Thursday, September 3, 2015

Slow Cooker Spinach and Cheese Lasagna

Beauty surrounds us in the fall - the crisp air, golden hue of trees, leaves scattered on the ground. There's nothing better than a beautiful day outside and coming inside to a rich, creamy bowl of lasagna when the temperature starts to drop.

When the weather is beautiful, the last thing anyone wants to do is spend all of their time in the kitchen. The solution? A simple lasagna you can bake in your slow cooker. The moist heat helps to cook the noodles and the low heat setting helps to keep the sides from burning to a crisp. Cook this recipe late in the afternoon or on a lazy weekend as the time requirement is minimal.

If my kitchen walls could talk: Substitute low-fat or skim ricotta for a lower fat version of this dish. I recommend using a high quality or homemade marinara as the sauce will contribute many of the flavors to the dish. Dice the spinach finely in a mini food processor to save time or use 1 package of frozen. If you make this recipe with flour or whole wheat noodles, feel free to leave your thoughts for other readers in the comments below who may wish to do the same.

Slow Cooker Spinach Lasagna 


9-12 gluten free rice lasagna noodles, uncooked
2-26 oz jars of marinara sauce
4  cups fresh spinach, finely chopped
30 oz ricotta cheese
1 egg
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 1/2 tbsp parsley, dried
1 tbsp basil, dried
1/8 cup parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese

1. Spray inside of slow cooker with non-stick spray or lightly line with olive oil using a paper towel. Layer 2 cups of marina in the bottom of slow cooker. Layer ~3-4 lasagna noodles lengthwise, breaking the ends to fit the shape of the slow cooker.
2. In a small bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, egg, garlic, parsley, basil and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese until thoroughly mixed.
3. Layer half of cheese mixture on top of noodles. Repeat marinara layer by using 2 cups of sauce, then repeating with 3-4 lasagna noodles. Layer remaining cheese mixture on top.
4. Top remaining cheese mixture with 3-4 lasagna noodles, layer 2 cups of sauce on top of noodles, then top with parmesan cheese and remaining 1 cup of mozzarella.
5. Cook for 30 minutes on high. Turn slow cooker to low and cook for another 2.5-3 hours. Turn slow cooker off and allow to rest for 15 minutes prior to serving.

Until next time... 

- L