I’m always looking for a way to save time while cooking without losing flavor. Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the kitchen chopping, stirring, and tasting. But some days there just isn’t time for that. For those days, there is the crock pot. Now, being a vegetarian means it’s not always as easy as just dropping a roast in there like some folks do.
Most ideas on the Web are not gluten-free, or vegetarian, or both. So, I decided to modify some of the recipes I found to make my own version of crock pot lasagna. My family was willing to give it a shot. The end result? I will never make lasagna in the oven again, seriously. This was just as good, if not a little better, than any other lasagna I’ve made. No pre-cooking noodles, no mess, minor clean up. Beat that! Give this a try and let me know what you think.
Crock Pot Vegetarian, Gluten-free Lasagna
1 box gluten-free lasagna noodles (I used DeBole’s)
1 12 oz. container ricotta cheese (light or regular)
1 tsp each of garlic powder, dried parsley and salt
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
2 cups shredded mozzarella
3 cups Marinara sauce (your own or your favorite brand)
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 TBS chopped fresh basil
1. Turn on a 6-quart crock pot to high (I use an oval). Spray with cooking spray or oil.
2. Mix Ricotta, eggs, spices and 1/4 cup Parmesan.
3. Pour about 3/4 cup Marinara on the bottom of the pot and spread it out to cover.
4. Layer with rice noodles so you have one even layer. Don’t worry about breaking them up to make a layer. It’s like a puzzle.
5. Cover noodles with 1/2 of the Ricotta mixture.
6. Next layer is 1/2 the spinach and 1 TBS basil.
7. Cover with another cup of Marinara and then repeat the next layer.
8. Top layer is another layer of noodles. Break it up to cover as well as possible.
9. Cover top layer of noodles with last of the Marinara, making sure to cover all of the noodles so they don’t dry out.
10. Cover the top with a layer of cheese and a few bits of fresh basil.
11. Cover and cook for 3 hours on high or 4-5 on medium/low. Check it after 3 hours to make sure it’s not cooking too fast. It should be bubbly on the sides and cooked well, and if you stick a knife into it there is very little resistance.
Note: I had planned to cook for four hours but stopped at 3 and it was perfect. Let it sit for a few minutes to firm up and serve with extra Marinara sauce if you have it.
This was so easy, even the kids can do it. There is no cooking involved, as long as you’ve already got the Marinara on hand. All it takes is layering and putting the top on. And if you mess up a layer and forget, who will know? I think Daughter switched the spinach and cheese layer in there somewhere, but it tastes great and that’s all that matter. Next up, try this with GF penne or spaghetti, just like my last version here, only easier.