Lasagna can be a difficult dish to make for even the most experienced cook. You can take a lot of the work out of lasagna by making lasagna roll-ups with meat sauce instead.
This recipe lasagna roll-up recipe may look complicated, but it is not. There are step-by-step instructions and they should be easy to follow and help eliminating guessing if you have made them correctly.
Ground chicken or turkey can be substituted for the ground beef in this recipe. If desired, use Italian-flavored meat substitute. You could also serve with meatballs if you do not want to serve with meat sauce. If desired you can leave out the meat all together.
Fresh spinach can be substituted for frozen spinach. You may even want to consider substituting finely thawed and drained chopped broccoli instead of spinach.
Easy lasagna roll-ups with meat sauce
Ingredients needed for lasagna roll-ups
½ o ¾ pounds 85% to 90% lean ground beef
1 teaspoon olive or vegetable oil
½ cup white, red or yellow onion, diced
1 to 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
12 to 16 lasagna noodles
1 container (16-ounces) part-skim mozzarella cheese
½ of a 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed, drained and all water squeezed out
¼ cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 to 3 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 to 2 teaspoons garlic powder
½ to 1 teaspoon salt
1 recipe of homemade marinara sauce or 1 to 2 jars store bought pasta sauce
½ to 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
How to make lasagna roll-ups with meat sauce:
In a large bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, parsley flakes, garlic powder and salt. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator to stay cold.
Bring salted water to a boil in a large stock pot to cook the lasagna noodles.
As water is boiling, add oil to a medium-sized sauté pan or skillet. Heat over medium heat until hot and then carefully add onions. Cook until almost tender, about 1 minute. Add garlic and cook on medium-low heat for another minute.
Add ground beef to onions and garlic. Cook until meat is browned and cooked through. Set aside. Skim off any fat after meat cools.
After the salted water comes to a boil, carefully add lasagna noodles 4 at a time. Carefully cook the noodles in these small batches, watching carefully and using a tongs or fork to separate if they begin sticking together. Cook only until soft enough to roll-up. Remove from pot and place in a colander. Run under cold water to cool.
To keep lasagna noodles from sticking together, put the colander in a bowl of cold water in the sink. Carefully drape the cooked and cooled noodles over the side of the colander.
Heat the pasta sauce in a medium-sized pot. Stir in the cooked meat.
Prepare a 13×9-inch baking dish by spraying with non-stick cooking spray. Spread a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan.
Remove the ricotta cheese mixture from the refrigerator. Carefully fold in the drained frozen spinach. You may not need the entire ½ package you defrosted, just enough to add some color, you do not want your filling overwhelmed by green color.
Lay out a lasagna noodle on the countertop or cutting board. Place approximately 2 teaspoons of cheese mixture, a little more is okay, about ½-inch from the top of the noodle. Spread it out to approximately ½-inch of the bottom of the noodle. Starting at the top of the noodle, carefully roll to the bottom of the noodle. Repeat until all you have used all the noodles.
Pre-heat the oven to 350*F.
Carefully ladle the rest of the sauce over the lasagna roll-ups in the pan. Reserve some to spoon over cooked roll-ups, if desired. Sprinkle top of lasagna roll-ups with shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake for approximately 15 minutes until hot and bubbly. Remove foil and bake another 10 to 16 minutes until cheese on top is golden brown.
Remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving. Serve 2 to 3 lasagna roll-ups per adult, 1 to 2 roll-ups per child, depending on appetites. Spoon additional meat sauce over roll-ups, if desired.
Serve with garlic bread, a vegetable and a green salad to make a complete meal. This recipe should serve a family of 4 to 6.