What’s not to love about lasagna? It’s one of our favorite comfort foods, featuring layers after layers of rich sauce smothered in a blanket of cheese. Unfortunately, it’s not necessarily easy to make. The long sheets of noodles require par-boiling, and layering the different components can create a bit of a mess.
That’s where our 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna comes in. We created a brilliant shortcut, using cheese-filled ravioli instead of flat pasta. They make it so much easier to build the lasagna, and — as a bonus — you can use them straight out of the freezer. Since they’re already filled with cheese, you won’t need to add ricotta or cottage cheese to your lasagna, shortening the list of ingredients to just five.
We added beef to this recipe because it makes the dish more filling, but you can absolutely modify the recipe to use ground turkey instead. Or, skip it altogether: Leaving out the beef turns this into a 4-ingredient lasagna recipe that’s vegetarian-friendly and perfect for meatless Monday.
Gather the ingredients for this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna
Our 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna recipe is one of the easiest lasagnas we’ve ever made! To make it, you’ll need two cups of shredded mozzarella and a ten-ounce bag of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry. Then, grab a 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce. You can use any spaghetti sauce from the store or swap-in homemade tomato sauce if you prefer. Finally, pick up a 25-ounce package of frozen ravioli. We used cheese ravioli, but you can use spinach, beef, sausage, or any other variety of your choosing.
The only ingredient that needs to be cooked before you build the lasagna is an optional ingredient — ground beef, which makes the lasagna meaty and more filling. If you skip the beef, everything can be made straight out of the freezer or refrigerator.
How do you substitute fresh for frozen spinach in this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna recipe?
The easiest way to make this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna recipe is to use frozen spinach. We recommend buying a few bags and keeping them on hand in the freezer. Frozen spinach keeps for months, and it’s actually healthier than fresh spinach because the freezing process preserves the nutrients (via Spoon University).
Of course, you can absolutely use fresh spinach if you prefer. You’ll need to grab a pound of spinach to equal the 10-ounce bag in the recipe. Baby spinach can be cooked straight away, but you’ll want to roughly chop whole leaf spinach before getting started. Then, add a tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the spinach to the pan and cook until it’s wilted, about three minutes. Drain any excess liquid before adding it to the lasagna.
Do you have to boil frozen ravioli to make this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna?
The best part about this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna is the pasta doesn’t need to be pre-cooked. It can be added to the pan straight from the freezer! Cooking long sheets of pasta and layering them in the pan is one of our least favorite parts of making lasagna. It’s time-consuming, and it always makes more of a mess than we anticipate.
In this recipe, the oven’s heat and the liquid in the marinara sauce are all the ravioli need to soften and cook through. Covering the pan with aluminum foil also traps the heat inside the casserole dish, helping the frozen filling thaw and warm through.
Shred the cheese for this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna
If you’re looking to save time on this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna recipe, you can absolutely buy a bag of pre-shredded mozzarella cheese. It’s undoubtedly easier to do it this way, but we always prefer shredding the cheese ourselves. For starters, a block of mozzarella cheese is less expensive than the pre-shredded stuff at our local grocery store, so we save money by doing it ourselves. We’ve found that freshly shredded cheese melts better than the store-bought stuff, too.
Block cheese also doesn’t have the same preservatives you’ll find in store-bought shredded cheese. Most brands add anti-clumping agents like cellulose to keep the cheese from sticking together. We’d rather skip those ingredients, so we shred our mozzarella by hand.
Shredding cheese can be time-consuming with a box grater, so don’t be afraid to use your food processor. You can use the shredding attachment or spray the blades with nonstick spray to keep the cheese from sticking.
Cook the beef to make this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna more filling
Beef is an optional ingredient in this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna, but we love adding it because it makes the dish more filling. You don’t have to use beef, either. You can swap in Italian sausage, ground turkey or chicken, or a mixture of ground beef, pork, and veal. If you would use it to make meatballs or meatloaf, it will taste great in this lasagna.
Start by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef to the pan and cook until it’s browned through, about five minutes. Use a spoon to stir the mixture from time to time to promote even heating and break up the larger chunks. When the beef is cooked, remove it from the heat and drain any excess grease.
Layer the ingredients to make this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna
Part of what makes lasagna so good is the different layers. Each layer has a unique texture, and they all come together to create the perfect bite. While you could just throw everything together and bake it in a casserole dish, this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna is more interesting if you create those layers first.
Start by spreading a half-cup of the marinara sauce in a three-quart baking dish. This liquid barrier will help keep the ravioli from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Then, place a layer of frozen cheese ravioli on top of the sauce and top it with half of the cooked ground beef (if using), spinach, marinara sauce, and shredded mozzarella cheese. Finally, repeat the layers, finishing with the cheese on top.
Bake this 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna for 30 to 45 minutes
When the layers of your 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna are complete, cover the dish with aluminum foil. This will help to trap the heat inside the dish, making sure the center of those frozen ravioli reaches the proper temperature. Bake the lasagna in an oven preheated at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes, until it’s heated through, the sauce is bubbling, and the cheese is melted.
To create a browned appearance on the top layer of cheese, remove the foil for the last ten minutes. If you’re using a broiler-safe baking dish, you can also place the lasagna under the broiler for three to five minutes to brown the cheese instead. Before serving, let the lasagna sit for five minutes. It will be so much easier to scoop out each serving without the layers falling apart.
How to serve 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna
This 5-ingredient spinach and ravioli lasagna is filling — especially if you added the optional ground beef! Our 25-ounce package of frozen ravioli contained 24 ravioli, so each serving will contain four cheesy ravioli. That was plenty of food for our test group, but we all agreed we could have eaten less lasagna if we had served it with a side dish. That will help you stretch the servings if you’re feeding a crowd.
You can never go wrong by serving lasagna with a side salad. Try light, bright dressings like vinaigrettes, or contrast the heavy tomato sauce with a bold salad dressing like Caesar. Lasagna also pairs really well with garlic bread, and you can serve it with a variety of vegetables too. Try sauteed green beans or roasted vegetables like broccoli or Brussels sprouts.
- 1 (24-ounce) jar marinara sauce
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 (25-ounce) package frozen cheese ravioli
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Spread ½ cup of the marinara sauce in a 3-quart baking dish and set aside.
- If using the ground beef, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until it’s browned through, about 5 minutes, using a spoon to break up the mixture as it cooks. Remove the beef from the heat and drain any excess grease.
- Place a layer of frozen cheese ravioli in the prepared baking dish. Add half of the cooked ground beef (if using), spinach, marinara sauce, and mozzarella cheese, spreading each ingredient to create an even layer. Repeat the layers, finishing with the mozzarella cheese on top.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, until the lasagna is heated through and the cheese is melted. You can remove the foil for the last 10 minutes to brown the cheese.