Tuesday, April 3, 2012

No dishes, No problem!

Pesto Spinach Crock-Pot Lasagna
The first time I ever made homemade lasagna from scratch, I thought that someone had lied to me. Lasagna was suppose to be easy right? I was under the impression that it was the go-to meal of housewives, church pot-lucks and Sunday Family Dinners because it was simple and cheap. But as I sat exasperated, elbow deep in half-boiled broken noodles, mounds of marinara sauce splattered on the stove and a smear of ricotta  across my cheek, I realized this was incorrect. I silently cursed any woman who ever said nonchalantly, "Oh just whip up a lasagna!"

There had to be an easier way.

Time has passed and I've (thankfully) discovered many shortcuts and tricks to making my lasagna process simple and downright enjoyable. Did you know that they sell "no-boil" noodles to save you a step? Genius. And even though I've come to love my stand-by veggie lasagna recipe and use it frequently to clean out all the random and forgotten vegetables in my fridge, I leapt with joy when I came across this new Pesto Spinach Crock-Pot Lasagna from the Crockin' Girls.

This recipe uses an entire bag of fresh spinach and is truly a one-pot wonder. I bought all the ingredients from the grocery store, poured them into the crock and then threw away (or recycled) all the empty containers. No dishes to wash!

Pesto Spinach Crock-Pot Lasagna
Cast of Characters: Fresh Spinach, pesto (homemade or store-bought), marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese (slices or shredded), ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, REGULAR lasagna noodles (not the no-boil or oven-ready).

Start with a layer of marinara sauce on the bottom of the crock.

Start layering! You will have to break the noodles to get them to fit. The original recipe calls for sliced mozzarella, but I used shredded and it worked just fine.

Once finished layering (you will use up almost all the ingredients), swish some water around in the marinara jar and pour over top. I added a layer of fresh cherry tomatoes on top for my last layer, delicious and totally optional.

Final picture of it done. I cooked it on HIGH for about 4-5 hours. In my opinion it didn't photograph very pretty, but it sure was tasty!
Link to Recipe: Crockin' Girls Pesto Spinach Lasagna

To make clean-up even easier, I would recommend a Crock-Pot disposable liner. I have never used one, but will definitely be buying some next time I make this:-)

On a side-note, I usually like to make my own pesto with my trusty Magic Bullet, but today there was no basil at the store. Pesto in New York is so expensive you'd think I was buying a steak! I'm patiently waiting for our new basil plant to grow so I can have fresh (almost FREE) pesto anytime I want!
Tiny windowsill garden in our kitchen window. Cilantro, basil and dill.

Let me know if you make this one-pot Crockin' wonder, and what your experiences are. I am always looking for new and original Crock-Pot recipes that go beyond soups and stews, so drop a line and tell me your favorites!


  1. cannot wait to try this, for someone who's never made a lasagna (for all the reasons you mentioned above) i am SO excited to dump ingredients and press cook :) p.s. i LOVE your lil herb garden...a lil spinach salad will go PERFECTLY next to it :)

  2. I'll try it next week when we'll be back from the beach. Looks delicious. Extra attraction: pesto!

  3. Let me know how you liked it Margo, and also if you did any modifications/additions!