messy, delicious no-bake lasagna

Last week when my mom was in town it took until night 5 before I actually made dinner at home.  And it took until day 6 before my mom ever even saw a glimpse of the mountains.  Hangs head...  But, my mom's main reason for this trip was to help us get settled in our house and she did just that.  While I didn't get to make dinner every night and we didn't actually make it to the mountains, I still relished in the time that my mom was here, focusing on what we did instead of what we didn't do.

We ran what felt like 237 errands throughout the week.  I was ready to drop but she was ready for more.  She cleaned, organized, consolidated, brainstormed, and gave me loads of that calming-mom-goodness she's full of.  Where does it all come from?

I'm not quite sure how she does it.  I'm also not quite sure how I got so lucky.  

So, on that fifth night we finally took a break from the house and dining out and I whipped up a big batch of tofu-ricotta lasagna.  I started with my red sauce, prepped the tofu, layered the lasagna, and set it off to bake.  Dinner may have been served an hour later than I was hoping but there were no complaints.  In fact, there were hardly any words.

Too.busy.chewing.

While I absolutely love the end result of lasagna it can turn into quite the time commitment, which is where this recipe comes into play.  This actually came about the following day during lunch.  I had a few un-sauced noodles left that wouldn't fit in the lasagna pan, a pint-sized jar of leftover sauce, and a few dollops of tofu ricotta.  I decided to just throw everything in a pan and heat it up.

It was then plopped into a bowl and inhaled.  

No need to bake.  No need to layer.  No need to dirty a million dishes.  Just throw it in a pot, stir together, top with ricotta + fresh mozz or tofu-ricotta and scarf.

The lasagna noodles are just so doughy + delicious.  And, I allowed time for the sauce to thicken up just like it does when you bake lasagna.

Lasagna on the quick. 

Totally digging it.

Print this!

No-Bake Spinach Lasagna gluten-free, vegan option // yields 4-6 servings

  • 1, 10oz box lasagna noodles, gluten-free if needed - my favorite
  • 4 cups prepared red sauce
  • 1 large bunch spinach, washed + stem ends discarded
  • 12-15oz, ricotta
  • 4-8oz, fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • salt, pepper, fresh basil
  1. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package instructions.  
  2. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  3. Heat red sauce in the emptied noodle pot over medium heat.  If using a thin sauce let it cook for awhile allowing to thicken.
  4. Once it starts to simmer reduce heat to med-low and add the spinach.  Stir frequently for 2-3 minutes until the spinach starts to cook down.
  5. Add in the noodles and gently fold/stir until the mixture is hot and simmering.
  6. While cooking, drizzle a pan with oil and gently heat your ricotta or tofu-ricotta over med-low heat, until just heated through.  Remove from heat.
  7. Pour about 1/3 of the pasta mixture in a large serving bowl and top with dollops of ricotta and slices of mozzarella.  No need to spread the ricotta.  
  8. Repeat step 7 twice more and top with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and sliced basil.  Serve immediately.
  9. For individual portions:  Preheat your oven to broil.  Fill 4-6, small baking dishes with the lasagna mixture.  Top with a few dollops of ricotta and mozzarella.  Place under the broiler until bubbly and starting to brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Watch closely.  Top with salt, pepper, and basil and serve.

notes/substitutions: For a vegan version make this tofu ricotta filling and omit the mozzarella cheese.  I used bunched spinach that you find in the produce area by lettuce.  If using baby spinach sub about 8 cups/handfuls.  This red wine + rosemary variation on my red sauce is perfect for fall and winter.  Or, try these other pasta dishes: spaghetti squash stuffed shellscreamy marinara and kale pasta, vegan.

And while you definitely don't need to bake this meal...

It's totally acceptable to portion out separate servings, top with ricotta + mozz, then broil until bubbly + browned.

I owe you mom [and dad!].  At least 100 million more homecooked meals.  Although, that still won't be near enough.

Ashley