December 12, 2011 at 3:15 pm
by Heather Eng
When it came time to slow cook this weekend, I was tempted to make turkey meatballs again. They turned out great and were so nice and light that even after eating them all week, I was still craving more. But I figured I should try something new. Since I had ricotta leftover from the meatballs, and a jar of marinara sauce and a box of lasagna noodles in my pantry, I decided to attempt a slow cooker lasagna.
We often link to a slow cooker Veggie Lasagna recipe during our weekly Facebook slow cooker chats, so I used that as a guide. I ended up adding a few extra veggies and omitting one noodle layer and some cheese to make it healthier.
First, I sliced the zucchini, mushrooms and spinach…
…and mixed half the spinach and all the mushrooms and zucchini with marinara sauce.
In another bowl, I combined ricotta, one egg, garlic and the other half of the spinach.
Then I layered the lasagna in the slow cooker bowl, topping each helping of ricotta mixture with shredded fresh mozzarella…
…until I reached the final layer of noodles and sauce.
Four and a half hours later, it was done–and delicious! The noodles were a little softer than I would have liked (my slow cooker tends to get pretty hot), so next time I’m going to cut the cooking time by at least a half hour. But it made a fantastic Sunday dinner and will be a lunch to look forward to every day this week.
Slow Cooker Vegetarian Lasagna (adapted from Family Circle‘s slow cooker Veggie Lasagna recipe)
Makes: 6 servings
Prep: 20 minutes
Slow Cook: 4 hours on HIGH or 6 hours on LOW
2 small zucchini, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 package (10 ounces) baby bella mushrooms, sliced
2.5 ounces (half a standard 5 ounce package) baby spinach, chopped
1 jar (26 ounces) marinara sauce
8 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
9 traditional lasagna noodles, uncooked (Note: I used De Cecco lasagna noodles, which are shorter than other brands’. I was able to fit two whole noodles and the broken halves of one other noodle in each lasagna layer.)
1. Coat slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Blend 3/4 cup marinara with 1/2 cup water and set aside.
2. Combine zucchini, mushrooms and half the chopped spinach in a bowl. Cover with marinara sauce and mix.
3. In another bowl, combine ricotta, egg, garlic, black pepper and the remaining spinach.
4. Cover the bottom of the slow cooker bowl with marinara. Top with a layer of noodles, overlapping as needed. Layer half the zucchini mixture and top with half the ricotta mixture, half the mozzarella and a splash of marinara. Top with another layer of noodles, the remaining zucchini mixture, ricotta mixture, mozzarella and marinara. Finish layering with remaining noodles. Cover with reserved marinara-water mixture.
5. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.
Have you cooked other casseroles in your crock-pots? Share with us in the comments below.