Over the weekend, I made lasagna rolls, and they were a huge hit with Johnny and the boys. I was craving lasagna, but I didn’t want to make a huge pan of it when we weren’t expecting any guests. Whenever I make lasagna for just the four of us, I always end up throwing a third of it away. Even if I cut up the leftovers and freeze them, I end up forgetting about them and discover them six months later. I remembered that a while ago, my sister, June, had shown me a picture of some lasagna rolls she made — she spread sauteed meat, sauce, ricotta cheese and spinach on individual lasagna noodles, rolled up the noodles, then baked them in a small pan. Turns out, this was the perfect solution to my lasagna problem. 🙂 So, thank you, June! Also, a tip of the hat to our friend Lana — I took some tips for her amazing lasagna recipe.
I know there are many lasagna roll recipes out there, but for once, I thought I would improvise with what I already had in the house. I warn you now that this isn’t a precise recipe — I didn’t measure any ingredients, and I’m not a good recipe writer. I’m great at following recipes and improvising on them once I’m familiar with them, and of course there are comfort foods that I make without a recipe, but certainly 99% of what I write about on this blog is based on a recipe someone else wrote. So, take this “recipe” with a grain of salt! That being said, here’s how I made my lasagna rolls.
Makes 9 rolls (number of servings will vary; for reference, my kids each ate one roll, I ate two, and my husband ate three)
- 6 ounces of ground turkey or other lean ground meat of your choice
- Half of an onion, diced
- A bit of olive oil (I didn’t measure; I used maybe one tablespoon?)
- Marinara sauce (either jarred or homemade; if jarred, you’ll need about 2/3 of a 28-oz jar)
- 10-oz package of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (I used a little more than half a box)
- 8 ounces of ricotta cheese
- 9 lasagna noodles, boiled until al dente and set aside on clean towels to cool
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Salt and pepper
- A small baking pan, such as a 9″ square brownie pan
Heat some olive oil in a pan, then saute the diced onion for two or three minutes. Add the ground turkey, and saute with the onion until no longer pink, about six minutes. When the meat is no longer pink, pour in some marinara sauce (I used about half of a 28-oz jar). Simmer the sauce with the meat for 10 minutes.
When the sauce and meat are done simmering, gather all your ingredients: the cooked, cooled noodles, the ricotta and spinach mixture, the sauce and meat, and the shredded mozzarella. Lay a few lasagna noodles at a time on a cutting board or some other work surface that you don’t mind getting dirty. Spread some of the ricotta and spinach onto a lasagna noodle.
Take care to roll up the noodles as tightly as possible; otherwise, you might have trouble fitting them into the pan (as you can see, I ran into this problem! I managed to squeeze all of them in there, but some of my noodles were rolled up way too loosely).
Pour some marinara sauce over the prepared rolls in the pan, then sprinkle mozzarella liberally over the top. (Sadly, I didn’t have enough shredded cheese and couldn’t put it over the prepared rolls.)
Slide the pan of lasagna rolls into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the filling is bubbling and the cheese on top is melted. To serve, ladle some sauce onto a plate, then place a lasagna roll on the plate (using a thin metal spatula makes removing the rolls easier). Top with more shredded cheese, if desired.