When I was trying to find a no ricotta lasagna recipe for my family, I had a lot of restrictions. We were a very simple family, in that we did not like the ricotta cheese or any other extra toppings in the lasagna. My family literally just wanted pasta, meat, and cheese.
I researched some recipes and we tried a different one every time we ate lasagna. And still, no one liked the recipes. This one didn’t have enough cheese, this one tasted weird, etc, etc. So, I decided to make my own recipe to meet the very specific desires of my extremely picky family.
This lasagna is not only extremely easy, but it was approved by my family of food critics, which means it has to taste good too! It only has 4 main ingredients, plus some spices for added flavors. And the best part, it is completely customizable to whatever you or your family like!
Step 1: prep the noodles
The first step is to cook your lasagna noodles. I cook these directly as the package says. Just remember to make them slightly al dente. As a general cooking tip, you should always make pasta al dente if you are cooking it again. In this case, the noodles will be going back in the oven after it is all assembled.
Step 2: prep the beef
While your pasta is cooking, you want to start on the beef. Brown your ground beef in a pan on medium heat, mixing every so often to get rid of any chucks. Once the beef is all browned and not clumped together, you are going to be left with a lot of fat. Pour the beef into a strainer to remove this fat, and then return it back into the pan.
Now that your beef is all cooked, it’s time to add the sauce and spices. Add the sauce and spices into the pan with the beef and mix it up until it’s fully combined. Once it is done, just turn the flame off and leave it in the pan until you are ready to assemble.
Step 3: prep the cheese
If you are shredding fresh mozzarella, now would be the time to do so. If you are using pre-shredded mozzarella cheese (which I do most times), you are all ready to go!
Step 4: assemble
Once your beef is all done and the pasta is all cooked, you are ready to start assembling your lasagna. This is the fun part! Get yourself a casserole dish or whatever tray you plan to cook in. Then, I like to set up the layers on my counter all around the dish. I have one bowl with my pasta, one with my meat, and one with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
Now would be the time to add any extra toppings into your lasagna if you want. This could include different veggies like peppers or onions. You can also put some fresh basil on top if you like that as well.
To assemble, you are going to start with a layer of pasta. Then add meat, then cheese. Repeat with your remaining ingredients until you run out of lasagna noodles! Make sure your top layer is cheese.
Step 5: cook
To finish, place your lasagna in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-25. Cooking times will depend on the thickness of your lasagna and your oven. Just make sure to keep an eye on it and take it out when the cheese starts to brown. Remember, the meat is already cooked, so you are just putting it in the oven to heat up all the ingredients and melt the cheese!
Step 6: eat or save
Once your lasagna is all finished, remove the pan from the oven and serve immediately! If you are prepping this for meals during the week, let the lasagna cool completely. Then, cut into the desired portions and wrap each individually in tin foil or freezer paper. These will last 3-4 days in the fridge or a few months in the freezer.
If you want to make your life even easier, try doubling this no ricotta lasagna recipe and freezing an entire pan if you have the freezer space. When I do this, I use a disposable pan for the freezer meal. Then, the next time you need a quick dinner, you can just take it straight from the freezer to the oven and you are all done! If you want another easy meal prep meal, check out this Pasta Salad Recipe Perfect For Meal Prep.
4 Ingredient, No Ricotta Lasagna
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 1/3 cup tomato sauce
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded
- 9 lasagna noodles typically about half of a box
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- Cook your lasagna noodles according to the package instructions. Make sure to cook the noodles al dente.
- While your pasta is cooking, brown the ground beef in a pan over medium heat. Once you no longer see any red, pour the meat into a strainer to drain the fat. Return beef to the pan.
- In the pan with the meat, pour in the tomato sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir until combined. Remove from heat and let sit in the pan.
- Grease a 9×13 casserole dish. To assemble, start with three lasagna noodles on the bottom of the dish. Then, add 1/3 of the meat mixture. On top of the meat, add 1/3 of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat 3 times for a total of 9 layers (3 layers of each ingredient).
- Cook at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese begins to brown.
- Serve immediately or store for a later meal. To refrigerate or freeze, cut into individual portions and wrap each in tin foil or freezer paper. Leftovers will last 2-4 days in the fridge or a couple months in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave or oven.
- If you want to add additional toppings, add them as individual layers when you are assembling.
- Cooking time may vary depending on the oven and the thickness of your layers
- lasagna may be on the flatter side after cooking because there is no ricotta. Don’t worry, this is completely normal and it’ll still be delicious.
For another super delicious dinner idea, check out this article: Simple Chicken Recipe: Breaded Cutlets!