Whether you need an easy weeknight dinner idea or a new recipe to wow guests at a holiday gathering, these cheesy spinach lasagna roll ups fit the bill! You can even make them ahead and freeze, so you can enjoy them any time…
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I don’t know how it is for you, but the holiday season is a total whirlwind in our house. We’re talking from mid-November right through the first of the year. So easy recipes that can double as party food are top of mind for me right now — like these fun cheesy spinach lasagna roll ups!
In addition to the three kinds of cheese and bright and zingy marinara sauce, this recipe has so much going for it. It’s easy to make (you can even make it ahead and freeze), it uses simple ingredients, and it’s just as perfect on a weeknight as it is at a holiday gathering. AND (most importantly) my kids LOVE it! Seriously, they were lining up to taste test before I even pulled them from the oven.
But let’s just talk about the holiday gathering aspect for a moment… Pasta is such an unexpected dish during the holiday season (when most are thinking turkey or ham), but I can guarantee these delectable individual lasagna roll ups will disappear in a flash. In a sea of holiday decadence, it’s always nice to belly up to the buffet and spot something new and different (and maybe a little lighter) on the menu. Preparing them in little ramekins offers instant portion control, as well as making this dish easy to serve.
Simple pasta dishes call for quality ingredients. But quality ingredients shouldn’t have to mean going out of your way to find specialty ingredients! Which I why I created this recipe with ingredients that can be picked up at your local Walmart…
Barilla has long been my go to choice in pasta, and their lasagna sheets are no exception. They cook up perfectly, with minimal tearing, which is important when making these roll ups. I also opted to use Barilla Marinara Sauce, because I wanted these spinach lasagna roll ups to be an easy, yet impressive, dish that you can make on the spur of the moment.
For the cheese, I used both Galbani Ricotta Fresca and Mozzarella Fresca (fresh mozzarella). Their delicious fresh cheeses are definitely the gold standard for Italian cooking! Good cheese is essential for a really good lasagna, and Galbani’s genuine Italian taste keeps me coming back for more. You’ll notice a 16-ounce log of mozzarella log pictured above, but you really only need about half that for these roll ups. So pick up an 8-ounce ball — unless you have a use for the remainder. Just sayin’, slicing it up and eating it as is, is never a bad thing…
How To Make Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups
First things first… You have to boil the lasagna. Just follow the directions on the Barilla package and they should turn out perfectly al dente. Don’t overcook them — overcooking leads to mushiness and tearing. The lasagna will continue to bake in the oven, so it’s okay if they’re slightly undercooked.
While the lasagna sheets are cooking, you can mix up the filling. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the Galbani Ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, one egg, a teaspoon of Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and set aside for a moment to prepare the ramekins.
Having everything set up assembly-line style really helps speed the rolling process, so I like to have the filling and ramekins ready to go when the lasagna is done. You’ll need about 18 ramekins per box of lasagna and one batch of filling. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of Barilla Marinara Sauce into each ramekin, and line them up on two rimmed baking sheets.
Assembling Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups
If you’ve already prepared the filling and the ramekins, the actual rolling of these spinach roll ups is a breeze. Lay out 18 sheets of lasagna and spread about three tablespoons of the filling on each sheet from end to end. This doesn’t have to be a super thick layer, because it will be compounded as you roll them up. Then simply start rolling from one end to the other until you have a neat little roll up.
Set each roll up in a prepared ramekin, and then spoon another tablespoon of sauce over it. Lay a thin slice of Galbani Mozzarella Fresca on top, and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly. I like the edges of the lasagna to get a little crispy, so I don’t cover them, but if you prefer softer lasagna, cover the whole baking sheet with foil while baking.
I should note that if you’re not serving these roll ups immediately (or if they’re sitting out at a buffet), you might want to consider swapping shredded mozzarella cheese for the fresh mozzarella. The stretchy melted texture of mozzarella fresca hot out of the oven is like no other, but as it cools it can become a bit tough to cut through with just a fork. And you wouldn’t want guests to end up with sauce down the front of them, right? No worries, though — these spinach lasagna roll ups are delicious with either!
Make Ahead Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups
One last thing before I share the recipe, these spinach lasagna roll ups can be made ahead early in the day and then baked right before guests arrive. You can also make them ahead and freeze them — just add some extra cooking time to allow for baking them from frozen.
And if you’re not into individual servings, you can prepare the whole batch in a single 9×13″ baking dish. Just spread half of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the baking dish, lay all of the roll ups in it, cover them with the rest of the marinara and cheese, and bake for about 30 minutes. Again, when they cheese is melted and the sauce if bubbly, you know they’re done.
These lasagna roll ups are an awesome weeknight dinner since the baking time is less than a full lasagna. Just add a simple side salad (or maybe this Italian chopped salad) and this super easy garlic bread!