Vegetarian Lasagna Roll-Ups
Let’s be honest; cooking is fun but you don’t want to be forced to do it three times (or more) a day. If that IS you – more power to you – but to me, I like to enjoy it more as a hobby and so that means that I want a little freedom. Enter: meal prepping. Making big batches of food ahead of time that you can refrigerate or freeze for later is absolutely critical to so many of my clients’ success. Being able to grab and go with healthy food you prepared can make or break your health goals. It can also really help your wallet as well….Enter Vegetarian Lasagna Roll-Ups, the most delicious, savory, healthy freezer-friendly meal around.
Making meals ahead, setting time aside on Sundays and meal prepping can be the key to success. Once my clients get in the routine of making this part of their weekly planning, I see such a difference in stress-levels and a boost in veggie intake as well. The really great thing about lasagna is that you can pack it full of whichever veggies you like the most. Bell peppers, chives, fresh or dried herbs, mushrooms, and beyond – you choose what flavors you enjoy in this dish. I’ve got all the substitutions and tips outlined below for you. Let me know what you think in the comments!
Why Lasagna Rolls?
These lasagna rolls entail making a traditional lasagna in a different way by rolling each noodle around filling instead of laying them all flat in the pan. I love how that creates an individual serving size and it’s very easy to do, too. Once you make lasagna in individual rolls, I doubt you’ll ever go back to layers!
Because of the water content in sauce and cheese mixture, you can freeze these individually and heat them up quickly when needed. I found these very cool little tin containers that fit 2 perfectly inside. I freeze them that way and then for lunch, I heat the oven and bake the package for 45 minutes. When it’s done, you have gorgeous little homemade Vegetarian Lasagna Roll-Ups to enjoy!
Making Vegetarian Lasagna Roll-Ups
Lasagna can be a calorie bomb full of meat and cheese OR it can be a perfect vehicle for lots of veggies. Instead of peso or bechamel sauce, I prefer red sauce for the nutritional value and health profile. Using red really cuts down on saturated fat and you can make it a hearty sauce by adding in a lot of veggies. If you want to keep your life really simple, just use jarred marinara but if you have a little extra time, take the steps to sauté the onion and garlic and add in those veggies that I did: mushrooms and spinach. Honestly, the options here are endless so toss in bell peppers, eggplant chunks or kale, too!
I do use ricotta and mozzarella but I’ll often use reduced fat versions because of the volume that it takes to make a proper lasagna. Again, I like to eat this often so to me, it’s more than a ‘treat’. Keeping the protein while cutting saturated fat suits my personal health goals and I often recommend that type of swap for my clients. But hey, if you prefer full-fat – go for it!
Add herbs and spices per your preference for more flavor, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. I really go crazy with the basil, oregano, thyme, parsley and red pepper flakes. If you have the change to use fresh parsley, it’s such a joy and really adds a nice, zesty flavor. I really love using a lot of flavors like this in my cooking and it helps me keep the salt content down. I like to balance salt with potassium and you can achieve that balance with all the ingredients in this dish like the tomato sauce and greens. Cooking with herbs and spices can really help bump that satiating flavor while cutting back on compounds that could hurt your health (especially blood pressure).
Pop it in the freezer and enjoy the simplicity of a hot, healthy dinner later this month on a busy evening. Let me know if you try this veggie lasagna roll freezer meal!
- 12 whole wheat lasagna noodles
- 15 oz ricotta cheese (I use part-skim for a slightly lighter dish)
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup diced mushrooms
- 1 1/2 25 oz jars tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cups spinach
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the lasagna noodles according to package directions, generally 8-10 minutes. Drain and lay the lasagna noodles out flat on a large piece of parchment paper to cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, black pepper, oregano, Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella. Stir until well combined and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, saute garlic and onion in 2 teaspoons of olive oil for 2 minutes, then add mushrooms and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and spinach. Simmer for 6 minutes then remove from heat. Coat the bottom of the pan with 1/2 cup of red sauce. Take about 1/4 cup of the ricotta mixture and spread it evenly onto each lasagna noodle. Top each noodle with 2 tablespoons of red sauce and 2 tablespoons of mozzarella cheese. Carefully roll the noodles up and place them in the prepared pan with one edge side down. Top the lasagna rolls with the remaining red sauce and remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Spray a large sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover the pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes until lasagna is bubbling. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted on top. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Serve warm.
Ginger Hultin,MS, RD, CSO
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