-ounce cans of diced tomatoes, or use half tomato sauce and half pasta sauce or marinara. If you prefer ricotta cheese in your lasagna, go ahead and use it instead of cottage cheese. For a fresh-baked look, just before serving, sprinkle extra mozzarella cheese over the top and place it under the broiler or bake it in a hot oven for a few minutes.
Feel free to replace the ground beef with part or all Italian sausage (spicy or mild, bulk or removed from casings), or for a leaner sauce, use ground turkey. If you like a very meaty sauce, add an extra 1/2 pound of meat. TVP or beans are good protein replacement options for vegetarians.
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce
- 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 12 ounces cottage cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 12 ounces lasagna noodles (uncooked, broken into small pieces)
- 12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (3 cups)
- Peel the onion and chop it coarsely.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion to the skillet and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Crumble the ground beef into the skillet and cook until it is no longer pink, stirring frequently; drain well.
- Add the garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, salt and oregano and basil to the skillet. Continue cooking until the mixture begins to simmer.
- Spoon a layer of meat sauce onto the bottom of the slow cooker. Add a double layer of broken lasagna noodles and top with a layer of the cheeses. Repeat the layers with more sauce, noodles, and cheeses, ending with cheese.
- Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
- Use leaf basil and oregano and avoid stronger ground herbs. If you prefer fresh chopped herbs, use 1 1/2 teaspoons each of fresh chopped oregano and basil.
- To take this dish along to a tailgating gathering or party, wrap the hot crock pot in towels to insulate and keep the dish hot. Plug it in as soon as you get to the event and serve hot from the slow cooker.
- While most meats can be cooked in the slow cooker without pre-browning, ground meat is an exception. Browning ground beef and other ground meats can greatly improve the texture, color, and flavor.
- To improve the appearance of the dish for serving, sprinkle some shredded Parmesan cheese or fresh chopped parsley over the top.
- Reduce the mozzarella cheese to 8 ounces, if desired.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||20 g|
|Saturated Fat||9 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||7 g|
|Dietary Fiber||4 g|