Crock-pot Lasagna, no way, you can’t make lasagna in a crock-pot. I’ve made beef stew, beef chili, chicken, meatballs and sauce and even Easter Dinner in the crockpot but never the mother-load of all baked meals, a lasagna.
Crock-pot Crock-pot, come out come out wherever you are. I swear it took off when it overheard me saying I was going to make a lasagna in it. Even the crock-pot had some reservations about this turning out anything like the traditional oven baked Italian lasagna recipe that most people sink their mouths into.
That’s what I used to think until I actually gave this a try. I used my typical oven baked lasagna recipe to create this except I didn’t have ricotta on hand so I substituted for cottage cheese to make this dish.
So, sit back and enjoy the layers in this one-pot lasagna recipe!!
How To Boil Lasagna Noodles
No need to worry about boiling lasagna noodles with this recipe although if you opt to boil them it’s not rocket science. I would get a huge pot and fill it with water until boiling and drop in a few lasagna noodles at a time and cook until al dente (5-7 minutes), remove and use them immediately in your layers.
It’s a tedious process and you don’t want to let the noodles hang out for too long. Sometimes I used to add lightly some extra virgin olive oil if I have them on a dish waiting to be used.
What are no-boil lasagna noodles?
Essentially they are lasagna noodles that you don’t have to run through the process as described above, you can use them as-is. This is your no-bake, no-cook lasagna recipe because you don’t even have to boil the noodles like you would with a traditional lasagna.
Homemade Lasagna Noodles
I bet you were thinking, “how do we make pasta for this recipe”? No, but If I were creative in the kitchen I could have made homemade lasagna noodles but I didn’t have time, besides using the crockpot is meant to save time. Since the no-boil lasagna noodles are readily available many people opt for that instead of boiling the noodles on the stove-top.
Some people also don’t fancy the no-boil noodles and would prefer to boil them as they feel the taste is different. You can certainly do that for this recipe buy purchasing the noodles you need to boil or make them yourself.
Where to find no-boil lasagna noodles?
You can pretty much find the no-bake or no-boil lasagna noodles at any grocery store in Canada and you may also try your luck at a market or speciality shop. There are many brands of noodles but I have used the Primo no-boil lasagna noodles and Barilla no-boil lasagna noodles for my lasagna recipes in the past.
Easy Crockpot Lasagna
I probably had to worry more about convincing the wife than anyone else because she was going to be eating this with me. The top of the finished product looks a bit dark around the edges only because the sauce browned but it made no difference at all to the overall taste. The lasagna was layered with a homemade turkey mince pasta sauce, mozzarella, hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, a cottage cheese, egg, cream and parsley mix.
I used a different sauce for this recipe not as overwhelming with the ingredients as my meatball and pasta sauce but it has the right balance of tomato flavour that helps this lasagna come to life. I made the sauce ahead of time as it does take a couple of hours to reduce to bring out all the flavours.
Many people don’t use hard-boiled eggs in their lasagna and hey, I hear you. I’m sure many of you are saying, what in the heck is Mr.CBB doing adding hard-boiled egg slices to his crock-pot lasagna for.
It wasn’t me, it was the wife who turned me into a believer. I love eggs and I eat them at least 3 times a week if not more. When my wife made her lasagna for me one day and added the eggs I thought she was off her rocker, I really did. She promised me that I would be a new man after trying her lasagna and you guessed it, I was.
The eggs adds just the right amount of depth to this lasagna that I’m sure you will wonder why they heck you never thought of that idea yourself. I added lots of sauce to each layer starting with sauce on the bottom.
How Do You Make Lasagna?
This crock-pot lasagna is no different from making it in a lasagna pan so just follow the instructions if you are using a pan instead of a crock-pot or slow cooker. I organized the photos below layer by layer for you. If you don’t add enough sauce you risk the lasagna drying up on you just like anything else you put in the crock-pot that doesn’t produce a liquid from the steam.
You will find the no-boil noodles will want to soak up the sauce in order to soften each layer so don’t be shy with the pasta sauce, layer it on thick. I started with a layer of sauce on the bottom, then added a layer of noodles, then sauce, cheese, noodles, cottage cheese mix, cheese, sauce, noodles, egg, mushrooms, cheese, sauce, noodles, sauce and top it with lots of grated mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
You will find a variation in some ingredients depending on how big your crock-pot is. You can also layer the lasagna however you like but I like to try and keep the ricotta cheese filling near the middle. I also tossed parsley flakes on the top for good luck.
If you let the lasagna set a bit after you shut it off it may help to cut it a bit but since it’s not in a traditional pan you may not get the perfect piece of lasagna. It’s more a rustic lasagna, so tuck in and enjoy.
Recipe for Crockpot Lasagna
Feeds: 6-8 people
Time: Cook on low for about 4-5 hours or until the noodles are tender. I just use a fork to check!
- 1 box of no bake noodles (at least 12-16 noodles needed depending on size of your crockpot)
- 4-6 cups of grated mozzarella cheese
- 1- 1.5 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 6 hard-boiled eggs sliced
- 200 grams of fresh mushrooms sliced
- 1 lb ricotta or cottage cheese (medium container)
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh or dry parsley
- 1/4 cup cream
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt (depending on your taste)
- pepper to taste
Meat Pasta Sauce
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- 2 large tins of crushed tomatoes
- 6 cloves of garlic minced
- pinch of crushed pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon parsley
- 1 tablespoon basil
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 2 medium onions minced
- 1lb minced turkey (or whichever mince you like)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Making The Pasta Sauce
- In a large pot add your olive oil and heat up, then add in your onions and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in your turkey mince and cook until browned.
- Add in your tomato paste and rinse out the can by adding some water and tossing that in the pot.
- Add in your 2 cans of crushed tomatoes and cup of water
- Add in all of your spices and sugar
- Bring to a boil then reduce to medium for 2 hours until the sauce reduces a bit then it’s ready to go
Making the Lasagna Filling
- In a bowl add your ricotta or cottage cheese, egg, cream, 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, parsley, salt and pepper and stir that’s it.
Putting the Crockpot Lasagna Together
- Ladle one giant scoop of pasta sauce on the bottom of the croc-kpot
- Cover the sauce with noodles then more sauce, mozzarella cheese, sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano
(note: if you have to break the noodle in half, go for it, I did and it makes no difference. Just make sure the layer is covered with noodles)
- Add more noodles, then add a layer of all the ricotta or cottage cheese mix, sauce, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Add more noodles, sauce, hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Add more noodles, cover with sauce generously, the rest of the mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Cook on low for 4-5 hours or until noodles are fork tender
Enjoy this crock-pot lasagna with your favourite crusty bread, garden salad and a beverage. Finish it off with a fudgy brownie and this is a meal that is perfect for any night of the week.
What are your favourite lasagna layers?
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