I've had a box of lasagna sitting my pantry since before I moved to CT, and it hasn't budged since I returned to Chicago (now 1.5 years ago). So I'd say it's been in the apartment for at least 5 years. Think that'll stop me from using it? Nope. I need to clean out the pantry before we move at the end of the month, and the more I use up, the less I have to pack and later unpack. The reason I overlooked the box all these years is because making lasagna seemed complicated. I made it once years ago, and not only did it take a lot of time and babysitting, it also turned out sorta soggy after all that effort. Every time I saw that box in the pantry, I thought..."is it worth the effort? NAH, PASS". That was until I came across something called "slow cooker veggie lasagna". Nothing about that sounded bad. Dry lasagna goes into the slowcooker, layered with cheese, veggies, sauce, and more cheese. One pot to clean, no stirring, baking, broiling, or otherwise babysitting. Yes please. So I decided to make this lasagna with mostly pantry items. I also lined up all the empty bottles, boxes, and bags later to pat my OCD self on the back for making progress on emptying the pantry.
- 2 24-oz bottles pasta sauce, your choice (I used a garden blend)
- 1 box dry lasagna
- 3 cups shredded Mexican cheese
- 1 8oz jar roasted red peppers, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 jalapeno, minced
- 8oz fresh mozzarella, cubed
- 1/4 cup pesto sauce
- Red pepper flakes
Pour a little pasta sauce at the bottom of the slow cooker dish. Break lasagna pieces in half and arrange to cover bottom. Add a layer of mexican cheese, then a mixture of roasted red peppers, garlic, and jalapeno. Continue layering with fresh mozzarella, a drizzle of pesto, and red pepper flakes. Repeat these layers 3-4 times. I ended up with 5 layers total. Cover the top with sauce, mexican cheese, and cilantro. Cook for 3 hours on high (or 5 hours on low) in the slow cooker. I'd say my veggie layer is rather weak here, since it's what I had...but you can easily add mushrooms, spinach, and other veggies to the mix.