When your to-do list is long and you’ve got a hungry family to feed, it’s tempting to order takeout! But before you grab the phone, consider this Easy Skillet Lasagna instead. With jumbled up ‘layers’ of lean ground beef, curly lasagna noodles, vegetables, and cheese it’s a hearty and wholesome meal the entire family will love.
This post was created in partnership with the Minnesota Beef Council.
Skillet Lasagna – also known as the most delicious shortcut.
Everyone loves a well-crafted lasagna artfully crafted with layers of noodles, slow-simmered meat sauce, and hand-grated cheeses but let’s be realistic, not everyone has time for that kind of cooking. We see you there, nodding your head in agreement!
That’s why we’ve partnered with our friends at the Minnesota Beef Council to bring you this fabulously easy yet incredibly delicious Skillet Lasagna. It’s made all in one pan so clean up is a breeze, and the prep time is under 20 minutes so you can have a hearty, home-cooked meal on the table in under 45 minutes any day of the week.
What You’ll Need to Make Stovetop Lasagna
- Lean Ground Beef – A 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides more than 10 essential nutrients including protein, iron, zinc, and vitamins B12 and B6 making it a smart choice for family-friendly meals like this one
- Bell pepper
- Marinara sauce – Use your favorite jarred marinara or pasta (we LOVE this one)
- Uncooked lasagna noodles – Skip the ‘No-Boil’ noodles and opt for good ol’ lasagna noodles (both gluten-free and wheat-based noodles will work)
- Cottage cheese – Ricotta cheese will also work but cottage cheese is easy to find in any grocery store and is budget-friendly
- Mozzarella cheese
- Fresh basil
- Large skillet with lid – A skillet with a heavy-bottom and tight-fitting lid, like this 3.6-quart enameled cast-iron casserole – works really well for this recipe. You’ll need a skillet that’s about 12-inches in diameter for best results.
3 Reasons to Make this Easy Lasagna Recipe
In case you need some convincing (beyond that saucy-cheesy goodness that just screams ‘comfort food’) here are a few reasons to make this easy lasagna recipe this week:
- It’s packed with protein. High-quality protein, like that found in beef, plays an increasingly important role in muscle maintenance, weight management, and the prevention of chronic diseases. Research also shows the iron, zinc, and B vitamins found in beef play an essential role in developing and maintaining cognitive ability in children and adults alike.
- It’s faster and far less labor-intensive to make than traditional lasagna. While delicious, traditional lasagna requires layering the ingredients into a casserole dish, then baking for 45 minutes or longer. Our easy skillet lasagna is made all in one pan and you can have it on the table in under 45 minutes with just ONE PAN and ONE spatula to wash. Amazing, really.
- Your family will LOVE it! And you’ll love that it’s a healthy meal that will leave your crew satisfied and nourished.
How to Make this Skillet Lasagna Recipe
Making lasagna in a skillet is definitely the way to go. You need only one pan and one spatula or spoon to pull it off. We like to call it the ‘lazy genius’ method of lasagna making. Here’s how it’s done to give you an idea of just how easy it is. The full recipe is below so if you’re already like, “Heck yes, I’m in!” then scroll down to get the recipe.
First, start by placing a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid (this one is our go-to skillet for just about everything). When the skillet is hot, add a little oil along with the ground beef, diced zucchini, onions, and bell peppers, Italian seasoning, and garlic. That’s right, just put it all in there and break it up with a spoon. Then cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is almost cooked through.
Next, you’ll add a jar of your favorite marinara plus some water to the skillet along with the beef and vegetables. Then crank the heat up a bit to bring the sauce just to a boil.
Once the sauce has come to a boil, use your hands to break the lasagna pieces into roughly 2-inch pieces (no need to be super precise) and add to the pan. Stir the noodles into the sauce, then place the lid on the skillet and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so to keep the noodles from sticking together, or until the noodles are tender.
This is where it gets really good, the part where you add the cheese. Stir the cottage cheese and half of the shredded mozzarella cheese into the noodles. Cook an additional 5 minutes uncovered.
Finally, add the remaining mozzarella cheese to the top, place the lid on the skillet and remove from heat. Allow the lasagna to stand for 5 minutes while the sauce thickens and the cheese melts. Remove the lid and if desired, place the skillet under the broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes to crisp up the cheese. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.
How to Serve this Incredibly Easy Lasagna
The first that comes to mind when we think of lasagna is salad and garlic bread, but sautéed or roasted green beans or broccoli also make a delicious addition to your plate.
How to Store Skillet Lasagna
Any leftover lasagna can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
More Family-Pleasing Beef Recipes You’ll Love
- Sheet Pan Mini Meatloaf with Vegetables
- Healthy Taco Hotdish
- Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup
- Slow Cooker BBQ Beef with Simple Coleslaw
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground beef (we use 90-93%)
- 1 medium zucchini, diced small (¼-inch)
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced small (¼-inch)
- 1 small onion, diced small (¼-inch)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce of your choice
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- 1 ½ cups water
- 8 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into small pieces
- 1 cup cottage cheese, lightly drained if there is a lot of liquid (may substitute part-skim ricotta cheese)
- 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese (1 cup)
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish
- Place a 12-inch skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add ground beef, zucchini, bell pepper, onions, and garlic. Use a spoon or spatula to break up the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until onions and peppers start to soften and beef is almost cooked through. Drain excess fat if there is quite a bit in the pan.
- Add marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, and water to the skillet with the meat and veggie mixture and bring to a boil.
- Add the broken lasagna noodles and stir. Reduce heat to low and place the lid on the skillet.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, or until the noodles are tender.
- Remove the lid and stir in the cottage cheese and ½ cup mozzarella cheese. Stir and cook for an additional 5 minutes uncovered.
- Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup mozzarella cheese. Remove the skillet from the heat and allow it to stand, covered, for 5 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken. Broil for 3-5 minutes, if desired, to crisp up the cheese then garnish with chopped fresh basil, if desired.
- Serving Size: 1/6 recipe
- Calories: 425
- Sugar: 6 g
- Sodium: 750 mg
- Fat: 16 g
- Saturated Fat: 6 g
- Carbohydrates: 43 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 31 g
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This post was made possible by our friends at the Minnesota Beef Council. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you.
All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!
Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.
About Jessica Beacom
Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.