I love lasagna. The entire time we lived in Korea, whenever we would go out to dinner in a western bar I would always order a lasagna. Our oven was smaller than a microwave and attempts to make lasagna were usually foiled by either the size of the oven or the sourcing of ingredients as fancy as lasagna sheets. But alas, occasionally, I’d pull it off and we’d feast on lasagna every few months.
Having moved to Canada, however, lasagna became part of the usual mealtime rotation. Well, that was until recently when our oven broke plunging me into an oven-free world once again. 11 months and two weeks of glorious oven-time after 5 years sans oven and I had become dependant on my kinship with the oven to produce amazing things like Apple and Carrot Wheat Muffins or homemade Whole-Wheat Pizzas.
And then, I discovered that I could also make lasagna in the slow-cooker.
For your reading pleasure, I’ve included both version here. For the sauce and meat, I use the same basic recipe as my Spaghetti Bolognese recipe and then depending on how busy I am, I either make homemade cheese sauce or store-bought cheese sauce.
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1 lb ground meat (usually I use ground beef but sometimes a mixture of ground beef and hot Italian ground sausage)
4 sheets of either no-boil lasagna or regular sheets of lasagna boiled and softened
3 cups of grated cheese
2 cups of cheese sauce (either homemade or store-bought)
1/2 – 1 cup of beef stock
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 large can of plum tomatoes
1 onion, diced
2 tbs tomato paste (for advice on how to save the rest of the tomato paste in that giant can you just bought, see here)
1 tsp oregano and a pinch of basil OR 1tsp of Italian Seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat oil and add onions and garlic. Fry for several minutes until translucent.
2. Add ground beef and fry until browned (maybe 5-6 minutes) stirring.
3. Drain fat from pan. Now, this is a little tricky if your pan doesn’t have a lid but with some practice and a nifty spatula, it’s almost accomplishable.
4. Return pan to heat. Add oregano, basil, (or Italian Seasoning / bay leaf if using), tomatoes, puree and stock.
5. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often to crush up the tomatoes.
1. Heat oven to 375F / 190C.
2. In a rectangular or square dish layer, layer lasagna: meat mixture, noodles, cheese sauce, meat mixture, noodles and cheese sauce in dish. Top with grated cheese and cover with foil, being careful the foil doesn’t touch the cheese.
3. Bake lasagna for 45 minutes, removing foil for the last ten minutes.
1. Layer lasagna in slow-cooker: meat mixture, noodles, cheese sauce, meat mixture, noodles, cheese sauce, reserving grated cheese separately. Break up the lasagna sheets so they fit all around the lasagna. It’s OK if there are gaps, the lasagna sheet, if it’s a no boil version, will expand anyway.
2. Cook in slow-cooker for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. I advise checking on it after 3 hours to see if it’s done. Mine only took 3 hours. Sprinkle with grated cheese and put lid back on for 10 minutes until cheese is fully melted.
Freezer Friendly: If you’re freezer cooking, wait until lasagna has completely cooled, then cut into single servings, place in Ziploc bags, label and freeze.