One of the best things about gardening is the ability to grow your own food. It’s even better when you can save the food that you’ve grown & enjoy it months later when your garden has gone to sleep under layers of snow. It’s a yearly tradition of mine to make my own tomato sauce in the summer, divvy it up into portions & freeze them so I cook with them in the following months. Lasagna with homegrown tomato sauce is one of my go-to meals, especially in the winter. It’s the ultimate super easy to make comfort food. You don’t need homemade tomato sauce to make this recipe, since store-bought sauce will work just fine, but I urge you to grow your own tomatoes & make your own if you can. It’s an easy & delicious endeavor that will pay you back ten-fold. That being said, you’re here to learn how to make lasagna, so let’s get to it.
Ingredients (inspired by this recipe)
- 4 cups tomato sauce
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ pound Italian sausage (removed from casing)
- Uncooked lasagna noodles
- 1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- ¼ cup hot water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Brown the meat in a frying pan on low until completely cooked. Drain the liquid.
- Stir tomato sauce into the meat. Set aside.
- Mix together ricotta cheese & egg with a fork in a bowl.
- Line the bottom of a rectangle baking dish with lasagna noodles, then spread on a layer of the meat & tomato sauce mixture. Top with ricotta mixture, mozzarella & basil.
- Repeat step 5 until you reach the top of the pan. Make sure that the top layer is cheese.
- Pour hot water into all of the sides of the pan. Cover the pan tightly with two layers of aluminum foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes, turning halfway through. Remove the foil & bake for an additional 10 minutes. Lasagna is done when the noodles are soft & the cheese is melted & golden brown.
- It might seem like ¼ cup of hot water won’t cook the noodles, but believe me, it works every time! Skip a step by using this recipe, instead of boiling the noodles first.
- You can go substitution crazy here. Chicken, ground pork, veggies are popular variations. You can even substitute the noodles with sliced zuchini. The possibilities are endless! One of the best lasagnas I have ever made included a chorizo substitution. Get creative!
- This is the perfect meal to make ahead a time & freeze for a rainy (busy) day.
I never liked lasagna when I was a kid because for whatever reason I didn’t like ricotta cheese or chunky tomato sauce. Thankfully, my tastebuds have adjusted & I really can’t get enough of lasagna now. Little kid me was really missing out! I started making it right around when I started to seriously get into gardening, so I always associate the two. Homemade lasagna with homegrown & homemade sauce is the first thing I make every summer once I grow enough tomatoes to make it. I can’t even put into words how excited it makes me to finally get to that point in the summer.
Even though I look forward to it so much, making the sauce & the lasagna in one day takes all day. It’s definitely a labor of love, but like all labors of love, it’s completely worth it. Luckily, making it in the winter when you have already frozen the sauce is easy peasy. All I have to do is thaw the sauce in the fridge overnight & layer everything up the next day. This is why I try to make as much tomato sauce as I can. It’s to the point where I measure my gardening success each year by how much sauce I was able to make. Saving your garden harvests is one of the absolute best gardening tips for beginner gardeners. Save when times are plentiful, so you can enjoy them when times are lean.
That’s all lasagna really is, layering upon layering upon layering of goodness on top of goodness. Cooking really doesn’t get any easier than that. Funny enough, gardening doesn’t really get any easier than tomatoes either. If you’re sitting here doubting that you could make your own lasagna with your own homegrown tomatoes, then doubt no more! You can do it! The only thing stopping you from doing it yourself is your own self-doubt. Take the leap, grow your own tomatoes & then make your own lasagna. Come to the gardening side, we welcome you with open arms! Happy gardening, everyone!