Easy Make-Ahead Lazy Lasagna Casserole has the same amazing taste as traditional lasagna but without much fuss. It uses store-bought mozzarella and ricotta cheese ravioli instead of the typical layering of the lasagna noodles and ricotta cheese mixture. This means less time in the kitchen and more time to do other things.
As an added bonus, this Lazy Lasagna recipe can be put together ahead of time for later heating. It can also be frozen and makes awesome leftovers. It is certain to become a family favorite.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Quick and Easy to Prepare: Lazy lasagna is a lifesaver for busy weeknights when you don’t have time to make a traditional lasagna from scratch.
- No Need to Pre-Cook Noodles: This recipe replaces traditional lasagna noodles with store-bought cheese ravioli that is layered right out of the package.
- Perfect for Family Dinners: Lazy lasagna is a hearty and satisfying dish that your entire family will love, even the pickiest eaters. It’s also a great dish to make for potlucks and parties.
- Make-Ahead Convenience: This easy dinner recipe is an ideal make-ahead dish. Sometimes, I like to layer the ingredients in a casserole dish, cover and refrigerate the lazy lasagna, and bake it to perfection the next day.
Ingredients – Here’s What You’ll Need
One of the beauties of this simple recipe is that you can use your favorite meat sauce. However, if you don’t have a favorite meat sauce, I’m including mine because it is amazingly delicious.
- My Favorite Meat Sauce: For the meat sauce, I used mild Italian sausage. I could have also used sweet Italian sausage. The spices were simple – dried basil, dried oregano, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Added to the taste were onions and minced garlic. For the liquids, I used petit diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, and water. I also use a bit of light brown sugar.
- For the Lazy Lasagna: Once the meat sauce was prepared, I used store-bought cheese-filled ravioli, shredded mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese.
Simple Steps – Making the Meat Sauce
- I started by browning the Italian sausage in a large skillet over medium heat. While the sausage was browning, I tried to break it up into small pieces. Once the sausage was cooked, I removed it from the skillet and drained it on paper towels.
- After I removed the Italian sausage from the skillet, I wiped out the skillet with paper towels. Then, I added the onions and cooked them over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Next, I returned the Italian sausage to the skillet and stirred to combine everything.
- I added the basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and minced garlic to the onion/sausage mixture and stirred to combine everything. I let the mixture cook for about 30 seconds until the garlic was fragrant.
- I added the petit diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, red wine, and water for the liquids. I also added a bit of light brown sugar to temper the bitterness of the tomatoes. I stirred the mixture to combine everything and brought it to a boil. Then, I covered the pan and lowered the heat to low.
I let the sauce simmer for three hours. At this point, I could have refrigerated the meat sauce for use the next day, but carried on!
Simple Steps: Putting the Lazy Lasagna Together
- I started by spraying an 8 ½ x 10-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. In the past, I’ve also used a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Then, I spread about a cup of the meat sauce in the bottom of the casserole dish.
- Then, I added a single layer of the store-bought cheese ravioli on top of the meat sauce for the first layer.
- After that, I spread half of the remaining meat sauce over the ravioli.
- Finally, I sprinkled half of the shredded mozzarella cheese and half of the grated Parmesan cheese on top of the meat sauce.
- I added the remainder of the ravioli, meat sauce, and cheese for the second layer.
Then, I covered the dish with aluminum foil and baked the Lazy Lasagna in a 400°F oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, I removed the aluminum foil and baked the lasagna for an additional 20 minutes.
To say that the Lazy Lasagna was amazing is an understatement. All of the ingredients perfectly blended together for an unforgettable dish.
I served the Lazy Lasagna with a simple salad and a loaf of freshly baked Crusty French Bread for an unforgettable meal. This recipe is certain to become a family favorite. Yum!
Frequently Asked Questions
There are several make-ahead options for this recipe. First, you can make your favorite meat sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it until you’re ready to build the lazy lasagna. Second, you can build the lazy lasagna, cover, and refrigerate it for one to two days before baking it. Third, you can build the lazy lasagna and freeze it for later use.
My favorite ravioli to use is store-bought mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese ravioli bought in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. One time, I made the mistake of using five-cheese ravioli. I thought it was way too strong, at least for my taste.
Sometimes I will use monterey jack cheese in this recipe in place of the mozzarella cheese. It’s delicious?
Feel free to use pre-shredded cheese in this recipe. It works fine.
My very favorite meat sauce in this recipe is made with Italian sausage. However, a meat sauce with ground beef or ground turkey will also work. Just use your favorite meat sauce in this recipe.
Lazy lasagna reheats well in the oven or microwave. This means that you can enjoy it for leftovers the next day or even freeze it for later.
Other Delicious Make-Ahead Recipes
If you’re like I am and love the convenience of make-ahead recipes, look no further. I have you covered with these amazing recipes.
I hope you liked this recipe for Lazy Lasagna as much as I do. If so, please consider rating it and leaving a comment. Also, if you’d like to receive notifications of new posts by email, enter your email address in the Subscribe box.
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Easy Make-Ahead Lazy Lasagna
- 1 pound (16 ounces) mild Italian sausage, casings removed
- 1 medium onion chopped, (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 teaspoon)
- 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 8 ounce can tomato sauce
- 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- ¼ cup dry red wine
- ½ cup water
- Meat sauce from above or your favorite meat sauce made from one pound of meat
- 18 ounce package cheese ravioli (See Tips 1 and 2)
- 2 cups (8-ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- ½ cup (2-ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Brown Italian sausage in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Allow to cool; rub meat between fingers to break into small pieces.
- Wipe the skillet with a paper towel to remove any remaining grease. Add onions; sauté over medium heat for about five minutes.
- Return the sausage to skillet; stir to combine. Add the basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic. Stir well to combine; cook for 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Add petite diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, brown sugar, red wine, and water; stir well to combine. Bring to a slow boil.
- Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for three hours, adding more liquid if necessary. (See Tip 3)
- Correct the seasonings if necessary. Yield: 8 servings. (See Tip 4)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 8 ½ x 10-inch baking dish with non-stick spray.
- Spread one cup of meat sauce over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the ravioli, half of the remaining meat sauce, half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layering with the remaining ingredients.
- Cover dish with aluminum foil. Bake in preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.
- Yield: 8 servings. (See Tip 5)
- I used store-bought ravioli purchased in the refrigerated section of my grocery store, stuffed with mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese. You could also use frozen ravioli. If using frozen ravioli, increase the covered cooking time by 5 minutes.
- Sometimes, I use a 8 ½ x 10-inch baking dish that’s 2 ½ inches deep, and sometimes I use a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Both sizes work fine. The main difference between the two sizes is the number of ravioli that are needed for a single layer. With the 8 ½ inch dish, I needed 20 ravioli for the single layer. When I use the 9-inch dish, I need 24 to 28 ravioli for the single layer.
- If you’re making your own meat sauce, you can cook it on the stovetop, transfer the mixture to a crock pot, cook on the high setting for 5 hours, or cook covered in 300°F oven for 3 hours.
- This amazing meat sauce makes a delicious base for baked ziti and is awesome served over pasta.
- Leftovers, if any, are delicious. Also, leftovers can be frozen for later use.