I have never made lasagna. Never. To be honest, I’ve always been a touch intimidated by it. Seemed to be alot of work, alot of steps, alot of layers. Just thinking about it exhausted me. In addition, my mother makes an excellent lasagna so why would I go through all that work when she does it and does it great?
Then along came the lasagna roll. Yay! This is much more my speed. Mainly because it’s relatively quick to prepare and everyone can have their own personal lasagna roll (or two, or three). It’s certainly not your traditional lasagna but it works in a pinch. All the familiar flavors are there. And I like to think this version is slightly healthier than a typical super cheesy lasagna. Afterall, it does have spinach in it, right?
If you already have a favorite tomato sauce on hand you can feasibly prepare this meal on a weeknight. I usually make a super simple marinara sauce with this anyway, so it’s quick!
The photo above was taken just before the dish was put into the oven. Even though I have made this several times I never have the time to take a photo once out of the oven and the cheese is all melty – we want to eat it right away!
Here’s what you will need to make approximately 12-14 rolls…
12-14 lasagna noodles, cooked and cooled enough so you can handle them
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen spinach, thawed, drained well and roughly chopped
2 15-oz containers part skim ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 cups part skim shredded mozzarella cheese (approximately)
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large pot of boiling water cook the lasagna noodles. Remove each one carefully with tongs and lay on a hand towel lined cookie sheet to cool and dry.
In a large skillet warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Saute garlic cloves for 1 minute. Add chopped spinach and saute 2-3 minutes. Remove from skillet and allow to cool slightly.
*If you are making a marinara sauce you can do that now, in the same skillet you just removed the spinach from. I usually just saute 2-3 cloves of minced garlic in some olive oil with some red pepper flakes, then add two cans of whole peeled tomatoes that I have broken up. Add salt & pepper and cook over medium heat for 20 minutes.*
In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, eggs, cooled spinach and salt & pepper. Mix well.
Pour 2 ladles of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Now it’s time to start assembling and rolling…
Place one lasagna noodle on the counter (or on a sheet of parchment on the counter) and spoon approximately 1-2 heaping tablespoon of spinach/cheese mixture onto the noodle. Spread mixture out over the entire noodle using the spoon and your fingers. Gently roll the lasagna noodle up and place seam side down in baking dish. I usually roll each noodle over about 3 1/2 to 4 times.
This is how things should look at this point…
Once all the rolls are placed in the dish, spoon tomato sauce over all the rolls, being somewhat generous. Lastly, sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese over each roll. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly. When serving I like to top each roll with some extra tomato sauce.
Adapted from various sources.