It’s December. Welcome to the month of busy + cold! Who could use a dinner idea that’s easy (like super easy), hearty, and delicious? (Raising my hand.) How about the easiest lasagna recipe in the world?
When I was talking with my friend Lindsey, and discussing recipes for this month, she mentioned a Ravioli Lasagna that she likes to make. Ravioli Lasagna? I had never heard of such a thing, but was totally intrigued and asked her to share the recipe here. I think you’re going to LOVE this one. The recipe is partly store-bought-waiting-in-the-freezer, which is always a big help, and Lindsey also has some soothing words for those of us who wish we made a big dinner every night, but can’t always make it happen (raising my hand again).
Enjoy the mouth-watering photos and words. I’m making this recipe tonight!
Here’s what Lindsey says:
If you were to ask my children what their favorite home cooked meal is, they would unanimously say tofu, broccoli, and rice. (Bet you didn’t see that one coming!) A close second is lasagna, particularly if it’s Ravioli Lasagna (this is the easiest lasagna recipe ever).
And before you make any assumptions about what dinner time is like at our house, let me set the record straight right now: there is definitely not a lavish meal on the table every night. Just like everyone else I know, some nights are cold cereal and a piece of toast, others are a crazy mix of whatever leftovers I can scrounge from the depth of the fridge, and a few times a week I manage a meal more like the ones I wish we could swing every night.
So, my point is that there is zero judgment about you’re having (or not having) for dinner. But I’m not ready to give up trying to get dinner on the table because one of my favorite times of day involves us cramming around our table to enjoy a meal together, whatever that may be.
But before we go any further, can I just say this: frozen ravioli is a freezer must-have. I don’t do a lot prepared frozen foods, but ravioli is one that I don’t mind having in my freezer. It’s not like you can make that many meals with frozen ravioli, but it does make a pretty awesome weeknight lasagna.
We’ve done a few variations over the years, but a good, marinara-sauced Ravioli Lasagna seems to be the favorite. And really, this is just baked ravioli, but saying lasagna makes it feel a little fancier, right? And it has all the basic components of lasagna — layers of noodles, sauce, and cheese. See? Lasagna it is. :)
It’s totally up to you which ravioli to use. I prefer to buy a basic ricotta ravioli and then gussy up the sauce when I want a variation. This is a sort of creamy Florentine-style sauce — frozen spinach (another time saver!) plus heavy cream and a good-quality bottled marinara. (Or you could make your own!) The addition of cream is the most recent change I’ve made to our tried-and-true recipe. It just sort of ups the flavor and decadent feel of the whole dish.
The ravioli doesn’t need to be cooked before making the casserole. It just goes straight into the baking dish from the freezer. We usually keep this meatless and sometimes I add mushrooms too. It really is as simple as opening a few packages and putting the pan in the oven.
I’m wondering: what is your go-to weeknight meal? Something quick and easy? A comforting soup maybe? A semi-homemade casserole like this? And how often does your family eat dinner together? I’m always curious what other families do in this busy world of ours. My daughter just started middle school this year and with sports practices, meets, concerts, etc., I’m finding that we are busier than ever before. I’m really gravitating towards meals like this that are easy and yield tasty leftovers too.
While this is a quick and easy dinner to make on a weeknight, it’s also great to serve when you’ve got a crowd to feed. Simply double or triple the recipe as needed. Also, can I tell you that this is a great meal to take to a neighbor or friend? A friend with a newborn baby or who has a sick child or spouse. Or one who has had one of those weeks and could use a yummy dinner and a reminder that you’re thinking of them.
Creamy Spinach Ravioli Lasagna
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
16 ounces frozen spinach
Salt and pepper, to taste
28 ounce jar marinara sauce
8 ounces heavy cream
2 pounds frozen ravioli, your favorite flavor, unthawed*
16 ounces shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded or grated Parmesan
For serving: green salad
1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Lightly grease a large baking dish, such as a 9- by 13-inch pan.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the diced onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30-60 seconds. Add the frozen spinach to the pan. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with a little salt and pepper.
3. Add the heavy cream to the spinach and stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook for a few minutes, then add the marinara sauce. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Remove from heat.
4. Spread about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Place an even layer of the frozen ravioli over the sauce. Pour one third of the remaining sauce over the ravioli layer, followed by 1/4 of the shredded mozzarella and 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan.
5. Repeat the process two more times with the remaining ravioli, sauce, and cheese.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. Turn heat up to 425°F and remove foil from pan. Continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Remove from oven and let stand, covered, for an additional 10 minutes before serving.
7. Serve warm with a green salad on the side.
Yield 6-8 servings.
– You can also use fresh ravioli. Cooking time will be about 15-20 minutes less.
– This recipe is meatless, but you could add 1 pound of cooked ground beef, turkey, or sausage to the sauce for a heartier casserole. Or you could use raviolis stuffed with meat as well.
Thank you so much, Lindsey! I’m so excited about this recipe because it’s so doable. It’s basically assembling ingredients in a casserole dish! Barely any prep at all. I feel like this could become a solid family reunion recipe — a great way to feed a bunch of people fast! It really is the easiest lasagna recipe ever.
What do you think, Dear Readers? One of the things that stops me up from making lasagna is the pre-boiling of the pasta. I love that this just eliminates the whole step! And somehow feels fancier too. I know my kids will love this. If you give it a try, let me know.
And I love Lindsey’s questions for you too: What is your go-to weeknight meal? Something quick and easy? A comforting soup maybe? A semi-homemade casserole like this? And how often does your family eat dinner together?
Photos and recipe by Lindsey Rose Johnson for Design Mom.