How To: Lasagna Soup, Plus Other Yummy Ways to Use Lasagna Noodles

Lasagna Soup, Plus Other Yummy Ways to Use Lasagna Noodles

Lasagna, that layered, creamy baked pasta dish, is a lovely comfort food that's great for a crowd. But if you've ever made it, then you know you're usually left with some leftover lasagna noodles. (Although that's always better than the frustration of running out of the noodles while you're still making a traditional lasagna.) Still, what do you do when you're still left with a bowlful of the wide ribbons?

Guess what? There's no rule that you can only use lasagna noodles to make a layered pasta dish. Those frilly wide noodles are good in soups, salads, and almost any other pasta recipe you can dream up. All you need to do is slice them into the width and shape you wish, and you have a blank canvas to season and dress up any way you wish.

I like to cook the lasagna noodles first before slicing them. Although the 'broken lasagna' pieces look rustically delicious, it's hard to cook the pasta correctly if you don't break it up into a uniform size.

How to Make Lasagna Soup

Lasagna soup has all the flavors of traditional baked lasagna, but it is healthier with a lot less cheese and calories. It's also very hard to mess up. Many recipes suggest making this with ground pork or sausage and it definitely tastes good that way, but you'll have a lot of fat floating around that you need to skim out. With 85% lean ground meat, this recipe makes a simple and delicious soup that you won't have to mess around with after it boils.

Ingredients:

  • Lasagna noodles, already cooked and sliced into rectangles
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef, 85% lean
  • 3 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • Sea salt, to taste

For serving:

  • Ricotta cheese
  • Shaved Parmesan
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper

Recipe instructions:

  1. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, heat up olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté chopped onions for about five minutes.
  2. Add garlic and continue cooking for a couple minutes.
  3. Add beef and cook until mostly browned.
  4. Add in Italian seasoning, crushing it well between your fingers as you add it to the pot. Continue cooking for three more minutes.
  5. Add tomato paste and tomatoes and stir to combine.
  6. Stir in chicken broth and season with some sea salt.
  7. Bring up the soup to boil, and then turn to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Just before serving, add lasagna noodles to individual bowls.
  9. Serve topped with shaved Parmesan, shredded mozzarella, and a small dollop of ricotta cheese.

Pasta Salad with Broken Lasagna Noodles

Any green or tossed salad tastes better (in my humble opinion) with some crusty bread or pasta. It won't pass muster with the low-carb police, but some wide, perfectly cooked lasagna noodles will always make a tasty addition to your salad.

Combine any vegetables with some sliced lasagna noodles cut into squares or rectangles. Toss well with a balsamic or herb vinaigrette and enjoy.

Lasagna Cupcakes

Tasty and portable, these cupcakes are individual portions of lasagna in a mess-free preparation. You prepare all the regular lasagna ingredients, but instead of layering it in a large pan, you put cut lasagna noodles and the filling ingredients into cupcake liners and bake in a muffin tin. Go to the cupcake project for two different ways to make these.

Image via Cupcake Project

Lasagna Chips

An easy, tasty way to transform your leftover noodles into snack chips, all you need is cooked lasagna noodles, olive oil, salt, and 15 minutes in a 350°F degree oven. Paul Stephen, a food blogger for Star News Online, shows us how it's done here.

Image via Star News

Lasagna Spinach Rolls

These ricotta, spinach, and pistachio rolls are an elegant way to use your leftover lasagna noodles as an appetizer or pretty side dish. This is a no-bake, smart recipe from the Apron and Sneakers blog.

Image via Apron and Sneakers

Looking for More Amazing Lasagna & Pasta Hacks?

Learn how to make lasagna in your dishwasher here, and get some other new tricks in this round-up of Italian-American food hacks, including spaghetti-stuffed meatballs. See how to cook great pasta in one minute or one-pot pasta that actually tastes good. You can't go wrong with Marcella Hazan's three-ingredient pasta sauce. And, if you're in a hurry, you can make bottled pasta sauce taste better with a few easy tricks.

Photos by Naomi Imatome-Yun/Food Hacks (unless otherwise specified)

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