Hot, cheesy, flavorful, and delicious. But not how your grandma used to make it. Enter smoked lasagna. Take an Italian favorite and put an American twist to it by cooking it on the smoker. In warmer weather months, you are able to enjoy a flavor-packed baked meal without kicking on the air conditioning.
I grew up in an Italian American family. Every holiday and family dinner on my dad's side started with lasagna. Even on Thanksgiving lasagna was the pre-course to the Thanksgiving Traeger Turkey! You always received a huge piping hot portion. My favorite was getting a corner piece with the chance of some crunchy noodle from the edge, but all that wonderful warm cheesy gooeyness. It was always a favorite.
Whenever my family now gets together, there are always so many different dishes we are cooking. Trays of something getting heated up and there always seem to be a lack of oven space to have everything ready at the same time. We are constantly trying to use different cooking techniques and finishing processes to have it all come out hot and on time. If you can maintain steady heat on your smoker, then you should have no trouble pulling off smoked lasagna.
I wanted to make sure to have a low carb keto version of this since we have many readers coming over to visit us from Taryn's blog, Joy Filled Eats. It is very easy to make this into a low carb lasagna. All you need to do is sub in hearts of palm lasagna noodles and half the amount of sauce. Since the noodles won't soak up the water released from the spinach you can saute the spinach first or just omit it.
How to Make Smoked Lasagna
Step 1: Brown about a pound of ground meat. You can use pork, Italian sausage, your favorite mixture of meat, or you can even use smoked sausage to get a more pronounced smoke flavor to this dish. I used a pound of ground beef.
Step 2: Gather all the other ingredients. In this smoked lasagna, I used no-boil lasagna noodles. You can use the type you boil or if you are feeling super authentic, make your own homemade pasta. I like the no-boil lasagna noodles especially when I am adding items like fresh spinach that will release liquid as they cook. They help to absorb any extra moisture because we don't want watery lasagna. If you want a smoked tomato sauce, be sure to try ours. You can also use your favorite tomato sauce or meat sauce and then the ricotta mixture which includes ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded parmesan, egg, and seasoning. I used fresh spinach and basil to add some nice color and flavor to the dish.
Step 3: Assemble the lasagna. You will make four total layers of all these ingredients. The top layer will get a little extra shredded mozzarella for that final cooked cheesy gooey look. Once it is assembled, cover with a piece of foil. I recommend hitting the foil with nonstick cooking spray so that the cheese doesn't melt and stick to the foil. You can cook it immediately or put it in the fridge and cook it tomorrow.
Expert Tip: You can cook it in a casserole pan or even a cast iron skillet if you don't want to use an aluminum foil tray.
Step 4: Smoke the lasagna. Preheat your pellet grill or smoker. Heat it up to about 200°F and put your lasagna in uncovered. Let it be there for about 10 minutes. This will allow the smoke flavor to get into that top layer very easily. After about 10 minutes, cover the lasagna with the foil(sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) and bring the heat up to about 375°F. Cook covered at 375°F for 45 minutes. Then uncover, increase the temperature to 450°F and cook for an additional 20 minutes or so. This will allow you to get some nice browning on the top. It will also help to remove any additional excess liquid.
Step Five: Once you remove the lasagna from the smoker cover and let rest for at least 15 minutes. This allows all the bubbling boiling sauce and cheese to settle back into their nice layers. If you are using a disposable pan like I choose to do, be careful cutting it. You can easily go through the pan and have hot tomato sauce oozing out onto your table or counter. Slice your smoked lasagna into 12 pieces and serve.
Can I Prepare This Ahead of Time?
Yes. One great thing about any lasagna is that you can totally prepare it, layer it in the tray, and store it in the fridge at least a day in advance to limit the amount of work you need to do on the actual cooking day.
What to Serve with Smoked Lasagna
This is really a meal unto itself. We serve it with simple sides like a Caesar salad, steamed green beans, or grilled broccoli.
What Smoker Should I Use?
I recently got a pellet smoker. I was looking for something that I could kind of set and forget for dishes like this. Yes, you will not get that super authentic flavor that you might achieve with a true stick burner, but the ease of holding a certain temperature and not having to babysit it for hours is a nice plus. But you can easily smoke this on your offset, charcoal, or gas smoker as well.
Customize Smoked Lasagna
One reason I love lasagna is that there are so many ways you can make your own version. It is easy to include your favorite ingredients. You could make a smoked mozzarella lasagna or smoked sausage lasagna and cook it on your smoker for more smoke flavor. Add in some sliced Traeger smoked sausage or Smoked Pulled Beef to really boost the flavor.
Leave a comment about some of your favorite lasagna ingredients or a fun twist that you tried on this lasagna recipe! I hope you enjoy this American twist to an Italian classic.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 9 oz oven-ready lasagna noodles or hearts of palm lasagna noodles
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
Ricotta Cheese Mixture
- 15 oz ricotta
- 1 lb mozzarella shredded
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Brown beef and drain.
- In a medium bowl combine the ricotta, half the mozzarella, parmesan cheese, egg, and seasonings. Set aside.
- Spread ½ cup marinara in the bottom of an aluminum foil 9x13 pan.
- Top the sauce in the pan with 3 noodles. Then top with 1 cup of sauce and ¼ cup of basil. Top with ¾ cup of cheese mixture and then ⅓ of the spinach. Sprinkle with ¼ cup mozzarella and ⅓ of the browned beef.
- Repeat for 3 more layers.
- For the last layer top with 3 noodles, the remaining sauce, and the remaining cheese.
- Put the uncovered lasagna in smoker at 200°F for 10 minutes. Then, cover with foil and cook at 375°F for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for an additional 20 minutes at 450°F uncovered. The noodles should be softened and the cheese browned.
- Let the lasagna rest for 15 minutes before serving.