Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups with a Slow Simmered Meat Sauce

We had friends over for dinner so I decided to make lasagna roll ups.  I slow simmered a meat sauce for hours which made it so flavorful and delicious.  I combined ricotta, basil, spinach, garlic, mozzarella, and Parmesan together to make a delicious lasagna roll up filling.  These roll ups were quite simple to make and looked beautiful when presented.  My husband and I loved this meal and so did our dinner guests.

Side Note: This recipe makes a large batch of meat sauce so I put the remainder into a large zip lock freezer bag and have put it into the freezer for a quick and easy week night meal.  

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the ground beef and the onion.  Cook, stirring often to crumble the beef for 4-5 minutes.  Add the carrots, roasted bell pepper, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.  Add the beef stock, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, and tomato sauce to the beef mixture as well as the sugar.  Stir until well combined.  Cover with a lid and reduce heat then simmer for 3-4 hours.  Before serving add the fresh basil and parsley then stir to combine.

After the sauce has simmered, preheat the oven 350 degrees.

Cook lasagna noodles per instructions then lay them out on top of some parchment paper.

Combine the ricotta, spinach, mozzarella, parmesan, egg, nutmeg, basil, parsley, garlic, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, together in a large bowl; mix until well combined.  Spoon a thin layer of the ricotta mixture down the entire length of the lasagna noodle. Repeat with the remaining noodles.  Starting from one end, roll up.  Repeat.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray then spoon a layer of the slow simmered meat sauce in the bottom of the baking dish.  Place the lasagna rolls, seam side down, into the baking dish.  Cover each roll with sauce then add a bit of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese to the top of each roll.

Cover with tin foil, and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove the tin foil and continue baking for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.  Enjoy.

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Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups with a Slow Simmered Meat Sauce

Yield: 8

Prep Time: 20 min.

Cook Time: 3-4 hours (sauce) 30 min (noodles/lasagna)

Total Time: 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 hours

Ingredients:

Slow Simmered Meat Sauce:

2 tsp olive oil
1 lb lean ground beef
1 sweet yellow onion, diced
3-4 carrots, finely diced
1/2 cup of roasted bell pepper, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (more if desired)
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 cup of beef stock
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 28 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
3 tbsp of tomato paste
1-2 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups:

8 lasagna noodles, cooked per instructions
1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
2 cups of baby spinach, chopped finely
1 1/2 cups of mozzarella cheese, (divided)
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, (divided)
1 egg
1/8 tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped finely
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Directions:

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the ground beef and the onion. Cook, stirring often to crumble the beef for 4-5 minutes. Add the carrots, roasted bell pepper, garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Add the beef stock, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, and tomato sauce to the beef mixture as well as the sugar. Stir until well combined. Cover with a lid and reduce heat then simmer for 3-4 hours. Before serving add the fresh basil and parsley then stir to combine.

After the sauce has simmered, preheat the oven 350 degrees.

Cook lasagna noodles per instructions then lay them out on top of some parchment paper.

Combine the ricotta, spinach, 1/2 cup of mozzarella, 2 tbsp of Parmesan, egg, nutmeg, basil, parsley, garlic, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste, together in a large bowl; mix until well combined. Spoon a thin layer of the ricotta mixture down the entire length of the lasagna noodle. Repeat with the remaining noodles. Starting from one end, roll up. Repeat.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray then spoon a layer of the slow simmered meat sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Place the lasagna rolls, seam side down, into the baking dish. Cover each roll with sauce then add the remaining cup of mozzarella cheese and 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese equally to the top of each roll.

Cover with tin foil, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the tin foil and continue baking for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese is melted.