I have been on a journey to find a hearty, delicious lasagna recipe for a LONG time. If you search for lasagna on NOH, you will find several recipes, none of which ever really lived up to my expectations. I wanted lots of chunks and I add lots of layers of noodles. I find lasagna that is just a watery meat sauce , ricotta cheese and noodles absolutely boring. My lasagna is a meal, packed with flavor, veggies and spices.
I first used the shredded carrots in here on a whim because I had some in the fridge from something else I was cooking. I wasn’t sure if I was about to ruin the lasagna or not, but we have a bolognese recipe that we love with carrots in it, so I figured I couldn’t really be doing something too horrible. It turned out that it added a nice element of sweetness to the lasagna and some extra heartiness. Kids probably won’t even know they’re in there.
I usually use cottage cheese in my lasagna instead of ricotta because the cottage cheese is actually easier for me to find here and it packs a lot of protein into the meal. You’re probably not even going to notice the difference once everything is baked.
If you’re prefer to use fresh mushrooms in this dish, just sauté about 2 cups of fresh sliced mushrooms with the first step of this recipe and then proceed as usual.
Before the last layer of meat sauce, you can also slip some sliced pepperoni in, on top of the noodles, to give a really interesting and different flavor to the meal. Sometimes I use two different kinds of pepperoni, other times I use none at all. It keeps the meal interesting.
I usually use two small, deep casserole dishes to make this lasagna and freeze one. We eat off the first one for a couple days and I also have lunch for myself. Mack used to love this lasagna butat the moment she won’t touch it. I don’t take it very personally, though, because anything that is cooked (besides plain pasta or nice) is low on the totem pole as a favorite food.
When you’re ready to eat the frozen lasagna, just take it out and let it thaw on your kitchen counter for most of a day (unless your kitchen is really warm). You can also move it to your fridge the night before you want to cook it and let it thaw for about 24 hours. It will take a bit longer if everything is cold and you can cook it partially frozen at about 350°F (180°C).