When my sister was about to give birth, I came to visit and cooked lots of food for her and her husband to reheat as needed. That way they could have multiple homemade meals without needing to spend too much time in the kitchen. I made a double batch of lasagna rolls and a homemade marinara sauce and froze the individual lasagna rolls. They were such a hit that I made them again when she had her second child. This recipe is also a great one for portion control and making ahead of time for those busy weeknights when you don’t have a lot of time.
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To freeze them, just place the unbaked, filled lasagna rolls on a cookie sheet so they aren’t touching each other, and put the pan of lasagna rolls in the freezer for two hours until they have frozen through. Then you can place all of the rolls together in a gallon-sized zip lock bag and store in the freezer for up to three months. Label with the date and the description so you don’t forget what’s in your lasagna! When ready to eat, take out however many lasagna rolls you wish to serve and follow the baking instructions in step 5, but add 10-15 minutes to the cooking time if the rolls are still frozen when you put them in the oven.
You can substitute different filling ingredients for the spinach, such as sautéed mushrooms, cooked chopped chicken, Italian sausage, roasted red peppers, etc. Experiment and see which filling is your favorite!
1 lb. lasagna noodles
15 oz. ricotta
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella for filling
¼ cup grated parmesan
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 large garlic cloves, minced
10 oz bag fresh spinach, cooked and thoroughly squeezed dry (do this because all of the water from the spinach would make the filling way too runny), then chopped
1 large egg
1½ cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup shredded parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat your oven to 400 F. Fill a large pot ¾ way full with water and bring to a boil over high heat. When it starts to boil, toss in a handful of salt, followed by the lasagna noodles.
2. While the noodles are boiling, prepare the filling. Mix together the filling ingredients: ricotta, ½ cup mozzarella, ¼ cup parmesan, garlic, 1 egg and the drained spinach until well combined. Set aside until the noodles are ready.
3. Boil the lasagna noodles until still partially raw but pliable, about 10 minutes (I do it this way because I think the noodles stick together and tear more when they are fully cooked. They will finish cooking later in the oven.) Remove the noodles and separate them when they’re cool enough to handle.
3. Lay one noodle on a flat surface. Spread a spoonful of the filling evenly over the noodle, leaving a ½ inch edge on one end so when you roll it up, the bare edge can seal the roll together.
4. Spread about ¾ cup of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan sprayed with non-stick spray- cover the bottom of the pan completely with the sauce. Place your finished lasagna roll in the pan on top of the sauce. Repeat the filling and rolling process with the remaining lasagna noodles.
5. Once all of the lasagna noodles have been filled and rolled and placed in the baking pan, cover the rolls completely with the rest of the marinara sauce, then sprinkle the 1 cup mozzarella and ¼ cup parmesan on top. Cover the pan with a piece of aluminum foil, then bake for 30 minutes, or until the noodles are tender and the cheese is melted. Uncover and bake another 5-8 minutes, if you want the cheese on top to brown.