Looking for the best lasagna you can serve up to your family? Look no further, because here at Vegetarian Buffalo, we nailed it!
First we need to clear the mouth watering air: it’s really hard to take an appetizing photo of this dish.
Like, really, really, really hard.
Reason for that is this lasagna is made in the crock pot, so all that awesome layered goodness just really can’t be captured because 1) it’s hidden in a crock pot, and 2) it’s such a deep dish lasagna that as soon as you take out a delicious savory spoonful, the rest of it kind of slops back into whatever void you’ve just created. Plus the spoonful is so massive, everything just kind of falls apart. So no feast-with-your-eyes-images. But do rest assured, this will be the best lasagna–vegetarian, gluten free, or otherwise–you’ll ever have.
This recipe varies very little from the original which can be found on Food Network or in one of their magazines, which was where I originally cut it out from. My husband hates mushrooms, but my Mom was coming into town, and as she and I both love mushrooms, spinach, and ricotta cheese, I knew I could make this without too much guilt at leaving my husband out of the mix. My Mom also prefers a gluten free diet, so while I might have to suffer gluten free pasta (heaven forbid), I could manage it for both mushrooms and my mother.
I took her on a shopping run to Wegmans. I already had all the other ingredients, but I didn’t know what kind of gluten free lasagna noodles to settle on. Mom told me to go for the Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Pasta, as she preferred that one above the others. Mind you, she said preferred. She did not say it was superior to typical gluten pasta.
And so on a Sunday morning around 11:30 am she and I got to work in the kitchen mixing the pieces up according to Food Network instructions. While I used Wegmans brand frozen spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, and grated parmesan cheese, I did stick to the brand name of my absolute (without a doubt) favorite marinara sauce, Francesco Rinaldi Sweet & Tasty Tomato. No joke people, I don’t diviate from this pasta sauce. It’s my absolute favorite and the only thing I buy. No Wegman’s brand, no Prego, no nuthin’, just Francesco Rinaldi Sweet & Tasty Tomato. I promise people, you can’t skip this sauce. It makes all the difference in the world to every single dish I make, especially this one. I’m not even getting sponsored to say this; this is how much I believe this sauce matters.
A low and slow 4:45 hours covered and 15 minutes uncovered later, Mom and I sat down with big heaping bowlfuls of this crock pot lasagna and took a bite. Our eyes went wide as we looked at each other. “Oh my God.” I said. “Oh my God.” Mom said. And we proceeded to dig into the best lasagna we’ve ever had in our life.
I’m the person you can’t fool with gluten free food. In fact, I’ve surprised other dietitians that I’ve been able to point out which foods are gluten free, regardless how good they might taste–with my Mom gluten intolerant for years, I just know. But there is no joke here: I couldn’t tell this lasagna was gluten free. I don’t know if it’s Jovial Brown Rice Pasta itself, or if the low cooking in the crock pot did it, but neither my Mom nor I could tell the pasta was gluten free. With that, I have no qualms freely offering up this amazing lasagna recipe and putting my reputation on the line saying this is the best lasagna I’ve ever made. Heck, it’s one of the best lasagna’s I’ve ever had. It’s 100% the best gluten free pasta dish both my mother and I have every had.
And with that, you’re clearly wondering where is the chase, and how to you cut to it? I’m giving you the exact brands I used so you know exactly what it’s going to take to recreate this perfect lasagna:
- Wegmans 30 oz container part-skim ricotta cheese
- 10-oz package Wegmans frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (do your best, but if you can’t get it super dry, that’s ok)
- Wegmans 8 oz sliced bella mushrooms
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups (for 4 qt cooker, or 6 cups for 6 qt cooker) Wegmans shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup Wegmans grated parmesan cheese
- 2 24 oz jars Francesco Rinaldi Sweet & Tasty Tomato Sauce (there will be some leftover)
- 12 to 18 Jovial Gluten Free Brown Rice Pasta Lasagna Noodles (not no-boil) (can’t find it in stores? You can purchase it through Amazon here: Jovial Organic Gluten Free Brown Rice Pasta, Lasagna, 9 Ounce)
Let’s Get Cooking:
- Stir the ricotta, spinach, mushrooms (break into smaller pieces if necessary), parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl.
- In a medium bowl, combine the mozzarella and parmesan. I used 4 cups moz with 1/2 cup parm and that was amazing, even though the original recipe calls for 6 cups moz and 1/2 cup parm. I’m assuming either way works out fabulously.
- Spread about 1/2 cup marinara sauce in a thin layer in a 6-quart slow cooker (I have a 4 qt slow cooker). Cover with a single layer of uncooked lasagna noodles (4 to 6 noodles), breaking them as needed to fit. Spread half of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Top with pasta sauce until covered, spreading with a spatula if needed, then sprinkle with about one-third of the mozzarella mixture. Repeat the layers (noodles, ricotta, sauce, mozzarella mixture). Top with the remaining noodles, then sauce and mozzarella mixture. You may or may not have some sauce left over, depending on the size of your slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 4 hours and 45 minutes. Uncover and let rest 15 minutes so the excess liquid is absorbed and/or evaporates (this is why it was alright if the frozen spinach isn’t completely squeezed dry; the excess liquid soaks into the noodles to cook them and then evaporates off the top once the lid is removed).
This. Is. Amazing! I’m actually thrilled my husband doesn’t like mushrooms because that means more leftovers (and believe me, there are delicious, delicious, reheated leftovers) for me! I might actually just make this again knowing full well he won’t eat any of it. The slow cooked lasagna makes the house smell incredible, and it’s so good that I almost made myself sick overeating. It’s hard to stop, so be forewarned.
Like I said, not only best gluten free lasagna, but possibly the best lasagna ever! I love this, I can’t recommend it enough, and regardless of the season, lasagna makes for a perfect meal.
Pin this recipe and put these items on your grocery list to make this weekend!