Baked Lasagna Bowls are great make-ahead meals for busy times. The bowls freeze well for up to 1 month.
My inspiration for baked lasagna bowls
Life is hectic. Sometimes we have 3 children eating with us, and other times it's just Phil and me.
Our family loves lasagna, so I wanted to create a recipe that is flexible for how many people we have eating dinner with us—and can be prepared at a moment's notice.
Thus, I created individual lasagna bowls.
I make these ahead of time and freeze the individual bowls.
Then, I can pull these bowls out as needed for those hectic nights.
After all, there always isn't enough time to prepare a formal dinner for the family.
Want another tomato based pasta dish that is full of zest and flavor? Check out my One Pot American Goulash recipe. Top with some Stovetop Croutons and you have yourself a fast midweek meal your family will love.
Before I get into Baked Lasagna Bowls, let me set the stage for how they came about.
In my "other life" I'm a scientific grants consultant, meaning that I help researchers apply for funding from federal agencies.
When project deadlines are piling up, I go into survival mode, hardly tearing myself away from the computer other than to take care of the basic biological things required to continue functioning.
Phil steps in and helps, but easy meals like my lasagna bowls give him a break.
Making Baked Lasagna Bowls
These baked lasagna bowls are my favorite thing to make after cooking a big batch of marinara or Bolognese sauce.
Making one of these sauces and prepping these bowls are both great weekend cooking projects. Are you a fan of Meal-Prep Sundays?
I like to use a fun pasta like cavatappi or radiatori, which I cook to the firm side of al dente: the baked lasagna bowls will go into the oven and cook the pasta the rest of the way.
To assemble the baked lasagna bowls, you'll need 4 ~20-oz. oven-safe bowls or ramekins.
I mix my favorite dried, mixed herbs into the ricotta cheese while the pasta is cooking.
Then, after draining the pasta well, I mix about half of the sauce with the pasta and stir in all but 4 tbsp. of the ricotta cheese.
Next, I put a layer of sauce (about ¼ cup) onto the bottom of each bowl.
Then I add about 1 ½ cups of the pasta, ricotta, and sauce mixture.
I top with another ¼ sauce, then sprinkle on mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.
Be careful not to fill the bowls too full to avoid any messy spills when you freeze them. Leave at least ~½" at the top.
The baked lasagna bowls go into a 375º oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.
To finish, I top with a dollop of the herby ricotta cheese.
Variations on Baked Lasagna Bowls
I highly recommend mixing some vegetables into your baked lasagna bowls.
Zucchini, spaghetti squash, spinach, or cauliflower work really well for this dish.
If you have to be sneaky with your veggie-delivery (e.g., if you have picky eaters), one genius trick I learned is to purée some cooked cauliflower and mix it in with the ricotta cheese.
Your picky eater won't even know it's there!
Side dishes for baked lasagna bowls
Easy Dinner Rolls are a perfect accompaniment. I also recommend green vegetables like Green Beans with Bacon and Onions, Easy Microwave Brussels Sprouts, Easy Microwave Broccoli – Served 3 Ways, or a salad...for example, Meal-Prep House Salad & Homemade Thousand Island Dressing or Arugula-Shaved-Fennel Salad.
Freezing Baked Lasagna Bowls
To freeze these babies, I first cover the bowls with plastic wrap, pressing it down against the surface of the dish. Then I cover tightly with foil.
The extra herbed ricotta cheese can also be wrapped up in plastic wrap, then put it into a freezer bag and freeze beside the lasagna bowls.
Put the bowls and the herbed ricotta into the fridge 1 day before you plan to eat them. Just be sure to pull off the plastic wrap before you bake!
Baked Lasagna Bowls are a favorite with my crowd. I've also made extras to take over to my parents' place (they're great to make for families in need).
I hope these are a hit with your fam!
I'm linking this post up with a few awesome link-share sites: #CookBlogShare and #CookOnceEatTwice both have fantastic recipes from the blogosphere, while #BrillBlogPosts offers great reads—not only can you find posts about food, but you can also read about a variety of topics, from parenting to fashion and more.
Baked Lasagna Bowls
Baked Lasagna bowls are a great, make-ahead solution for busy weeknights. I reserve a few cups of my Bolognese or marinara sauce for exactly this purpose, but you can always use your favorite jarred sauce.
- 5 cups warmed Bolognese or marinara sauce, or your favorite jarred sauce
- 1 lb. dried cavatappi, shells, or radiatori
- 1½ cups part-skim ricotta cheese, divided
- 2 tsp. dried Italian herbs
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 375°. Boil the pasta 1 minute less than the package instructs for al dente.
- Mix the herbs into the ricotta cheese and set aside 4 tbsp.
- Drain the pasta well. Mix in 3 cups of the sauce and all but the reserved 4 tbsp. of the ricotta cheese. Divide the mixture into 4 servings (just eyeball it). Into 4 ~20-oz. oven-safe bowls, layer ¼ cup of sauce, 1 serving of the pasta/sauce/ricotta mixture, another ¼ cup of sauce, and ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. of Parmesan cheese.
- Set the bowls onto a baking sheet and place into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbly. Remove from the oven and top each bowl with 1 tbsp. of the herbed ricotta. Sprinkle with a pinch of parsley, if you'd like. Serve.
TO FREEZE THE BAKED LASAGNA BOWLS:
Cover unbaked bowls with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface of the dish. Wrap tightly with foil. Wrap extra herbed ricotta cheese in plastic wrap, then in a freezer bag; freeze near the lasagna bowls.
Put the bowls and the herbed ricotta into the fridge 1 day before you plan to eat them. Before you bake: pull off the plastic wrap and recover the bowls with foil. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 minutes more. Check with an instant read thermometer to be sure that the middle of the pasta reaches 165°. Top with the herbed ricotta and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 884Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 138mgSodium: 923mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 7gSugar: 10gProtein: 54g
Nutrition data provided here is only an estimate: if you are tracking this information for medical purposes, please consult a trusted external source. Thanks!
|Easy Bolognese Sauce: This easy Bolognese Sauce recipe tastes as though you've been slaving over a hot stove all day—but it's done in under an hour.|
|Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce: An easy recipe for Slow-Roasted Tomato Sauce. Great over pasta, or as the base for Bolognese Sauce. Freezes well for an easy meal anytime!|
|Lasagna Bolognese: An easy, make-ahead strategy for Lasagna Bolognese that freezes well for those busy times when you need a hands-off dinner.|
|Baked Pasta Casserole: pure, ooey-gooey deliciousness, but far healthier than most other bakes you'll find. The reason for this is the cauliflower hiding in the ricotta cheese, which takes on the flavor of—you guessed it—RICOTTA CHEESE.|
Nico @ yumsome says
I adore lasagne, and make it quite a lot but guess what? I've never ever thought to make individual servings like this - what a brilliant idea! (Is it bad that I'm sitting here thinking that it's a good excuse to buy the caquelons I've been eyeing up for a couple of months?)
Thanks for the inspo, ragazza! xx
(PS Pizza is totally legit when you're on deadline!)
Thanks so much, Nico! Yes, I think it's an EXCELLENT excuse to go buy your caquelons!!! 🙂
I love how easy these are and the fact that they're individual makes them such a great meal to have in the freezer and bring out on those occasions when not everyone is eating or there's just no time to make something from scratch. Thanks for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice
Thank you, Corina!
These look so tasty! I love having meals in the freezer that you can make when you have some time and eat when you don't have as much time!x
Thanks so much, Cat! I'm totally with you there!
Angela / Only Crumbs Remain says
Our family absolutely love pasta bakes - they're so easy aren't they and perfect for freezing. I love the idea of using some herby ricotta layered up with the pasta - will have to give that a try, thanks for sharing. #CookBlogShare
Thanks, Angela! Yes, pasta bakes are the absolute BEST.
Amanda Wren-Grimwood says
These look gorgeous Michelle. I love the idea of individual portions and especially the idea of using ricotta rather than making another pan dirty making the bechamel . I'm leaving my son looking after the house soon for a couple of weeks so I'm making these and freezing!
Thanks so much, Amanda! I like lasagna and pasta bakes with bechamel too, but the ricotta strategy wins out in the quick-and-easy category!
I love your tips for busy day meals. I am always very nervous to freeze non plastic bowls but if you do it, I will too. If they are not sealed it should not matter. Francesco love lasagna, more than we can bare, I will make some extra bowls for him so we don't have to eat it every day.
Thank you, Laura! I've frozen both Pyrex and ceramic baking dishes: like you said, as long as they're not sealed, it should work just fine.
Gabby | The Tolerant Table says
What an awesome idea! I love pulling home-cooked meals out of the freezer because like your husband - mine will go straight for pizza if he has to cook anything himself! There's only two of us here so smaller serves are perfect.
Thank you, Gabby! One of my hubster's other memorable "hubby-cooked" meals was spaghetti burritos. ???? Of course, the kids loved it, so who am I to judge?
Monika Dabrowski says
What a terrific idea to make individual lasagna portions! Great if you are watching your weight and do want to eat too much. Plus it's so convenient too! Thank you for bringing your delicious recipe to #CookBlogShare:)
Thanks so much, Monica! Yes, portion control is something I struggle with. If it tastes good, I want MORE—so individual portions are a big help!