Make Ahead Lasagna Roll-Ups

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This easy lasagna roll-ups recipe is perfect for busy families. Make the entire dish ahead of time or just have the elements prepped and ready for easy assembly the night you want to cook it. 

A serving of beef lasagna rollups is next to a simple green salad with a fork.

My mom makes an amazing sausage lasagna that we reserve for Christmas Eve or other celebratory occasions.

Lasagna is not something I would normally consider a weeknight dinner. It takes so long to assemble and all those thick cheesy layers means a longer time in the oven before it heats completely through.

However, this easy lasagna roll-ups recipe uses several handy short cuts to make the assembly go quickly.

You can make it ahead and freeze it for baking later which makes it an even better option for a busy night dinner.

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Why This is the Best Recipe

Lasagna is one of my favorite comfort foods, it always reminds me of Christmas. But I think this is the best lasagna roll-ups recipe because:

  1. Fast Prep: You can have the tomato sauce and cheese filling ready to go by the time the pasta is finished cooking.
  2. Easy Assembly: You could assemble the whole dish in advance and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Just bake and serve the next day.
  3. Freezer-Friendly: You can assemble and freeze this recipe. Just thaw it overnight, bake and serve.
  4. Pretty Ruffled Edges: Ok, let's be honest. I'm smitten with those pretty ruffled lasagna edges that peek through on each roll-up. How cute??

Ingredients

The ingredients to make the lasagna roll-ups are assembled on the counter.

There are three main elements to this easy lasagna roll-ups recipe:

  1. Lasagna Noodles: Just a box of ruffled-edge lasagna pasta
  2. Italian Cheese Filling: This is what gets spread over each roll-up.
  3. Meaty Tomato Sauce: This is layered on the bottom of the casserole dish and spooned over the top of the finished roll-ups.

For the Cheese Filling

To make the easy cheese filling you will need:

  • Ricotta Cheese: It is best to use a full-fat ricotta for texture.
  • Shredded Italian Cheese: You could use mozzarella if you prefer but the Italian blend has more flavor.
  • Frozen Spinach: You could substitute fresh baby spinach if you prefer.
  • Egg

For the Meaty Tomato Sauce:

  • Ground Beef: I recommend using one of my prepared ground beef packets because it includes diced carrots, celery, onions, and garlic. Otherwise, just plan to add some garlic to the recipe if you use plain ground beef. This recipe would also taste great with crumbled turkey breakfast sausage mixed in instead of beef.
  • Canned Tomato Sauce
  • Dried Italian Herb Blend
  • Fennel Seeds

Prep the Cheese Filling

Thaw the frozen spinach and squeeze as much water out of it as you can. It helps to let it drain on a few paper towels.

In a medium bowl, combine the egg, ricotta cheese, and a dash of salt & pepper.

Stir in 1 cup of the Italian cheese blend and the spinach. Set this aside.

Prep the Tomato Sauce

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef (or turkey sausage) until no longer pink. Drain the fat as needed.

Add the minced garlic and stir. Cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Add the canned tomato sauce, Italian herb blend, and fennel seeds and stir. Set aside.

Prep the Lasagna Noodles

Boil the pasta noodles according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, brush a little olive oil on a baking sheet. This will help the noodles to not stick to the pan while you assemble the roll-ups later.

Drain the pasta and lay each noodle flat on the prepared baking sheet.

Assembly Line Prep

Set out a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Spread half of the prepared tomato sauce over the bottom of the dish and set it near your assembly line.

Working one noodle at a time, spread the cheese mixture evenly over the surface of the pasta.

The lasagna pasta has been spread evenly with cheese and is about to be rolled up.

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Roll the lasagna noodle up starting at the skinny edge, the ruffled edges should face out.

Your lasagna roll-up should look like this:

The lasagna roll-up is being held towards the camera so you can see the ruffled edges.

Assemble the Casserole

As you finish each lasagna roll-up, add it to the prepared baking dish.

You may want to alternate the direction each roll-up faces so they fit nicely in the dish.

For my 8 x 11-inch baking dish, it worked best to arrange them like this:

The baking dish has 12 lasagna roll-ups on a bed of tomato sauce.

Top with Tomato Sauce

Once all the roll-ups are in the dish, spoon the remaining tomato sauce mixture over the top.

Use a spatula to work the sauce between the roll-ups so everything is coated nicely.

The lasagna roll-ups now have a meaty tomato sauce spooned over the top.

Sprinkle the remaining shredded Italian cheese over the top and bake now or freeze for later.

Baking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Cover the lasagna with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray so the cheese doesn't stick.

Bake the just-assembled casserole for 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

The baked lasagna roll-ups are cooling on a mat with a red and white striped towel.

Make Ahead Tips

You can assemble the entire dish on a weekend and freeze it.

I also love that these easy lasagna roll ups can be prepped whenever you have a minute to save you time on the evening you want to cook it.

Why not try one of these time saving tricks?

  • Use pre-cooked beef packets from my Big Batch Ground Beef recipe here.
  • Thaw the spinach overnight and quickly assemble the cheese mixture before you go to work in the morning.
  • Mix the beef with the tomato sauce and have it ready to go when you are.
  • Assemble the entire lasagna the night before and let it just hang out in the fridge overnight.
  • Have the cheese filling and ground beef prepped the night before and just prepare the noodles and final assembly on the day of baking.

Freezing Instructions

These lasagna roll-ups are a great meal to freeze and reheat.

Simply assemble the entire pan of ground beef lasagna roll-ups right through the shredded cheese on top.

Then wrap the dish with plastic wrap before covering with a layer of aluminum foil. You can freeze the unbaked lasagna roll ups for up to 2 months.

How to Bake Frozen Lasagna Roll-Ups

Be sure to let the lasagna roll-ups thaw in your fridge for 24 - 48 hours before trying to bake the casserole.

It is a very thick dish and would be tricky to heat all the way through if it is still completely frozen.

Then you can bake it exactly as directed above -- 1 1/2 hours at 350°F.

Variations

Vegetarian Lasagna Roll-Ups: You can just omit the ground beef from the recipe and assemble the dish with my easy marinara sauce.

I just love those adorable ruffled edges to the lasagna rolls. But if you're looking for other easy variations, you won't want to miss:

Sausage Lasagna: This is my mom's classic recipe. We make it for Christmas Eve dinner! I love that we can prep it days in advance and then just bake it for the holiday meal.

Garden Veggie Lasagna Cups: I love to bake this easy vegetarian lasagna recipe with my kids. It is bursting with zucchini, corn, and fresh tomatoes.

Serving Suggestions

You don't need to add much to the menu when serving these delicious lasagna roll-ups.

A simple green salad and some fresh bread would make this an amazing family dinner.

More Easy Casserole Recipes

Looking for more easy make ahead casseroles for dinner? Don't miss these family favorites:

📖 Recipe

A serving of beef lasagna rollups is next to a simple green salad with a fork.

Easy Lasagna Roll-Ups

5 from 49 votes
This easy lasagna roll-up recipe is filled with a delicious spinach and cheese filling and rich meaty tomato sauce. It's the perfect make-ahead meal for busy families since you can assemble and freeze it for an easy dinner later.
TOTAL TIME 1 hour 50 minutes
PREP TIME 20 minutes
COOK TIME 1 hour 30 minutes
YIELD 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 12 dried lasagna noodles
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Meaty Tomato Sauce

  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1/2 pound ground beef see notes
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp dried Italian herb blend
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds

Spinach Cheese Filling

  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1 (15 oz) container of ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups (8 oz) shredded Italian cheese divided, save half for the top of the lasagna
  • 1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry

Instructions

Prepare the Lasagna Noodles

  • Boil the pasta noodles according to the package directions.
  • Brush the olive oil over a large baking sheet. This will help the pasta to not stick together while you assemble the dish.
  • Drain the pasta and lay each noodle flat on the prepared baking sheet.

Prep the Meaty Tomato Sauce

  • While you're waiting for the pasta water to come to a boil, brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Break it up as it cooks. Drain the fat as needed.
  • Add the minced garlic and stir. Cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Add the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and fennel seeds to the skillet and stir. Remove from the heat and set the mixture aside.

Prep the Spinach Cheese Filling

  • In a medium bowl, combine the egg, ricotta cheese, and a dash of salt & pepper. Stir in 1 cup of the Italian cheese blend and the thawed and drained spinach. 

Assemble the Lasagna Roll-Ups

  • Spread 1/2 of the meaty tomato sauce on the bottom of a 2 quart (8 x 11-inch) baking dish. 
  • Working one pasta noodle at a time, spread the cheese filling over the length of the noodle and roll it up starting at the skinny end. Lay it seam side-down in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining lasagna noodles and cheese filling. 
  • Pour the remaining meat sauce over the top of the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the remaining cup of Italian cheese over the top.

Baking Instructions

  • Cover the casserole dish with nonstick foil or aluminum foil sprayed with cooking spray so that the cheese topping doesn't stick while baking.
  • Bake at 350°F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 15 more minutes or until bubbly and heated through.

Freezing Instructions

  • Cover the assembled lasagna with plastic wrap and then cover with aluminum foil. Freeze up to 3 months.
  • Thaw the assembled lasagna in the fridge overnight.
  • Remove the plastic wrap, cover with nonstick foil sprayed with cooking spray, and bake according to the instructions above.

Recipe Notes

Prepared Ground Beef Packets:

This recipe is even easier if you use my prepared ground beef packets instead of freshly browned ground beef. The mixture includes diced carrots, celery, and onions which gives the lasagna roll-ups even more flavor.
Store them in your freezer and you can just thaw and stir into the canned tomato sauce.

Variations

To make this dish vegetarian-friendly, simply omit the ground beef altogether.
You could also substitute ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork for the ground beef if you prefer.
COURSEPasta
CUISINEItalian

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How to assemble easy lasagna roll ups
Easy lasagna roll ups: the perfect make ahead meal for your freezer.

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: 24 ground beef recipes you can make in a pinch
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  4. I've been looking for a meal to bring to a friend who just had a baby. These lasagna roll-ups are perfect!

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