Delicious, hearty, easy to make Crock Pot Lasagna. This recipe is loaded with yummy layers of pasta, creamy cheese, sausage, and fresh basil.
It would be difficult to find a more wholesome, classic American family dish than lasagna. Some variation on a lasagna recipe—the famous layers of noodles and sauce and creamy ricotta cheese—has graced dinner tables and potluck buffets for as long as many of our parents can remember. Lasagna is filling, it’s delicious, and it’s definitely healthier than slapping down some frozen chicken tenders and Funyuns for dinner. And now, with this recipe for crockpot lasagna, it’s even easier to make.
With this recipe for crockpost lasagna, “tasty” is a pretty darn apt description. It’s a rich, cheesy dish that provides a really good mixture of flavors. The basil does a lot of work for the filling, but using a high quality jarred pasta sauce is important too. This recipe uses sausage instead of just ground beef—and believe me, you can taste how much better sausage is for this dish. Ground beef just doesn’t have enough of its own flavor to compete with the flavorful sauce and filling.
And this recipe is easy—so stinking easy—to put together. Regular lasagna doesn’t stand a chance in a speed race. Using a good jarred sauce makes cooking and cleanup a snap—no worrying about finding the perfect sauce recipe, and fewer pots to wash.
Plus, this recipe calls for No-Boil noodles. How handy is that? It makes putting together this delicious family meal so much quicker and easier. No waiting for the water to boil and no crazy specific timing to get the noodles fully cooked without burning—I love it!
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This hearty dish is a full meal, too. It’s got vegetables, meat, dairy, and pasta—perfect for a filling evening meal. And with this pressure cooker lasagna, you’ll find it easy to make substitutions and variations that fit your family’s dietary needs.
For example, simply removing the sausage makes a delicious slow cooker vegetarian lasagna. And adding a little spinach produces crockpot spinach lasagna, a fantastic way to get your kids (or spouse) eating spinach!
Do you like cheese? I do. Heck, most people I know love cheese. It makes many things, so many things, muuuch better. As we all know, pasta and cheese go hand in hand. They have a long history together. And believe me, this recipe has cheese lovers covered. It takes three different kinds of cheese and mixes them together in ample measurements. Gooey, cheesy pasta sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
I love slow cooker recipes, and this one is easily one of my favorites. Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below.
Pasta: My preference is to use Barilla noodles. Barilla is a really solid pasta brand that I trust a lot. Get the thin sheets and you’ll find they bake up just like a wonderful homemade noodle. Delicious!
Herbs: You’ll notice that this recipe calls for a pretty significant amount of fresh basil. In the final dish, basil is a huge contributor to the overall flavor of the filling. So using fresh basil is pretty important in this slow cooker lasagna.
If you’re in a pinch, then you can use dried basil. But only do this if absolutely necessary. Using the dried stuff will absolutely compromise on the final taste.
Sauce: One of my favorite jarred sauces is Bertolli Tomato and Basil Sauce. I’m always really happy with it. But don’t just take my word for it! This sauce is recommended by the team over at Cook’s Illustrated—in fact, it was their kitchen’s favorite. You know it’s got to be good.
I’ve also made this recipe with the Tomato Basil sauce from Trader Joes and was pretty impressed with that as well. I use the Bertoll sauce more often, but recommend the Trader Joes sauce as a nice change of pace.
Cheese Mixture: The cheese mixture is pretty firm in this recipe, so I drop it by the spoonful rest of the mixture. Don’t bother spreading it, it’ll melt.
Assembly: I find this easy crockpot lasagna recipe to be soooo much simpler to put together than a standard casserole lasagna. And that’s the thing about slow cooker recipes, they’re just darn easy to put together. I love this recipe because it doesn’t need to be perfect going into the crockpot—in fact, you start the assembly by breaking up the noodles.
This recipe requires a large crockpot, keep that in mind. I cook mine in a large oval one, but as long as your crockpot is large enough to accommodate all the ingredients you should be fine with whatever shape crockpot you have. For an oval crockpot here’s how I fit the four noodles required for each layer:
I lay out the first noodle lengthwise, then break the rest to fit around the edges, slightly overlapping them. Occasionally you’ll see a gap where the round edge of the crockpot meets the straight edge of a noodle. Don’t worry about those—they won’t change anything.
Serving: While I typically serve this dish without sides—it’s filling enough on its own—there are some great options to consider when serving this dish. The most obvious, and my favorite, is a good garlic bread. Store-bought garlic bread can be okay, especially if you buy from your grocery store’s bakery rather than off the shelf. But it’s really easy to mix together a few chopped garlic cloves, some melted butter, and a mixture of whatever Italian spices you have to happen to have on your shelf. Spread that on some sliced French bread, bake, and BOOM! You’ve got a pretty good homemade garlic bread to accompany your crockpot lasagna.
Another dish to serve alongside your lasagna is a simple salad. As long as you avoid the dreaded “iceberg and ranch,” it doesn’t really matter what salad recipe you use. Pick your favorite!
Reheating: Lasagna is one of those dishes that’s notoriously bad at reheating. The noodles tend to get all try in the microwave. To avoid that, put a small dish of water in the microwave right alongside your lasagna. This should steam up the microwave and help keep everything moist.
Crock Pot Lasagna
- 1 Pound Sweet Italian Sausage Casing Removed
- 1 Yellow Onion Finely Chopped
- 4-6 Garlic Cloves Minced
- 2 24 Ounce Jar Marinara Sauce
- 16 Ounce No-Boil Noodles Uncooked
- 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Basil
- 32 Ounce Ricotta Cheese
- 2 Cups Grated Parmesan Cheese Divided
- 4 Cups 1 lb Mozzarella, Shredded Divided
- 1 Cup Fresh Basil Chopped
- Black Pepper
- 1 Large Egg
- Spray a 6 quart Crock Pot with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Cook the sausage in a large skillet, over medium heat, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon, until sausage is cooked through. Remove cooked sausage to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. Remove all but 2 Tablespoons of the fat from the sausage and discard. Over medium heat, add onion and chopped garlic to the remaining fat in the skillet. Cook until veggies are softened, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cooked sausage. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, mix together ricotta, 1 cup of Parmesan, 2 cups mozzarella, fresh basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and egg.
- Spread 1 cups of prepared marinara sauce in the bottom of the crockpot. Layer 4 uncooked pasta noodles, breaking them up as needed to fit, evenly over bottom of the crock pot on top of the sauce. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the sausage and onion mixture, 1 cup of sauce. Repeat layers 2 more times.
- For the final top layer, arrange 4 more noodles, 1 cup of sauce and remaining 1 cup Parmesan and 2 cups mozzarella cheese. Cover and cook until on low until lasagna is heated through, about 4 hours.
- Turn off heat and let lasagna cool for 20-30 and serve.
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Source: Gonna Want Seconds