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Classic Lasagna

If you’re looking for a low sodium lasagna that has big flavor, this is the recipe for you! Not only are you able to make a cheesy, zesty, perfectly comforting classic dish with less sodium, I’ve also figured out how to turn this into the best gluten-free lasagna for an even healthier meal that still tastes just as yummy and satisfying as your favorite traditional lasagna recipe.

healthier lasagna, low sodium gluten-free lasagna recipe

A Healthier Lasagna Recipe

I love lasagna, but I’m not so much a fan of the loads of sodium typically found in the ingredients of most traditional recipes. So I wondered: Is it possible to make a healthier lasagna that actually tastes good?

My challenge in creating this recipe was to make a low sodium lasagna without sacrificing any of the rich, zesty tomato flavor and essential gooey cheesiness.

Then, I decided to take it a step further and use gluten-free pasta that requires no boiling… And, wouldn’t you know, this lasagna recipe is perfect! It’s a cheesy lasagna that is easy to make with less sodium, is gluten-free, and still has all the comforting deliciousness you crave.

Ingredients For This Lasagna

This recipe calls for a variety of no-salt added canned goods. To find a good selection of no-salt added canned foods, check large chains like Safeway, Publix, Kroger, and Wal-Mart. Trader’s Joes has an exceptional selection of healthier, no-salt and low sodium foods.

Where to get Gluten-Free Lasagna Pasta

And, thankfully, more and more retailers are carrying gluten-free pasta. I’ve tried several brands and my favorite is Barilla. Look at stores like Target and Wal-Mart for the best selection.

  • onion
  • olive oil
  • garlic
  • canned: no-salt diced tomatoes, no-salt tomato pasta, and no-salt tomato paste
  • Italian seasoning and fennel seeds
  • red wine
  • ground beef
  • gluten-free, no-boil lasagna noodles
  • egg
  • cheeses: ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella
Ingredients for a delicious classic lasagna - onion, olive oil, garlic	
canned: no-salt diced tomatoes, no-salt tomato pasta, and no-salt tomato paste, Italian seasoning and fennel seeds, red wine, ground beef
gluten-free, no-boil lasagna noodles, egg
cheeses: ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella (Low Sodium, gluten-free)

How to Make the Best Low Sodium and Gluten-Free Lasagna

TFN Tip: The best lasagnas start with a really rich sauce. So, I let the sauce simmer for about 3-4 hours on the stove before using in this lasagna recipe.

The ground beef and half of the onions are cooked separately, and then added to the sauce before I assemble the lasagna.

I like to take out a few cups of the sauce (before adding the meat) for the bottom of the pan and to pour over the top.

diced onions on a chopping board

1. To make the pasta sauce, first chop the onions and add half of them with olive oil to a dutch oven. Cook on medium-low heat for about several minutes, until soft.

frying onions on a dutch oven

2. Once the onions are translucent, add the low sodium tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and fennel.

mixing low sodium tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Italian seasoning and fennel.

It’s now ready to simmer. Add a lid and simmer on low for up to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

healthier lasagna recipe simmering pasta sauce

3. As the sauce simmers, in a large skillet brown the ground beef and the rest of the onions. Pull out two cups of sauce (for layering the lasagna), and then add the browned meat to the sauce.

4. Stir in the red wine. Raise the heat and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Cook on medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, to burn off the alcohol.

5. Next, in a large bowl mix together the ricotta, egg, and parmesan cheese.

mixing together the ricotta, egg, and parmesan cheese

Layering the Homemade Lasagna

Here is how to build your lasagna casserole in a square dish:

First, pour a cup of the reserved sauce on the bottom of the dish. Then layer noodles, ricotta cheese mixture, beef and sauce, shredded mozzarella, more sauce and beef, then more noodles, and repeat the process.

Top the last layer with the last cup of reserved sauce and a hearty handful of mozzarella.

And into the oven the lasagna goes…

a bowl of sauce and a hearty handful of mozzarella

Here it is! Hot and puffy, low sodium and gluten-free, and oh so delish!

See Below For the Complete Low Sodium and Gluten-Free Lasagna Recipe!

healthier lasagna recipe that's low sodium and gluten-free

I recommend serving this homemade lasagna with a fresh green salad and a side of crusty bread, if you’re not strictly gluten-free.

Shown below is my favorite romaine salad with Persian cucumbers, radishes, and white onions.

romaine salad with Persian cucumbers, radishes, and white onions in a bowl

And you’ve got to try my incredible recipe for Easy Homemade French Bread!

homemade french bread

There you have it: One of the absolute best classic comfort meals around that is delicious and low sodium. I hope you give this recipe a try soon!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Which is better for lasagna cottage or ricotta?

FAQ. Is lasagna better with ricotta cheese or cottage cheese? This is a matter of personal preference but honestly, homemade lasagna tastes just as good with either ricotta cheese or cottage cheese. Cottage cheese will give you a slightly lighter lasagna while ricotta will give you a bit thicker, more rich texture.

How long should lasagna rest before cutting?

How long should lasagna rest before cutting?


Tempting though it is to slice into your meaty, cheesy lasagna the second you pull it from the oven, wait at least ten minutes before attempting to serve it. This way, you’ll give the layers a chance to rest and then set.

Can you reheat lasagna twice?

Technically, you can reheat lasagna multiple times so long as you bring it up to an internal temperature of 165° each time. This temperature kills most bacteria that might be present in your leftovers. That said, the quality degrades with each reheat, so we suggest reheating lasagna one time only.

Lasagna Recipe

Lasagna
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5 from 1 vote

Lasagna – Low Sodium and Gluten-Free

If you're looking for a low sodium lasagna that has big flavor, this is the recipe for you! Make perfectly comforting classic dish with less sodium and gluten-free pasta for an even healthier lasagna meal!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword gluten-free, low-sodium, lasagna, healthier lasagna, healthy lasagna
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Calories 586kcal

Equipment

  • Casserole dish

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 28 oz can no-salt diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 8 oz can no-salt tomato paste
  • 8 oz can no-salt tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 cup red wine (or 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar + 1 T sugar)
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 16 oz box gluten-free, no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 15 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shaved
  • 1 ¼ cup shredded mozzarella

Instructions

  • Brown onions in olive oil until almost translucent, about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic, and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add in tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and spices, bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer, add lid, and let cook at least 45 minutes. Check periodically and add a little water, if necessary.
  • Remove 2 cups of sauce and set aside for later. Brown ground beef in a skillet on medium heat. While ground beef is browning, mix the ricotta cheese, egg, and parmesan cheese together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. When the ground beef is browned and drained, add it to the pot of sauce, along with 1 cup of red wine or red wine vinegar and sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn down to med-low and cook for 15 minutes (to burn off the alcohol).
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Add 1 cup of the reserved sauce to the bottom of the 9″ x 9″ lasagna pan. Layer your lasagna noodles above it. Alternatively layer your lasagna noodles with the ricotta cheese mixture, meat mixture, and mozzarella cheese, then ricotta cheese and meat again. When you have added the last layer of lasagna noodles, add the last cup of sauce and the rest of the mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Add foil to the top of the lasagna pan (spray the foil with cooking oil spray first so it doesn’t stick) and seal on all sides. Cook for 20 minutes then remove foil for the last 15 minutes of cooking. The lasagna is done when it is golden and bubbled on the top, including the center. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Leftover lasagna will keep well stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 586kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 182mg | Potassium: 202mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1112IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 289mg | Iron: 3mg

Although this lasagna recipe is much lower in sodium, the Nutritional Facts do not reflect the reduced sodium. My nutritional calculator doesn’t include “no salt” canned foods.

For more meal ideas and dinner prep, follow me on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/thefeatherednester/ or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/houseon3rd/

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Marinara Meatballs

Some of my favorite meals are made in one pot. I mean, who doesn’t love having fewer dishes to deal with at the end of the day? And, when that one-pot meal includes the three M’s: marinara, meatballs, and mozzarella then you have a real winner on your hands! Plus, the meatballs are low carb. I’m calling this recipe One Pot Marinara Meatballs dinner.

One Pot Marinara Meatballs

These rich, robust meals and soups are my go-to dinners during the fall and winter. There’s something comforting about having a tasty, hot meal at the end of a cold day.

In my house, we have marinara-based meals at least four times a month. I just love a rich tomato dish, whether it’s fire-roasted tomato soup, spaghetti, or baked rigatoni.

This one pot meal has the best of everything: beefy meatballs in a rich marinara sauce.

To make this meal even better, serve it with my easy French bread, Cheddar Biscuits, or Sourdough Bread.

Ingredients for Easy Meatballs

  • ground pork (or ground beef, turkey, chicken)
  • ground beef
  • bread crumbs
  • parsley (optional)
  • garlic
  • romano cheese (or parmesan)
  • milk (or water)
  • egg
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • Pesto sauce
  • marinara sauce
  • mozzarella
Ingredients used in the recipe - minced garlic, salt and pepper, belgioioso romano, parmesan cheese, marinara sauce, angus beef, egg, milk

Make homemade marinara sauce in minutes with this quick marinara sauce recipe.

A serving of this meatball dinner has only 10 net carbs. You can substitute the bread crumbs for a low carb or keto substitute.

I’ve used pork panko successfully to make these meatballs more low carb or keto-friendly.

For restaurant-style meatballs using ground chicken, check out this chicken marsala meatballs recipe.

How to Make Marinara Meatballs

Assembling the Meatballs

Add the ground meats, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, egg, salt, and pepper to a large bowl.

Slowly add the milk, over the breadcrumbs. Mix well with a potato masher or your hands.

Scooping the ground beef mixture, meatballs on a baking sheet and the rest of it on a bowl

Using a melon baller or large spoon, measure out the mixture and roll it into balls.

They should be about the size of a golf ball. If not, adjust the amount you’re scooping out.

prepping the meatballs on a baking sheet

Browning the Meatballs

Heat oil in a large, deep skillet or cast iron pot, and brown the meatballs in batches.

Add marinara sauce and heat until sauce has heated, then place the mozzarella cheese between the meatballs.

One Pot Marinara Meatballs dinner skillet

Once the cheese is partially melted, add the skillet/pot to the oven to broil for about 5 minutes, or until lightly bubbling on top.

Broiling this meatball recipe is optional. If you want a nicely browned top, broil these in the oven for a few minutes.

Before serving, sprinkle ribboned basil on top, and you have your delicious, easy one-pot meatball dinner!

Serve with a green salad and some garlic bread to round out your easy meatball dinner.

Frequently asked Questions

Can I make Marinara Meatballs ahead?

Yes, follow the directions through step 4. Then, either freeze or refrigerate the casserole. To prepare, follow steps 5 and bake for 20-25 minutes as 350º or until the meatballs register an internal temperature of 165º.

Can I double the recipe?

You can! I often double the meatball mixture and freeze half. Flash freeze them on a tray or paper plate, then place them in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Can I substitute romano cheese for parmesan cheese?

Absolutely! You can substitute romano cheese for parmesan cheese.

Does the mozzarella cheese have to be fresh?

No, regular mozzarella (the kind you use on pizza) is fine. If it’s grated or shredded, sprinkle it over the top. If it’s solid, then just cut it into 1″ cubes and follow the directions for fresh mozzarella.

Easy Marinara Meatball Recipe

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5 from 1 vote

One Pot Marinara Meatballs

Delicious doesn't even begin to describe this meatballs dish. With beefy meatballs, a robust, rich marinara sauce, and cheesy mozzarella it's a real winner of a dinner.
Course Main Course, Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Casserole, Main Course, Dinner, One Pot Meal, Make Ahead, Weeknight Dinner, Easy Dinner
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 544kcal

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound ground pork (can sub ground beef, turkey, chicken)
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup fine, dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup grated romano cheese (can sub parmesan)
  • 1/4 cup milk (any type of milk or water)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Pesto sauce
  • 1 jar (28 oz.) marinara sauce
  • 1 lb fresh, sliced mozzarella

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, add ground meat, dry bread crumbs, cheese, parsley, garlic, egg, salt and pepper. Slowly add milk (or water). Combine the ingredients with your hands until everything is mixed through. 
  • Use a melon baller or large spoon to scoop out the mixture, and use your hands to roll it into golf-sized meatballs. If needed, place them on a tray and put them in the fridge (and proceed to heating the oil below). 
  • In a large skillet, add the olive oil, and heat over medium high heat. Add the meatballs to the skillet, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. This step might take 2 rounds. Cook the meatball on each side for a total of about 6 minutes. Remove the meatballs and repeat the process, if needed.
  • Drain the excess olive oil from the pan and place back over the flame. Add the marinara sauce and pesto sauce, and then return the meatballs to the sauce. Continue to cook the meatballs for about 15 minutes until they are completely cooked, no pink in the center, and the marinara sauce is warmed. 
  • Turn down heat to simmer/low, add the mozzarella cheese between the meatballs and allow to melt partially (3-5 minutes).
  • Optional: Allow broiler to preheat (to 400 degrees). Place pan under the broiler for 5 minutes, or until lightly bubbling on top. 

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 544kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 152mg | Sodium: 1163mg | Potassium: 326mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1014IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 509mg | Iron: 2mg
Dish of meatballs

Round out the easy meatball dinner with a beautiful salad or pasta.

Try this amazing easy one-pot dinner tonight! It’s a real comforting dish and sure to please everyone.

skillet with Marinara Meatballs and a salad bowl

Do you do social media? Post your dinner pics on Facebook and Instagram and tag me #thefeatherednester or @thefeatherednester so I can see them!

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