This is an old recipe for lasagna rolls that I have been making for so many years that I have lost count. The original inspiration for this recipe actually came from the first cookbook I ever owned. I received a Pasta Light cookbook from my sister in law when I was a freshman in college. I used that book so much that none if it is even legible, but some of the recipes I either memorized and most often used as an inspiration for a new recipe. These rolls are an example of that inspiration. This has all of the flavors of lasagna but it is not as heavy and it is quicker to make. These rolls work well as a make ahead meal because they can be prepped, stuffed, rolled and either frozen for later use or simply refrigerated and paired with sauce, then baked that evening. You can also use your favorite marinara recipe or use jarred sauce in place of the sauce that this recipe calls for. I typically make my marinara in large batches and will often use that instead of what is in this recipe, but this works in a pinch because the sauce is part of the dish. What I love about this dish is that it is so easily customizable. It can easily be made gluten-free by using gluten-free lasagna noodles. In this recipe, I am using whole grain lasagna noodles, but whatever you have on hand works just fine. Additionally, the ham can be omitted for an amazing meat free dish.
When paired with a simple mixed salad and a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, this meal becomes effortlessly elegant.
Below is a quick time lapse of how to put this together.
- 8 lasagna noodles
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 3 oz thinly sliced smoked ham
- 1 14½ oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
- Fresh herbs (parsley, basil) for topping
- Heat a large pot of water to boiling and cook the lasagna noodles until al dente. Transfer to a bowl of water to prevent sticking.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray an 11x17 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil until hot but not smoking over low to medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently until the onion has softened, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until the spinach is heated through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cool slightly. Stir in the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, pepper and egg until well combined.
- Lay the noodles flat and lay the ham strips, then follow with about 3 T of the spinach mixture on top of each and thightly roll up each noodle. Place the rolls, seam-sides down, in the prepared baking dish.
- Spoon the tomatoes with their juices and the tomato sauce around the lasagna rolls, cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 minutes longer, or until the sauce is bubbly and the filling is hot. Place 2 rolls per plate, spoon some sauce over and sprinkle with parsley and additional Parmesan if desired.