My family absolutely loves this Spinach and Meat Lasagna recipe - also known as Lasagna Florentine. Until I did a little digging, I admittedly didn't know what the Florentine meant in Lasagna Florentine. Florentine is actually a fancy word that means with spinach. This no-boil lasagna recipe is unique because it is one of the first lasagna recipes I've made that includes a whole 8 ounce bag of spinach. What a great way to add spinach to your family's diet!
What I also love about this Spinach and Meat Lasagna recipe is it can easily be vegetarian friendly by omitting the ground beef. The original recipe I tried didn't even call for the ground beef. My family prefers extra protein in meals so I added the ground beef to this lasagna recipe. It is perfectly fine to omit the meat if you prefer a Vegetarian Friendly Lasagna Florentine. Either way it is a tasty meal.
What ingredients are in Spinach and Meat Lasagna?
- Red pasta sauce. I haven't tried a lasagna recipe with white sauce yet. This lasagna recipe has a red sauce base. Since I do most of my weekly grocery shopping at Aldi, I used the 24oz jar of Reggano Traditional Pasta Sauce. The traditional pasta sauce is less than a dollar, but I prefer it to even some of the more expensive red pasta sauces available.
- Ground beef (optional). Like I mentioned previously, my family prefers to add ground beef to the Spinach Lasagna to incorporate extra protein. The ground beef can be left out if you prefer to make a vegetarian friendly spinach lasagna recipe.
- Fresh spinach. Lasagna Florentine is all about the spinach! I use an 8oz, pre-washed bag of spinach. Don't worry if the 8oz bag of spinach looks excessive! The spinach will cook down when the spinach leaves are heated.
- Egg. Hypothetically you could leave the egg out of the lasagna without sacrificing much flavor. Then why do you add egg to ricotta for lasagna? The egg helps mind the cheese together so the lasagna doesn't get too runny while cooking.
- Ricotta cheese. Ricotta cheese is a creamy, but marginally grainy cheese. It has a slightly sweet flavor which helps add some additional depth to this Spinach and Meat Lasagna recipe.
- Mozzarella cheese. Of course, no Italian recipe can be complete without mozzarella cheese! I buy a bag of mozzarella cheese that has already been shredded so I don't have to grate the cheese.
- Oven-Ready/No-Boil Lasagna Noodles. No-boil lasagna noodles make this lasagna recipe so easy! Look for a box of a lasagna noodles that say something like oven-ready or no-boil. Otherwise, you will have to cook your noodles before adding the noodles with the rest of the ingredients. Please note: oven-ready/no-boil lasagna noodles are a seasonal item at ALDI. They are typically in-stock during the fall and winter and will leave the shelves during the spring and summer months.
- Minced garlic + salt & pepper. You can add a little minced garlic and salt and pepper to add some additional flavor to this dish.
Can you find all the ingredients to make Spinach and Meat Lasagna at Aldi?
Yes, Spinach and Meat Lasagna can be an all Aldi recipe! I purchase all of the ingredients to make Spinach and Beef Lasagna at Aldi. However, as I mentioned above, the oven-ready/no-boil lasagna noodles are a seasonal item at Aldi. The noodles are typically in-stock during the fall and winter and will leave the shelves during the spring and summer months.
How do you make Spinach and Beef Lasagna?
The Spinach and Beef Lasagna is fairly easy to make. It is even faster if you don't use ground beef. If you are using ground beef in Lasagna Florentine, the first step is to cook the meat all the way through.
Mix the ricotta cheese, egg, and spinach together with the ground beef (if using). It can be helpful to cook the spinach so it wilts down slightly. This makes it less bulky and easier to stir into the other ingredients.
Spread a little of the red pasta sauce onto the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. You want enough liquid on the bottom so the lasagna noodles won't burn or stick. Add a layer of no-boil lasagna noodles.
Spread half of the ricotta cheese, egg, spinach, and ground beef mixture onto the noodles. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese onto the mixture. Use about a cup of the pasta sauce before adding another layer of noddles. Repeat.
Make sure the top layer of no-boil noodles are lightly covered in pasta sauce. Otherwise, the noodles may dry out and not fully-cook. The spinach will release some liquid, but I always make sure the top layer of noodles have enough moisture.
Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil. Follow the no-boil lasagna noodle instruction for the appropriate cook time and temperature.
Do you have to cook lasagna noodles?
If you buy lasagna noodles that say oven-ready or no-boil on the packaging, you don't have to cook the lasagna noodles first. However, if you buy typical lasagna noodles, you will have to follow the package instructions and cook the noodles before assembling the Lasagna Florentine. Even when using oven-ready or no-boil lasagna noodles, it is important to make sure the noodles have enough liquid and have enough time to fully cook. Otherwise, the noodles will be chewy.
Can you freeze lasagna?
Yes, you can freeze lasagna! It is a fantastic meal to freeze. You can use a disposable baking tray. Simply follow the Spinach and Beef Lasagna recipe. Instead of putting the lasagna in the oven, you can simply freeze the entire lasagna in a disposable baking tray or other dish of choice. Make sure to wrap the lasagna in aluminum foil or plastic wrap so it doesn't get freezer burn. When you are ready to use the lasagna, you can put it in your refrigerator the day before or just be prepared to let the lasagna cook until it is heated through.
Can you use frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach in Lasagna Florentine?
You can use frozen spinach instead of fresh spinach in the Lasagna Florentine recipe, but fresh spinach is always preferred. The frozen spinach tends to have a stronger flavor. It also can be very watery, which has the tendency of making the lasagna very watery. If you must use frozen spinach, I recommend heating the frozen spinach, straining the extra liquid it produces, and even using a paper towel to lightly dab out additional liquid.
Spinach and Meat Lasagna
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 8 oz. bag fresh spinach
- 1 15 oz. ricotta
- 1 egg
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- 1 24 oz. jar traditional pasta sauce
- 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1 tsp. garlic minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Over a skillet on medium high, brown the ground beef until it is cooked through and there is no pink left.
- Season the ground beef with salt and pepper to taste. Add the minced garlic.
- Add the whole bag of fresh spinach to the meat. Lightly heat until the spinach begins to wilt.
- Stir the ricotta cheese and egg into the meat and spinach mixture until combined.
- Assemble the lasagna by spreading about ½ cup of the traditional pasta sauce onto the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Add a row of approximately 3-4 no-boil lasagna noodles. Add about ½ cup of the pasta sauce, followed by half of the meat mixture and topped with 1 cup of shredded mozzarella. Repeat.
- Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the lasagna noodles are soft. Let the lasagna rest for 10 minutes before serving.