This vegetable filled beef lasagna is a definite crowd pleaser.
Note of caution… This recipe makes a HUGE lasagna. I mean HUGE! A regular lasagna pan will not work if you are using the amounts that are in this recipe. I use a rectangular turkey roaster because it is so big. Now, the great thing about making it this size is that you can either feed an army OR you can FREEZE it!! Yep, cut it up into serving size pieces, place them in freezer safe containers and voila a complete meal ready and waiting! It thaws very nicely and is not watery at all.
To remove from the container it is best to let it sit at room temperature for a little while so you can remove the number of pieces you want because the sauce does freeze to the bottom of the container. You could probably line the container with parchment paper to prevent this …. Hmmm, I will try that next time and let you know!
So what is in this larger than life lasagna you ask. Well, lots of vegetables of course! And lots of cheese yum!
There is a bit of pre-planning with this recipe. You will need to have the hamburger either thawed, if you have frozen the servings as I suggest in the spaghetti recipe, or you will need to have it cooked first. You will also need to have the frozen spinach thawed and drained of the excess water. Unwrap the spinach and place in a bowl to let thaw for the better part of the day, or you can pop it in the microwave on the defrost setting to speed up the process.
Also, you will use an entire box of lasagna noodles if you are making the full recipe so make sure you have a full box on hand!
So for the lasagna, begin by shredding the carrots and zucchini into a medium to large sized bowl.
Next, finely dice the yellow pepper and the onion. Now you can add in the cooked ground beef and the spinach.
To that add a can of diced tomatoes and 1 cup of Heinz spaghetti sauce. Stir together.
In a separate medium to large sized bowl, grate your mozzarella cheese. I like a lot of cheese so I will buy a large brick and use about a third in this recipe alone, which is probably around four to five cups of cheese. Add in the eggs and the cottage cheese. Stir together.
Now you are ready to assemble the lasagna.
Start with a layer of meat sauce in the bottom of you pan using about half of what you have in the bowl. The sauce provides the moisture the noodles need to cook.
Then lay a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles over the meat sauce. You will likely have to break some noodles to cover the sauce completely (I have not found a pan that the noodles fit exactly right). Be sure that you have covered the sauce completely. Next, use about half of your cheese mixture. Now a layer of noodles, the rest of your meat sauce another layer of noodles and the rest of your cheese mixture. For the top layer of cheese I typically don’t have enough to cover the entire top (crazy I know since there is so much). As long as the middle is covered if the edges have noodles that are not covered in cheese that is fine. They will just be a bit crunchy (save those pieces for yourself or the adults as children may find them a bit difficult to eat — although saying that, my two year of likes to pull those pieces off of the lasagna and eat them!).
Once assembled, place the lasagna into a pre-heated oven and 325 for an hour or until a knife can easily go through the noodles.
- 2 -3 cups cooked ground beef
- 2 - 3 medium carrots
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 medium onion
- 1 yellow pepper
- 1 300g package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
- 3 - 4 cups mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 1/2 1kg containers cottage cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1 box lasagna noodles, uncooked
- Thaw the frozen spinach in a separate bowl. You want to drain as much moisture as you can.
- Cook the ground beef in a pan.
- In a medium bowl shred carrots and zucchini.
- Dice the onion and pepper and add to bowl
- Add beef and spinach to the bowl. Stir well.
- In a separate bowl, shred mozzarella cheese.
- Add eggs and cottage cheese and stir well.
- Pour approximately half of the meat sauce in the bottom of the lasagna pan. Layer raw lasagna noodles over the sauce, breaking some if needed to cover the entire surface.
- Pour about half of the cheese mixture on top of the noodle layer. Cover with a second noodle layer.
- Pour the rest of the meat sauce on top of the noodles and cover with a third noodle layer.
- Pour the rest of the cheese mixture on top.
- Bake in oven at 325 for an hour or until noodles are cooked.