Better than Classic Lasagna

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Better than Classic Lasagna (make ahead and freezer friendly) is so easy, with just the right amount of Italian seasoning, sausage, garlic, and all the cheesy goodness you love about lasagna in one perfect dish. 

If you love lasagna, then you’ll also want to plan to make these popular recipes: White Chicken Lasagna Stuffed ZucchiniBoats, Easy White Chicken Lasagna with Spinach, and Easiest One Pot Lasagna.

up close piece of lasagna topped with basil on a white plate with a fork

We’ve been traveling a lot lately and while that’s one of our most favorite things to do, ever, coming home I always experience a bit of…I guess you’d call it the shock of re-entry back into the real world. You know the one that is full of cooking your own meals and doing laundry and cleaning your house. 

While I get over it pretty quickly, I do find myself turning toward easy comfort foods – like my famous Easy Olive Garden Zuppa Tosana Soup (just one bite and you’ll understand why it’s famous) –  when it’s time to get back to the business of cooking. Especially anything soup or pasta, because they are warm and comforting and easy to whip together and please a crowd. 

I especially like this lasagna recipe not only because it’s delicious but because it freezes so well. So…this time, before we left for our trip, I actually made it ahead of time and popped it in the freezer so I would not only have that pasta comfort food on hand that I knew we’d all be craving, but I wouldn’t have to do anything but thaw and bake for an easy pasta dinner. 

Sometimes, I manage to get ahead of myself in a good way! 

two plates of lasagna with forks on a gray background

WHAT INGREDIENTS DO I NEED FOR LASAGNA? 

You won’t need a lot of fancy ingredients to make lasagna, especially this make-ahead recipe. All you’ll need is: 

  • no-cook lasagna noodles
  • ground Italian sausage (mild or spicy)
  • 2 jars roasted garlic tomato sauce or your favorite marinara sauce
  • minced garlic
  • Italian herb seasoning blend
  • ricotta cheese
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • Italian herb seasoning blend

pan of lasagna on a gray background

HOW DO YOU MAKE CLASSIC LASAGNA? 

Making this freezer lasagna is a cinch. Double up the recipe and make it twice as nice! 

What you’ll first do is to preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9×13 inch baking dish (or two if you are making a big batch). Next, you’ll brown the sausage in a skillet over medium high heat, breaking it apart with your spoon or spatula as it cooks. 

When the sausage is browned, stir in the garlic, Italian seasoning, and tomato sauce. Let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix together the cheeses (ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella) for the filling. 

Now it’s time to put this lasagna recipe with ricotta together. You’ll make layers in the baking dish, starting with 1 cup of meat sauce on the bottom of the pan. Top this with four noodles in a single layer, then add all of the cheese filling. 

Next, add another 4 noodles on top of the cheese, and then half of the remaining meat sauce. Top the layers off with a final round of 4 lasagne noodles, the remaining meat sauce and a topper of mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. I also like to sprinkle more Italian seasoning over the top of the cheese before baking for additional flavor and, well, because it looks pretty. 

 Before putting the dish(es) in the oven, make a tent with greased foil and place it lightly over the top (this prevents the cheese from browning too soon). Bake with the foil on for 45 minutes, then take the foil off and broil for another 2-3 minutes to brown the cheese. 

I also suggest you let this meat lasagna recipe cool a little before serving as it will be very hot. 

HOW DO YOU MAKE LASAGNA AHEAD OF TIME?

If you want to make this best ever lasagna recipe the night before or morning of, simply prepare it according to my instructions, then cover and put in the refrigerator until it’s time to cook it. Bake as directed (foil tent and all) but add another 20-25 minutes to the baking time because it will be going into the oven cold. HOW DO YOU FREEZE LASAGNA?

To freeze this lasagna, you’ll want to put it all together as instructed. If the meat sauce is still warm from its initial cooking, then let this cool off to room temperature before wrapping and freezing. Then, cover it tightly and freeze. I like to cover mine with a tight lid or wrap it in plastic wrap or press and seal before covering it again in foil.

To reheat, let the dish thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake according to the “make ahead” directions. To cook it from frozen, bake for 1.5 to 2 hours. 

up close piece of lasagna topped with basil on a white plate with a fork

Better than Classic Lasagna (Make Ahead and Freezer Friendly)

Better than Classic Lasagna is so easy to put together ahead of time and freezes really well too! So saucy, with just the right amount of Italian seasoning, sausage, garlic, and all the cheesy goodness you love about lasagne in one perfect dish. 
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 no-cook lasagna noodles

for the meat sauce

  • 1 pound ground Italian sausage mild or spicy, your preference
  • 2 15-ounce jars roasted garlic tomato sauce or your favorite marinara sauce
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning blend

for the cheese filling

  • 8 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

for the cheese topping

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning blend

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, brown the sausage, breaking apart as it cooks. Once browned, stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, and tomato sauce/marinara sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl stir together ricotta cheese, mozzarella, and parmesan for the filling.
  • Spread 1 cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of the pan. Top with 4 noodles. Top with all of the cheese filling.
  • Layer another 4 noodles on top of the cheese filling, followed by 1/2 of the remaining meat sauce.
  • Finish with the final 4 noodles and all of the remaining meat sauce.
  • Top with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Sprinkle Italian seasoning over the cheeses.
  • Tent with greased foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and broil 2-3 minutes (optional). Allow to cool somewhat before serving as it will be very hot.

MAKE AHEAD

  • Prepare the lasagna as written, then cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Bake as directed but add another 20-25 minutes of baking time to account for it going into the oven cold.

FREEZE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Prepare lasagna recipe as written. Allow to cool if meat sauce is still hot. Cover tightly and freeze. To cook, thaw in the refrigerator overnight then bake as written above in the "make ahead" directions, OR to cook from frozen, bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Notes

Makes one 9x13 pan of lasagna. 
Did You Make This Recipe?Tag @cremedelacrumb1 on Instagram and hashtag it #cremedelacrumb!

 

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Comments

5 stars
Looks delicious! Can I use some other meat? And can this be made with rice?

    Yes, another meat would be fine. I’ve never added rice to lasagna so I don’t have much input on that part.

5 stars
yum, was looking for some recipes that I’ve been craving, at least craving the ingredients, and found this, a perfect fit for the day off of my diet, thank you!

Hello dear, what’s the substitue for ricotta cheese? I can’t find it in my country

    Hi! You could try to use either a soft goat cheese, cottage cheese or perhaps even cream cheese!

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