As a child, lasagna graced my family’s dinner table every week. To make the layering process quicker, my mom and I set up an assembly line of tomato sauce, ricotta cheese and pasta sheets. This, of course, didn’t make the baking time any shorter — waiting an hour or more for the piping hot dish to come out of the oven felt like an eternity — but it was always worth it. Those dinners are some of my fondest food memories. Unfortunately, my busy schedule nowadays had only ever allowed me to prepare it on weekends, which is a shame for someone who loves lasagna like I do. Recently, however, I came across a ‘lazy’ lasagna recipe that changed all of that. The genius twist? It uses ravioli instead of pasta sheets to simplify prep without sacrificing the dish’s flavor and texture. Keep reading to find out how making this speedy recipe worked for me, and two side dish that transform it into a full meal!
How to shorten the prep and cook time for lasagna
Most lasagna recipes are time-consuming as they call for layering all the ingredients and baking the dish for at least an hour. For a quicker option that’s still full of cheesy goodness, simply swap out pasta sheets for ricotta cheese ravioli. Not only does it save time by cutting down on layering, the ravioli also only needs about 25 minutes to bake for a speedy lasagna.
Another benefit: You don’t have to stick to just plain cheese ravioli. You can use any meat or veggie and cheese ravioli instead like spinach and ricotta for a more complex-flavored lasagna.
And while you can use fresh ravioli for this dish, the frozen kind offers more for your buck. A brand like Great Value Family Size Cheese Ravioli (Buy from Walmart, $6.77) offers 3 pounds of ravioli for under $7. That’s more enough to make one “lazy” lasagna and have plenty of ravioli to cook for another night.
Does frozen ravioli need to be thawed for lasagna?
When making ‘lazy’ lasagna, the ravioli should be thawed for the dish to cook quickly and evenly in the oven. Otherwise, the lasagna will be partially warm by the 25-minute mark and require extra baking time to make it hot and bubbling. It’s best to thaw the ravioli in your fridge overnight so that by dinner time it’s ready for turning into lasagna!
Try this ‘lazy’ lasagna recipe
This recipe from Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis proves that delicious lasagna can be made without the exhaustive layering process. So long as you use flavor-packed ingredients, you’ll get the taste you crave in half the time. Below, the recipe and video showcases how this dish comes together in a snap! (To enjoy those saucy and cheesy leftovers, click through for chef’s tips on how to reheat lasagna.)
- 1 Tbs. + 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb. mild or spicy Italian sausage (casing removed)
- 4½ cups marinara sauce
- 2 lbs. frozen cheese ravioli, thawed (about 24 ravioli)
- 2 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Active: 10 mins
- Total time: 40 mins
- Yield: 10 servings
- Preheat oven 400°F. (Click through to learn how to preheat an oven quickly.)
- Brush 9-by-13-inch pan with 1 tsp. olive oil. Heat large skillet on medium heat. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil and sausage. Cook, breaking sausage into bite-sized pieces with the back of a wooden spoon, until sausage begins to brown; about 8 minutes. Add marinara and simmer. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Spoon a third of the sauce mixture over bottom of pan. Place layer of ravioli on top of sauce. Pour half of remaining sauce on top of ravioli. Sprinkle sauce with one cup mozzarella and ½ cup parmesan. Repeat with another layer of ravioli. Top with remaining sauce, mozzarella, and parmesan.
- Bake uncovered 25 minutes or until edges are bubbling. Switch oven to broil and broil on high 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Allow lasagna to sit 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
My ‘lazy’ lasagna recipe taste test
This recipe couldn’t have been easier to make, and it had all the familiar flavors of classic lasagna. Every bite was creamy, herby and meaty. I used marina sauce from a jar — Botticelli Premium Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce, to be exact (Buy a 2-pack from Walmart, $19.99) — which gave my lasagna a naturally sweet flavor. The acidity of the tomato sauce and the saltiness of the sausage meant I didn’t even have to add salt and pepper. It’s safe to say that this ‘lazy’ lasagna recipe will be one of my staple weeknight dinners going forward.
2 dishes to serve with this lasagna
This lasagna recipe is too delicious resist, and you can turn it into a complete meal by serving it alongside our recipes for Garlic Bread and Dijon and Toasted Walnut Salad. These side dishes deliver on pungent and fresh flavors that will complement the heartiness of the lasagna. Buon appetito!
You can customize with whatever fresh herbs you happen to have on hand.
- 1 ciabatta loaf
- ½ cup softened butter
- 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan, optional
- 2 Tbs. chopped parsley
- 3 tsp. minced garlic
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- Active: 10 mins
- Total time: 20 to 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- In bowl, combine butter, Parmesan, parsley, garlic and salt. Cut 1 ciabatta loaf in half lengthwise; spread cut sides with butter mixture.
- Bake at 425°F until toasted, 10 to 15 minutes.
Romaine and Toasted Walnut Salad
Blue cheese adds pizzazz to this simple toss made even more delicious with an easy from-scratch Dijon vinaigrette.
- ½ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- ½ head romaine lettuce or 1 (12 oz.) bag your favorite salad mix
- ⅓ cup parsley leaves
- 2 oz. blue cheese
- Croutons (optional)
- Active: 15 mins
- Total time: 20 mins
- Yield: 6 servings
- Heat small dry skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts; cook, stirring often, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate; let cool.
- In bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Tear or cut lettuce leaves into large pieces; transfer to serving bowl. Top with parsley leaves and toasted walnuts. Crumble cheese into large pieces. Place on top of lettuce. Serve with dressing. If desired, garnish with croutons.
Keep reading for more quick weeknight recipes:
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