Recipe: Slow-Cooker Vegetable Lasagna
Busy families, this lasagna recipe is for you. I crave the comfort of homemade lasagna this time of year, but I dislike the lengthy assembly time that often accompanies the dish. For equal taste with a fraction of the work, try a slow-cooker version instead.
The slow cooker makes the entire process really simple: no boiling noodles, no precooking the vegetables and no need to worry about making neat layers. While it may not have the same plated finesse as layered lasagna, it’s an easy tradeoff when prep time is less than 15 minutes.
You can use any vegetables you like; I choose peas, spinach, and zucchini for both flavor and ease. Because the slow cooker isn’t a perfect rectangle, you will have to cut or break the noodles so they’ll fit in a single layer, but don’t worry about making them perfect.
Once cooked, everything will blend together into a cheesy, saucy bowl of pasta. Let the lasagna rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing. If you try to serve this while it’s still piping-hot, you will end up with something resembling lasagna soup as opposed to casserole lasagna. When the lasagna is cooled, you can slice it into individual portions, perfect for lunch leftovers the next day.
Slow-Cooker Vegetable Lasagna
Yield: 8 servings
4 cups marinara sauce
8 to 9 lasagna noodles (preferably whole wheat)
3/4 cup green peas, thawed if frozen
3 cups baby spinach leaves
3 cups sliced zucchini (from about 3 to 4 small zucchini)
3 cups part-skim ricotta cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Fresh parsley, for garnish
Lightly spray the inside of the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker, then add a layer of noodles (see above for notes on layering the noodles).
Cover the noodles with 3/4 cup ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup green peas, 1 cup baby spinach leaves, 1 cup sliced zucchini and 3/4 cup marinara sauce. Repeat with two additional layers of noodles, ricotta and vegetables; you will have three layers in all. End with a final layer of noodles, remaining marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
Cover with a lid and cook on high for 3 hours or 5 to 6 hours on low. Then turn the slow cooker off and let the lasagna sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. Allowing the lasagna to sit before serving lets it firm up.
Garnish with parsley and serve.
Per serving: Calories 479; Fat 14 g (Saturated 6.6 g); Carbohydrate 63 g; Fiber 5 g; Sugars 13 g; Protein 25 g
Alex Caspero MA, RD, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher. She is the founder of Delish Knowledge (delishknowledge.com), a resource for healthy, whole-food vegetarian recipes. In her private coaching practice, she helps individuals find their “Happy Weight.”