Have you ever made lasagna in your slow cooker? Up until the last few months, I was completely skeptical about the idea. I get a lot of use out of my slow cooker, especially on busy weekdays, but for pasta? I wasn’t so sure.
Now, I’m a convert. The slow cooker makes the process really simple: no boiling noodles, and no need to worry about making neat layers. It’s especially nice during the summer, since there’s no need to turn on the oven.
Before assembling this slow cooker lasagna, you will need to first cook some veggies (summery favorites like zucchini, eggplant, corn and tomatoes) in a skillet to cook off some of the liquid and keep your lasagna from being watery. Then you’ll spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker and top with several uncooked lasagna noodles, breaking them as needed to fit. I like to overlap the edges just a bit, but there’s no need to be perfect and fill every little crevice with a noodle.
The rest is easy: layers of veggies, sauce, noodles and cheese, just like a normal lasagna. The final layer includes a bit of panko breadcrumbs, which will help make the top slightly crunchy.
I recommend checking the lasagna at the 3 1/2 hour mark, to see if the pasta is tender. Don’t overcook the noodles—no one likes mushy lasagna!
This post was originally published on August 4, 2014.
No oven required here. You're just a few hours away from a satisfying slow cooker lasagna packed with summer's best veggies.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large zucchini, chopped
- 1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
- 2 large ears corn, kernels removed
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 1/2 cups canned tomato sauce
- 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
- 1 1/3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Fresh chopped basil, for serving
- Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, cook the onion in the oil for 2 to 3 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add in the zucchini, eggplant, corn, tomatoes, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Cook for 7 to 9 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Remove from the heat, taste and season with additional salt and red pepper flakes if needed.
- Spread 1/2 cup of the sauce in the bottom of your slow cooker. Top with a layer of three lasagna noodles, breaking them as needed to fit. Using a slotted spoon, top with 1/3 of the vegetable mixture, then 1/2 cup of the sauce and 1/3 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat this process two more times -- noodles, vegetables, sauce, cheese. End with a final layer of noodles and the remaining 1/2 cup of the sauce. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/3 cup mozzarella, the parmesan and panko.
- Cover and cook on low for about 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the noodles are cooked through. Turn off the slow cooker and let sit uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. This will let the lasagna set so you can cut it easily and it will hold its shape. Sprinkle the top with fresh basil before serving.
Make sure you use regular uncooked lasagna noodles. Do not use the no-boil kind.
For the canned tomato sauce, I used around 1 (15 ounce) can and 1 (8 ounce) can to get this amount.
It is possible to find vegetarian parmesan cheese in the US (such as the Whole Foods 365 brand or Organic Valley). Outside the US, look for vegetarian hard cheese to use instead.