Satisfy summer carb cravings!
I know, it’s summer, and it’s hot outside, but you can only eat so many salads. Sometimes a body just craves carbs! However, in my book, there’s a difference between summer carbs vs. winter carbs. While my craving is still ooey-gooey cheesy pasta, I really don’t want something too heavy. I’m not, after all, preparing for a long winter’s nap or bulking up to stay warm in a blizzard! It is still swimsuit season. This easy one-pan skillet lasagna is absolutely perfect for summer. It has all the goodness of a traditional lasagna (sausage, spinach, tomato sauce, and cheese), but it’s a much lighter and quicker version.
For starters, instead of a traditional sauce made with tomato sauce and tomato paste, this sauce is made with a can of crushed tomatoes and seasoning. If you don’t have crushed tomatoes in your pantry, you can use diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes broken down with an immersion blender or food processor. The result is a much lighter, brighter sauce. Using fresh baby spinach instead of frozen chopped spinach adds color, nutrition, and texture without the heaviness and intensity of thawed spinach
Meat or meatless sauce options
I love the flavor of Italian sausage in lasagna, but ground beef or ground turkey work just as well. (Make this dish meatless by using sauteed eggplant or mushrooms.) The first step is cooking the meat in a large (12 inch) non-stick, oven-safe skillet.
Add the tomatoes and seasonings to the pan and simmer for a few minutes. Using a soup ladle or a deep spoon, transfer about 3 cups to a quart measuring cup or a bowl, leaving a layer of sauce in the pan. Now is a good time to preheat the broiler on high.
Summer-light also means using oven-ready or no-boil lasagna noodles. These pre-cooked lasagna sheets cut the preparation time in half and require no boiling water. This time-saving noodle is perfect for the cook who craves a stress-free kitchen experience. The noodles go right from the package to the skillet. The cheese mixture which provides the ooey-gooey component is about the same as in traditional lasagna. It’s quick and easy to mix up by combining the ricotta, egg, and half of the shredded mozzarella in a bowl or large measuring cup.
One-pan does it all!
To build the layers, add a layer of pasta to the tomato sauce in the pan, a layer of the cheese mixture topped with half of the spinach.
Repeat for the next layer. The top layer is only sauce, pasta, and the cheese mixture — no spinach. Place the cover on the skillet (or foil) and cook for 20 minutes until the pasta is soft and the sauce is bubbling.
Remove the lid and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top, and place the skillet in the oven under the broiler. It takes only 3-4 minutes for the cheese to begin to brown. Remove the skillet from the oven and garnish the melted cheese with fresh basil.
Whenever I make this recipe, I always panic, thinking I don’t have enough tomato sauce, spinach, or cheese! I remind myself that this is a lighter summer version of lasagna, and it doesn’t require thick, heavy layers. The results speak for themselves. This lasagna is a delicious solution to satisfying carb cravings in the heat of summer without sacrificing taste or ooey-gooey goodness! Enjoy.
One-Pan Spinach LasagnaCourse: MainCuisine: Italian-inspiredDifficulty: Easy
Enjoy the ooey-gooey taste of homemade lasagna in 35 minutes with easy-breezy clean-up. The easy sauce, made with crushed tomatoes and seasoning, and the fresh spinach keep this dish light and bright. Oven-ready pasta lasagna noodles means no boiling water and quick cooking.
1 pound ground mild Italian sausage
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1 ½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 (16-oz.) container ricotta cheese
1 large egg
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
6 ounces no-boil lasagna noodles
5 ounces of baby spinach, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves (additional leaves for garnish)
- Stir together the ricotta, egg, 1 cup of the mozzarella (reserving the other cup for the topping), and a ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Cook the sausage in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high until cooked through and browned, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add the tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and the remaining ½ teaspoon of the salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to simmer, about 4 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from heat; using a ladle or small cup, set aside 3 cups of the sauce in a quart measuring cup or bowl. Preheat broiler with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Place a layer of the lasagna noodles over the sauce in the skillet, breaking the pieces to fit as necessary. Top with 1 cup of the reserved sauce, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, and 1/2 of the fresh spinach. Repeat for another layer. Make a top layer with the remaining noodles, sauce and ricotta mixture (no spinach).
- Return the skillet to heat; cover and cook over medium until the noodles are softened and the sauce begins to bubble, about 20 minutes. Uncover and top with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella. Broil until the cheese begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the basil.
- Italian Sausage: Substitute ground beef or ground turkey. For a vegetarian version use sautéed eggplant or mushrooms.
- Oven-ready lasagna is also labeled as “no-cook”.
- Crush tomatoes: Diced tomatoes or stewed tomatoes may be substituted. For best results, use an immersion blender, food processor or blender to break down the chunks.
- Zhoosh it up: Add onions, mushrooms, sweet bell pepper, or jalapeno pepper
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