Stovetop Lasagna for Busy Weeknights

Stovetop Lasagna

A good friend once joked with me in her kitchen, “80% store-bought, 20% homemade, 100% of the credit.” To continue our month of dinners that people actually make, here’s an easy take on classic lasagna. This dish takes just 35 minutes from start to finish, and is made on the stove with a handful of pre-made ingredients. Carla Snyder, author of One Pan, Whole Family, shows us how it’s done…

Stovetop Lasagna with Spinach
From Carla Snyder’s One Pan, Whole Family

The quest for weeknight meals usually leaves lasagna out of the game. Boiling noodles and cooking up sauce just isn’t on my radar on a hectic weeknight. But lasagna is something my kids would always eat, and to be honest, my husband and I are rather fond of it as well. So I came up with a lasagna made in a skillet, on the stove, no boiling of noodles or separate pot of sauce required. I use no-boil lasagna sheets (which are genius) and mix the ricotta cheese in with the meat and tomato mixture (I am genius), eliminating the big assembly. There’s a bag of spinach in there as well. The kids won’t even notice because they’ll be so busy gobbling it all up. Delicious lasagna with one-pan cleanup. I promise.

Recipe: Stovetop Lasagna with Spinach
Serves 4-6

You’ll need:

1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground meatloaf mix (beef, pork and veal)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 oz baby spinach
1 1/2 cups jar red marinara sauce
3/4 cup beef broth
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
Red pepper flakes (optional)
6 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

On a large cutting board, chop the onion and mince the garlic. Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and sauté until it begins to soften, about 1 minute. Add the garlic, meat loaf mix, 1 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Break the meat into small pieces with a spatula as it cooks. Cook until the meat is no longer pink.

Add the spinach in two batches, turning with tongs until it wilts, about 1 minute. Stir in the sauce, broth, ricotta cheese and red pepper flakes. Stir and bring to a boil. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt, pepper or pepper flakes. Remove from the heat.

Transfer two-thirds of the meat mixture to a medium bowl. Lay three of the noodles in the pan, breaking them up to fit so it covers the sauce left in the pan. Cover with half the sauce and the remaining three noodles. Top with the remaining sauce, pushing the noodles down into the sauce so that they are covered. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cover and return the pan to medium-low or low heat. Simmer until the noodles are tender, about 15 minutes.

Serve hot and sprinkle with basil.

Thank you so much, Carla! Your new cookbook is awesome.

P.S. More recipes, including linguini with zucchini and 5-ingredient lemon chicken.

(Reprinted from One Pan, Whole Family by Carla Snyder with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018. Thanks to Franny Eremin for helping with this series.)

  1. SP says...

    This was really good. A little soupy, but we all really like it!

  2. Fabiola Bailey says...

    I made this last night and it was sooooo good and easy that I will definitely be making this lasagna a regular meal for my family. Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. This looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it

  4. Jessica says...

    I made this last night and it was so good and very easy! I doubled the recipe which was enough for 4 adults with some leftovers for the next day.

  5. Meg says...

    I love the idea of a quick & easy weeknight lasagna — definitely going to give this one a try!

  6. I was just talking to a friend who said she always wanted to make lasagna but was intimidated. I was like, “How do you not know about no-boil noodles?” I’m going to send this to her. Thank you!

  7. I’m definitely going to have to try making this!! It looks delicious and we’ll have to try it soon.

  8. Naureen says...

    Has anyone made this without the ricotta or without any cheese at all? Or have another lasagna recipe without cheese?

    • nadine says...

      hi Naureen! I’m italian and my favorite food to prepare is lasagne :) If you want to go dairy free I think you can just skip the cheese. If you want some crunchiness on the top I’d put just a little bit of bread crumbs.

    • Marika says...

      I make a dairy-free ricotta with either crumbled tofu or soaked and blended cashews. Seasoned with salt, olive oil, lemon juice and herbs it makes a pretty good substitute. in the filling. Enjoy!

  9. Brit says...

    The pan in this picture is really cute. Can you link?

    • Abby says...

      Yes please! Would also fit my other kitchen supplies really well <3

  10. Brooke says...

    Any suggestions on how to make this vegetarian…or at least non-red meat?

    • Carolyn says...

      Maybe eggplant instead? And/or zucchini?

    • You could just leave out the meat. The cheese provides some protein. or sub in scrambled, spiced tofu, mushrooms, mashes chickpeas or white beans, textured vegetable protein… Lots of options!

    • Cooper says...

      I’ve made vegetarian lasagna that used a blend of ricotta and tofu – that seems like it could work here and would add a nice protein boost!

    • Abby says...

      I second the Tofu. I have been a vegetarian 10 yrs+ and my trick is to use a fork and go with the flat side of it at the Tofu to resemble ground meat, marinating it a bit in oil and BBQ spices to give it more taste because it otherwise can taste bland. I do like a purely vegetarian lasagne too though. Usually I’ll use onions, mushrooms and zucchini or aubergines (depends on the company since aubergines can be divisive^^)

    • Andrea says...

      Use Crumbles. Works well in any recipe calling for ground meat.

    • Josie says...


  11. Andrea says...

    The way easier version of this is to get a box of Hamburger Helper.

    • Astrid says...

      my thoughts exactly, and that’s what I’m having for dinner tonight LOL. I don’t do it too often but HH always goes over big. A guilty pleasure

  12. Andrea says...

    yes! But boil noodles while everything is cooking and then you don’t even need to wait around for those to soften. Just broil for a few minutes to get the cheese on top to bubble a bit :)

  13. Claire says...

    Looks delicious, and I like the easy technique. I will probably give this a whirl. Thank you for sharing it.

  14. Love quick and easy recipes like this! Especially for those chaotic week nights!

    x Sofia

  15. Erin says...

    If you want to up your lasagna game, mix some pesto in with your ricotta. You’re welcome :)

    • Sarah says...

      This is true!

    • Mimi says...

      So true! I mixed a big tablespoon in with my marinara once and can hardly go back! So. Good.

    • Twinmommy says...

      That sounds delicious! I always mix in a thawed box of frozen chopped spinach to the ricotta but I’ll have to try this next time!

  16. Jessica says...

    Ah I feel like it’s WAY easier to make lasagna! All you need is:
    -box of no-boil lasagna noodles (most are now no-boil)
    -jar of fave sauce (I use Trader Joe’s Autumn Harvest sauce — we buy it in bulk in the fall.)
    -spinach or other veggies
    -1 package shredded mozzarella
    -1 container ricotta (whole milk is REMARKABLY better)
    -1 egg
    -1 8x8ish pan (I use 8×8 pyrex, but you do you — this recipe is flexible!)
    Mix egg, ricotta, and lots of mozz (don’t use all of it — you’ll need enough left over to cover the top) in a bowl. Pour a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the pan, then make a single later of the uncooked noodles, then add a layer of the cheese mixture, then a layer of veggies, then a layer of sauce. Continue layering until you get to the top of the pan, then sprinkle/cover/smother the top of mozz. Put in the oven on 350 until the cheese is bronze and crispy and delicious looking, about 45 mins (again, flexible!). It is INSANELY delicious.

    I can’t rave enough about this recipe. Trust me.


    • Nina says...

      sounds yum, will need to try this.

    • Sasha L says...

      This is exactly what I do! Takes almost no time at all to assemble.

      I also do a *pasta bake* that is really similar. Cook any shape pasta (penne, rigatoni, spirals), mix with favorite jar of sauce, layer in baking dish: pasta/sauce, ricotta mixed with an egg, mozzarella, repeat, end with mozzarella on top, bake. It’s all the goodness but little fuss. Can add pesto, veggies, Greek olives, whatever suits your fancy.

    • Jessica says...

      Sasha, yes I do the same!! Both are so easy and SOOO good! And perfect for fall!

  17. Amy says...

    I make something I call “Lasagna Soup”. Aka lazy lasagna.
    Brown beef or breakfast sausage (or just leave out) with diced onions and zucchini. (If using beef I throw in some garlic and onion powder and salt) When meat brown and veges soft, add in pasta sauce and cottage cheese. Serve in bowls with Parmesan cheese on top. We actually prefer this to “real” lasagna now.

    • Eloise says...

      I don’t care for cottage cheese, but figure ricotta would work….

  18. This looks so tasty!! I’m a big fan of lasagna and would love to make this at my next dinner party!!

  19. KL says...

    I love the idea! (Although, there is more to clean than the one pan, even though she promised!) Thanks for the share!

    • Louisa says...

      I interpreted the “only one pan” to mean: “there are not two (or more) pans”! Not to imply that you could eat this with your fingers ;) or make without a bowl.

    • Sasha L says...

      Thanks for the veggie version Zoe!!! Perfect for cooler days to come.