Homemade Italian Lasagna rolls packed with fresh vegetables and zesty tomato sauce!
If there is one meal that puts a smile on my family’s face, it’s lasagna night! Piping hot pasta noodles stuffed with melty cheese and topped with delicious tomato sauce gets me every time. I enjoy making pasta from scratch since I’ve received some great training from my Italian mother-in-law over the years, but there’s not always time on those busy weekdays.
I’ve found some helpful cooking shortcuts to get you that beautiful plate of pasta faster, but without compromising on taste. Plus there are nutritious vegetables in each bite, win for all! This recipe for Italian lasagna rolls is a quick and tasty way to a wholesome meal that everyone will rave about.
You may be wondering, why rolls instead of the traditional lasagna layers? Rolls are easier to fill and eat! They are just the right portion size, so you don’t have to “eyeball” each serving. It’s also a brilliant and safe way to get the kids to help you in the kitchen and enjoy the process of cooking alongside you.
So what’s in the filling? A powerhouse of kale, zucchini, and spinach; 5 whole cups of vegetable goodness! I lightly saute the vegetables before I fill, to soften and remove some of the water that would be released when cooking. This is a superb time to season the filling right before rolling, don’t forget to taste!
To make these lasagna rolls quick and ready to rock on the dinner table with ease, I choose canned tomatoes as my handy go-to products. For this recipe, I use crushed tomatoes and paste for the sauce base. The vine-ripened tomatoes are naturally sweet, creating a flavorful, thick and delicious sauce.
I reduced the typical grease overload by using low-fat ricotta cheese and just the right amount of mozzarella and parmesan for flavor and melt. The best part of this meal is you can get to this step of filling, rolling and topping, then cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.
This is perfect when you need to meal prep in advance and just reheat. A homemade meal that’s hot and ready in less than 30 minutes sounds like a great plan!
I want to show you a cool kitchen hack tip that I learned in culinary school. It’s peeling a fresh tomato in under a minute! You simply score the bottom of the tomato with an “X” and blanch it in super hot water for about 20 seconds.
Cool quickly in an ice bath, and they’re ready to peel. You can dice them to use in the tomato basil topping for this lasagna roll recipe, or diced tomatoes can be used if you’re super strapped for time.
Pasta night will never be the same after you’ve tried these delicious Italian lasagna rolls! A healthier version of your favorite comfort food right at home, without the stress. What is your favorite pasta dish? I’d love to hear how you make dinner meals memorable in the comments section below!
How do I use tomato paste in cooking?
Tomato paste typically consists of ripened tomatoes that have been simmered down and then strained to give a very thick and concentrated ingredient. Some pastes already add seasonings like salt, or aromatics like garlic, basil or oregano to infuse more flavor. You only need a small amount of tomato paste to thicken a sauce for spaghetti. It adds a natural sweetness and a more intense tomato flavor, especially if using fresh tomatoes that are not at their peak ripeness. Tomato paste is also great for bases of soups like minestrone or in a hearty slow cooker pork chili. I recommend starting with 1 tablespoon, then gradually adding a tablespoon at a time until the desired richness is achieved.
Homemade Italian Lasagna Rolls with Vegetables
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 3 ounces tomato paste, (4 tablespoons)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, or ½ teaspoon fresh, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 8 lasagna noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 2 cups baby kale, roughly chopped
- 1 cup zucchini, grated
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese, low-fat, (15 ounces)
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
- 1 pinch nutmeg, grated, (optional)
- 2 tablespoons parsley, minced, for garnish
Tomato Basil Topping-
- 1 cup tomatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 tablespoons basil, thinly sliced
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Sauté onion and garlic until onions are translucent, 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir well. Add crushed tomatoes, oregano and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, covered with a lid with one side left slightly open. Season tomato sauce with salt and pepper, plus more to taste as needed. Meanwhile, make the lasagna rolls.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13” x 9” x 2” baking dish.
- Cook lasagna noodles in salted boiling water according to package directions. Cook a few extra noodles in case they break. Drain noodles and quickly lay out on a clean towel to dry and cool down.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add spinach, kale and zucchini. Saute until vegetables are wilted, about 3 minutes. Combine vegetable mixture with 1 1/2 cups ricotta, 1/3 cup parmesan, ⅔ cup mozzarella, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Taste filling and add more seasoning as needed.
- Spread 3-4 tablespoons of filling over the length of each noodle (8 total). Leave about an ½ inch of space at the end of the noodle so the cheese does not come out at the end as you roll. Roll the noodles from bottom to top, not too tight. Place in greased pan side by side touching. Pour about 1 cup tomato sauce evenly over the rolls and sprinkle the remaining ⅓ cup mozzarella over the top.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until heated through and sauce is bubbling.
Tomato Basil Topping-
- Combine the diced tomato and basil together in a small bowl. Serve lasagna rolls topped with the tomato basil topping and garnish with chopped parsley.
2) There will be plenty of extra sauce to serve on the side. My family loves sauce for dipping bread!
3) You can use whole wheat, whole grain or gluten free lasagna noodles if you want a healthier pasta or have special dietary needs.