Lasagna roll ups are a fun twist and alternative way to prepare traditional lasagna. All the favorite flavors of classic lasagna, hearty meat sauce and ricotta cheese mixture rolled up in tender lasagna noodles make this a delicious comfort food twist the whole family loves!
The ingredients are essentially the same in a traditional lasagna and lasagna roll ups. Roll ups are a bit more labor intensive to put together as well. They are perfect for a party or gatherings, when portion size is key or just for a change.
The individual servings are perfect for busy weeknights because they can be made ahead of time too!!
The roll ups soften while they cook so are no different than taking a bite of a square of lasagna. The filling doesn’t squeeze out everywhere. They emerge from the oven with everything melted, soft and ready to eat! Add some garlic bread and a green salad and dinner is served.
Why make Lasagna Roll Ups?
Lasagna Roll Ups do take a bit more time to assemble than traditional lasagna. BUT they are perfect single portions great for dinner parties, gatherings or when portion control or individual portions is key. Plus they are a fun way to change up regular lasagna but still keep the favorite flavors.
The recipe makes 15 roll ups.
Recipe Ingredient Notes
Lasagna noodles. You’ll need about 15 lasagna noodles. We recommend a few extra incase any break when rolling. They can be regular or gluten-free. For making lasagna roll ups gluten-free we’ve used Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagna Noodles.
Mozzarella cheese. One pound (16 ounces) of mozzarella cheese is used. Shred the cheese yourself for best melting.
Ricotta Cheese. You’ll use one 15-ounce container of either whole milk or part skim ricotta cheese.
Parmesan cheese. Two cups are used. Shred this yourself from a block of parmesan cheese for best melting. A wedge or block will be sold with other cheese. Do not use pre-shredded in a bag or the Kraft type parmesan in the green cylinder.
Frozen chopped spinach. One 10-ounce package is used. Thaw and drain it then pat it dry to absorb excess moisture before starting the recipe.
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil. Used to sauté onion and garlic.
Yellow onion. Half a medium yellow onion chopped.
Garlic cloves. Two medium cloves, peeled and diced add great garlic flavor.
Ground meat. We made this version with ground beef but ground turkey, ground chicken or ground beef can be used. You’ll need 1 pound. If using ground beef we suggest 90 % fat free.
Pasta sauce. One 25-ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce or marinara sauce is used. Roasted Tomato flavors are delicious. Homemade pasta sauce can be substituted.
Crushed red pepper flakes. This brightens the flavor without making it spicy.
How to Make Meat Lasagna Roll Ups
This is a highlight of the main steps with images for guidance. For the complete instructions please reference the printable recipe card at the end of the post.
1.Make the filling. Combine all the filling ingredients together and set aside.
2. Make the Sauce. Sauté the onion and garlic. Cook the ground meat and add the sauce to simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Boil the lasagna noodles.
The noodles are boiled until slightly underdone to prepare for filling and rolling them. The actual time will depend on the instructions for the noodles you are using.
4. Prepare the roll ups. Spoon one third of the sauce into a baking dish and spread cover the bottom of the dish. Place 1/3 cup of the ricotta mixture onto a noodle; spread the filling to cover the full noodle. Gently roll the noodle up and place on top of the sauce in the pan (see photo below).
5. Bake. Place all the roll ups in the baking dish (photo above and below), cover with remaining sauce and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through. Remove foil and allow to cook uncovered a few additional minutes to allow the cheese on top to become golden.
- Add some ground Italian sausage. For even more flavor use 1/2 pound ground Italian sausage and 1/2 pound ground beef.
- Add some Italian seasoning. Depending on the pasta sauce you use adding one teaspoon of Italian seasoning boosts the wonderful Italian flavor.
- For a lighter calorie dish: use ground turkey or ground turkey sausage. Ground turkey sausage is available in Italian flavor which would be a great addition!
Al dente noodles is key. Slightly undercooking the noodles allows they to be more easily handled for rolling (otherwise they can be slippery and rip easily). They’ll finish cooking in the oven.
How to store
Store cooked lasagna roll ups in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave before serving.
How to make ahead
There are two ways to make this recipe ahead of time:
- Follow the recipe through baking.
- Allow the baked roll ups to cool to room temperature.
- Cover the baking dish with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate OR store individual roll ups in glass containers.
- When ready to eat, reheat in the microwave until warmed through. Extra cheese can be added on top if desired.
Store before baking
- Follow the recipe preparation to assemble the baking dish of roll-ups but do not bake
- Cover with foil (tightly) and refrigerate overnight OR place in the freezer for up to 3 months
- Bake the refrigerated lasagna rollups fat 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes until full warmed through. When baking from frozen bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
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Meat Lasagna Roll Ups
- 1 pound (16 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach thawed, drained and patted dry with a paper towel if excessively wet
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 medium garlic cloves peeled and diced
- 16 ounces (1 pound) ground meat turkey, chicken or beef; your preference
- 1 25-ounce jar prepared pasta sauce any pasta sauce of preference
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- 15 lasagna noodles plus a few extras* (regular or gluten-free)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with a silpat or foil (work area to roll the filled lasagna). Fill a large stock pot (minimum 4.5 quarts) with water and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil.
- While water is heating, in a large mixing bowl combine the mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the parmesan cheese, spinach, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.1 pound (16 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese, 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese, 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil, add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent; 3-4 minutes. Add the ground meat and brown until no pink is visible. Pour in the sauce and allow to simmer on low for 5 minutes. Stir in the crushed red pepper flakes if using.2 teaspoons olive oil, ½ medium yellow onion, 2 medium garlic cloves, 16 ounces (1 pound) ground meat, 1 25-ounce jar prepared pasta sauce, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- Spoon 1/3 of the sauce evenly on the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Reserve the remaining sauce to top the roll ups before baking.
Preparing the lasagna noodles
- Add 1/3 or ½ of the noodles to the boiling water and allow to cook until slightly underdone (e.g. the noodles I used call to cook for 13-14 minutes and I cooked them 10 minutes); they should be pliable but not yet edible consistency. Remove from the boiling water with a slotted spoon or strainer allowing any excess water to drain back into the pot. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet.Allow to sit 30 seconds or until they can be handled comfortably. Using a paper towel, dab up any excess water on the baking sheet.15 lasagna noodles
- Place 1/3 cup of the filling onto a noodle; spread the filling to cover the full noodle. Gently roll the noodle up and place on top of the sauce in the baking sheet. Note: Place 3 roll ups end to end across the pan and 5 lengthwise; fill the pan in this pattern. Refer to photos.
- Once the pan is filled, top evenly with the remaining sauce and the 1 cup Parmesan cheese.
- Spray one side of aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray and seal the over the baking dish (sprayed side facing the lasagna roll ups). Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and cooked through. Remove foil and allow to cook uncovered a few additional minutes to allow the cheese on top to become golden.
- Cheese: shred the cheese yourself at home. Though store-bought shredded cheese is convenient it contains an anti-caking agent that both prevents it from sticking together in the package but also prohibits it from melting together when cooked.
- Gluten-free lasagna noodles: I consistently use Tinkyada Brown Rice Lasagna with great success. I’ve also used DeBoles brand however have not tried it for this recipe.
Originally published: March 1, 2016