Time for another round of freezer meal ideas. Lasagna seems like a perfect freezer-friendly option to me for one main reason: It’s a pain in the butt to put together so you might as well make two while you’re at it. 🙂
It’s kind of fun too, like playing with your food as you assemble the layers. But I don’t usually put this much work into every dinner we make at home, so getting what basically amounts to four meals out of one hour long cooking session is pretty efficient.
What I love about this version is it has a meaty mushroom sauce that doesn’t actually have any meat in it. It’s pretty yummy. Also, I like my lasagna to be cheesy but not overly so. Sometimes I think lasagna can be over the top carbs and cheese as a meal, which can feel too heavy. This recipe has all the comfort of a classic lasagna but it’s a bit lighter, especially if you consider that each of the two pans we’ll be making can easily serve four or even five along with a salad or vegetable side dish.
Have I convinced you yet? Still skeptical? Well let’s just make some lasagna together and see if I can win you over.
For the sauce:
1/4 cup chopped red onion
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
8 oz. chopped baby bello mushrooms
2/3 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
28 oz. can whole stewed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
generous seasoning with salt and pepper
16 oz. lasagna noodles (one package)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1-2 tablespoons pasta water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley and/or basil (plus more for serving)
1/2 cup dusty Parmesan cheese
*For my pans I used one 8 inch round cast iron pan and for the freezer version one 8×5.5 inch aluminum foil pan. There are probably a few different sized baking dishes you could use for this recipe, but I wanted to share what I used so you have an idea of how much this will make (you can also see in the photos).
For the sauce, sauté the chopped onion and olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium/high heat until softened, 3-4 minutes. Then toss in the garlic, mushrooms and TVP. As the mushrooms release moisture, the TVP will begin to absorb some of it. This is a good thing! Season with soy sauce, cumin, cayenne and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. You can especially feel free to be generous with the pepper because I think this helps with the “meaty” flavor we are going for here. Drain the tomatoes from most of their juices (the can juices). Pulse these in a blender or food processor. You don’t want a perfectly smooth texture, more of rough chop. Add this to the pan and cook until everything is warmed through. Set aside until you need.
In a large bowl blend together the mozzarella, cream cheese, pasta water (to thin out the cream cheese a little) and parsley.
Now you are ready to layer your lasagna. I do a layer of noodles, then the mushroom sauce, then crumbled cheese filling, and then repeat. The top layer should be mushroom sauce over noodles topped with the Parmesan cheese. Remember that we are making two pans with the above measurements, so divide everything up accordingly.
Label your freezer lasagna and tuck it away in your freezer. On the day you plan to bake it, move it from the freezer to the refrigerator the morning of so it can thaw out (or mostly thaw out) before baking.
For the lasagna you are ready to bake now, cook at 375°F for 25-28 minutes. The edges should begin to brown and there will likely be some bubbles along the edges.
Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.