Every time I see a pasta recipe for the slow cooker, I give it the side-eye. I mean, it just sounds like something that will turn into a big pile-o-mush. I finally gave in and tried one out (I mean, what if it was actually good?!).
I even had the audacity to try this out on an evening when my Italian in-laws were going to be at our place for dinner.
I followed this recipe except that I forgot to drain the diced tomatoes, and my tomato paste had Italian seasoning in it.
I don’t have a big, oval slow cooker anymore, so I did a few more layers than what the recipe specified, making sure to end it with a layer of sauce on top.
Covered in Parmesan cheese, because more cheese is always a good thing. Obviously.
It took a bit of prep work to get it all assembled, but after that, I set the slow cooker for 5 hours and enjoyed the delicious aroma coming from my kitchen all afternoon.
To my surprise, this actually turned out really well! The flavors were really nice, and the pasta wasn’t overcooked.
And it got thumbs up from the in-laws and my husband. Awesome!
I served this with a simple salad of baby arugula, cucumber, tomato, red onion, aged balsamic and a good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
Now that I know that I can make lasagna successfully in the slow cooker, I’m looking forward to trying out new ingredient combinations. Yum!
Slow Cooker Spinach Lasagna
1 (14.5-ounce) can Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano, drained
1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped sweet onions, like Vidalia
8 ounces button or baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen chopped spinach, slightly thawed
1 (16-ounce) container smooth and creamy cottage cheese
1 (8-ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (8-ounce) package no-cook flat (not curly edged) lasagna noodles
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large bowl, mix together diced tomatoes, marinara sauce, and tomato paste. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions, mushrooms, and garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add spinach and sauté, stirring frequently, until the liquid has cooked off, about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and place spinach mixture in a large bowl. Add cottage cheese, shredded mozzarella, egg, salt, and pepper, and stir to mix thoroughly.
- Spread 1 cup tomato mixture on the bottom of a slow cooker. Top with a complete covering of lasagna noodles. (Break noodles to fit all spaces, overlapping if necessary.) Spread 3/4 cup of sauce over noodles. Top with 1/2 of the spinach mixture, spreading it evenly with the back of a spoon. Place another layer of lasagna noodles over spinach mixture. Spread 3/4 cup of sauce atop noodles, then spread remaining spinach mixture over sauce. Add a final layer of noodles and top with remaining tomato sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over sauce.
- Cook on low for 5 hours, until the noodles are tender and lasagna holds together when tested with a knife.
- Tip: When assembling this incredibly easy lasagna, remember this little refrain: Sauce, noodles, sauce, spinach, noodles, sauce, spinach, noodles, sauce. Leftover lasagna freezes well. Thaw and reheat in the microwave before serving.
© Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli