No Boil Lasagna

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Be a kitchen star with this stress-free, make-ahead classic to feed a family or a crowd.

No Boil Lasagna featured image

Of all the classic cuisines of the world, Italian is, hands down, the favorite of North American cooks… so much so that American-Italian cuisine has become a style of its own – Chicken Parm, Baked Ziti and this lasagna would not be found in the Trattorias of the Old Country. Which is too bad, because American-Italian food is delightful, and often much less complicated and time-consuming to make than traditional Italian food.

This lasagna is no exception; it checks all the boxes and is fun and easy to put together. It’s meaty, saucy, creamy and cheesy and is a great way to feed a family or a crowd. One of the beauties of this version is that you assemble the whole thing a day in advance allowing you to avoid being a “kitchen slave” on the day that you serve it, so you can socialize, enjoy your Chianti and be the charming hostess you know you are… even if you’re just hosting the family.

Jarred tomato sauce, no-boil noodles and pre-shredded cheese make this simple to put together without compromising on the comforting homey flavors of the finished product. The brave among you can even rope in the kids to help with the assembly so everyone feels like the lent a hand in the creation of the feast.

On pre-made Tomato Sauce

Not all tomato sauces are created equal. The old adage “you get what you pay for” applies here, and it’s really worth spending a little more on a top-quality sauce. In very general terms, we prefer jarred sauces over the canned varieties, although there are certainly top-notched canned sauces available. Sometimes, the acid in the tomatoes can make canned sauces taste metallic or sharp, which tends to happen less in sauces stored in glass. Read the ingredient label and make your choice, then taste the sauce when you get home with your selection. If it tastes too acidic you can add a little sugar, and you can doctor a bland sauce with some seasonings like garlic powder, onion powder, herbs or the hard-to-pronounce but highly useful Worcestershire Sauce. If you’re lucky enough to have a Nona, and she made some sauce in the garage last summer, use that – it’ll likely be better than anything you’ll get from the store.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 25-ounce jar of your favorite tomato or pasta sauce
  • 10 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley or basil chopped (plus extra for garnish)
No Boil Lasagna ingredients

How to Make No Boil Lasagna

Step 1: Prep the Meat Sauce: Start by browning the ground beef over medium heat in a large skillet. Once it’s no longer pink, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant. Mix in the tomato sauce and Italian seasoning, then remove from heat. This will be the robust base of your lasagna layers.

No Boil Lasagna steps

Step 2: Combine the Cheeses: In a separate bowl, blend the ricotta cheese, egg, 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella, and the Parmesan cheese until you have a creamy, cheesy mixture that will add a rich and decadent layer to your lasagna.

No Boil Lasagna steps

Step 3: Assemble the Lasagna: Grab a 9×13 inch baking dish and spread a thin layer of the meat sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking and starts your lasagna off. Place a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles over the sauce. Don’t worry about gaps; they will fill in as the noodles expand. Spread a portion of the cheese mixture over the noodles, then repeat the layers – sauce, noodles, cheese – until you’ve used up all the ingredients. Aim to finish with a layer of meat sauce on top, ensuring the noodles are covered to prevent them from drying out.

No Boil Lasagna steps

Step 4: Chill Overnight: Cover the assembled lasagna with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight. This step is crucial as it allows the noodles to absorb the sauce, ensuring they cook perfectly in the oven.

No Boil Lasagna steps

Step 5: Preheat and Bake: When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F. Remove the lasagna from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature while the oven heats up. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese and remaining mozzarella over the top for a gooey, golden crust, and scatter a little extra chopped parsley or basil for a pop of color. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. The foil is important, it keeps the moisture in and prevents the cheese from burning.

No Boil Lasagna steps

Step 6: Final Touch: Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes to get that crispy cheese topping. Make sure to keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t over-brown.

No Boil Lasagna steps

Step 7: Serve: Let the lasagna rest for about 10 minutes after baking. This little break lets it set up, making slicing easier. Cut into hearty squares and serve with a side salad or steamed veggies for a complete meal. Garnish with fresh herbs for an extra touch of love.

FAQs & Tips

How to Make Ahead and Store?

This recipe requires you to be organized enough to prepare the dish the night before you’re going to bake it. Trust me on this, you’re going to be glad that you did. The noodles will absorb some moisture and bake-up perfectly, and you’ll be able to make dinner with virtually no mess. How awesome is that?

Do I have to use no-cook noodles?

No you don’t, you can boil regular noodles and assemble the lasagna in the same way… but we love the no cook noodles, and not just because you get to skip a step. No cook noodles tend to be thinner and, because they’ve been par-boiled, they don’t have that surface layer of starch that regular noodles have. You do you… this is an awesome recipe no matter which noodles you choose.

Do I have to overlap the noodles?

No-cook lasagna noodles expand during the resting and cooking stages, so don’t sweat a few gaps here and there. Pro tip: if some of your noodles are broken, use the broken ones in the middle layers, saving the whole ones for the bottom and top layers. No one will know. That’s a promise.

I want to sneak in some veggies!

You can certainly do that. Try grating some zucchini into the meat sauce, or adding some finely chopped mushrooms to it. You can also add spinach to the ricotta layer – use frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to get rid of any extra moisture.

I don’t have Italian Seasoning!

No problem! It’s pretty easy to make with equal parts of dried basil, oregano and marjoram, and a little rosemary and thyme. Or just use dried basil by itself. We sometimes add extra basil to the store-bought mixes anyway.

No Boil Lasagna featured image

Serving Suggestions

This fabulous lasagna covers all the major food groups but it lacks something green and crunchy, which is why we like serving it with a mixed green salad. If the kids aren’t salad eaters you can try the “sneaky vegetable” approach we discussed above. Steamed broccolini also makes a wonderful side dish.

No Boil Lasagna featured image
No Boil Lasagna featured image

No Boil Lasagna

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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Chilling Time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 12
Calories 358 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 25-ounce jar of your favorite tomato or pasta sauce
  • 10 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese divided
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley or basil chopped (plus extra for garnish)

Instructions
 

  • Prep the Meat Sauce: Start by browning the ground beef over medium heat in a large skillet. Once it’s no longer pink, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant. Mix in the tomato sauce and Italian seasoning, then remove from heat. This will be the robust base of your lasagna layers.
  • Combine the Cheeses: In a separate bowl, blend the ricotta cheese, egg, 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella, and the Parmesan cheese until you have a creamy, cheesy mixture that will add a rich and decadent layer to your lasagna.
  • Assemble the Lasagna: Grab a 9×13 inch baking dish and spread a thin layer of the meat sauce on the bottom to prevent sticking and starts your lasagna off. Place a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles over the sauce. Don’t worry about gaps; they will fill in as the noodles expand. Spread a portion of the cheese mixture over the noodles, then repeat the layers – sauce, noodles, cheese – until you’ve used up all the ingredients. Aim to finish with a layer of meat sauce on top, ensuring the noodles are covered to prevent them from drying out.
  • Chill Overnight: Cover the assembled lasagna with plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight. This step is crucial as it allows the noodles to absorb the sauce, ensuring they cook perfectly in the oven.
  • Preheat and Bake: When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F. Remove the lasagna from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature while the oven heats up. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese and remaining mozzarella over the top for a gooey, golden crust, and scatter a little extra chopped parsley or basil for a pop of color. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. The foil is important, it keeps the moisture in and prevents the cheese from burning.
  • Final Touch: Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes to get that crispy cheese topping. Make sure to keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t over-brown.
  • Serve: Let the lasagna rest for about 10 minutes after baking. This little break lets it set up, making slicing easier. Cut into hearty squares and serve with a side salad or steamed veggies for a complete meal. Garnish with fresh herbs for an extra touch of love.

Nutrition

Calories: 358kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 21gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 312mgPotassium: 242mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 450IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 287mgIron: 1mg
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