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Classic Lasagna

If you’re looking for a low-sodium lasagna with a big flavor, this recipe is for you! Not only are you able to make a cheesy, zesty, perfectly comforting classic dish with less sodium, but I’ve also figured out how to turn this into the best gluten-free dinner 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 amount of sodium typically found in the ingredients of most traditional recipes. So I wondered: Is it possible to make a healthier recipe for it that actually tastes good?

My challenge in creating this family favorite 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 cheesy goodness that’s easy to make with less sodium, is gluten-free, and has all the comforting deliciousness you crave.

Ingredients For This Lasagna

This recipe calls for a variety of no-salt-added canned goods.

Check large chains like Safeway, Publix, Kroger, and Wal-Mart to find a good selection of no-salt-added canned foods.

Traders Joe’s has an exceptional selection of healthier, no-salt and low sodium foods.

Where to get Gluten-Free 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
  • no-salt diced tomatoes
  • no-salt tomato sauce
  • no-salt tomato paste
  • Italian seasoning and fennel seeds
  • red wine
  • ground beef
  • gluten-free, no-boil lasagna noodles
  • egg
  • 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 it in this lasagna recipe.

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

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

diced onions on a chopping board

1. To make the pasta sauce, 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 on the stove in a staub pot

3. As the sauce simmers, brown the ground beef and the rest of the onions in a large skillet. 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, mix the ricotta, egg, and parmesan cheese in a large bowl.

a clear bowl with ricotta, egg, and parmesan cheese

Layering the Homemade Lasagna

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

First, pour a cup of the reserved sauce onto the bottom of the baking 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 the reserved sauce and a hearty handful of mozzarella.

And into the oven, the lasagna goes…

a lasagna casserole topped with 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!

a freshly baked lasagna that's low sodium and gluten-free in a white casserole ready to cut and serve

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 Easy Homemade French Bread recipe!

homemade french bread

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

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Which is better in lasagna cottage cheese or ricotta?

Is lasagna better with ricotta cheese or cottage cheese? This is a personal preference, but homemade lasagna tastes equally as good as ricotta cheese or cottage cheese. Cottage cheese may give you a slightly lighter lasagna, while ricotta may make a bit thicker, more rich texture.

How long should lasagna rest before cutting?

Tempting as it is to slice into your meaty, cheesy lasagna the second you pull it from the oven, wait at least ten minutes before slicing it. This allows the lasagna to firm up and set. Otherwise, the lasagna will spread and ooze out of the layers.

Can you reheat lasagna twice?

You can reheat lasagna twice as long as it is brought to an internal temperature of 165° each time. This temperature kills most bacteria that might be present in your leftovers. Also, the lasagna must be stored properly in the refrigerator and used within 34- days. That said, the quality degrades with each reheat, so we suggest reheating lasagna only onc.

the Best Lower-Sodium Lasagna Recipe

a slice of lasagna with a sprig of basil on top of it on a white place
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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 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 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, and bring to a boil. Turn down to simmer, add the lid, and let cook for 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 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.

more comfort food recipes

Italian Meatball Casserole Dinner

I used a recipe from Modern Low Carb Recipes as the basis for the meatballs, but modified the sauce and toppings. What I loved about their meatball recipe is that the meatballs tasted so close to Italian sausage, minus all the salt and fat.

Assembling The Casserole

Make the meatballs first, so that the flavors of the seasonings and the ground pork can meld together in the fridge.

needed for an Italian Meatballs casserole dinner - ground pork, a clear bowl, red wine
Missing from photo – the red wine!

I mixed the ground pork with the seasonings and red wine in the clear bowl, then put it in the fridge for a few hours.

Then, I assembled the meatballs, placed them on a cookie sheet, and returned to the fridge until I was ready.

placing the meatballs on a cookie sheet and before returning to the fridge
placing the meatballs on a cookie sheet and before returning to the fridge

Next, I turned to creating the sauce.

a starter to make marinara sauce
My favorite starter for marinara sauce
cooking the sauce
The sauce cooking

Browned the meatballs

cooking the meatballs until brown

Assembling the casserole

readying the sauce to put into the oven

Ready for the oven!

Marinara meatballs with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, basil, and parsley

15 minutes later, I added the ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, basil, and parsley, then returned it to the oven for another 15 minutes.

Ready to eat marinara meatballs with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, basil, and parsley

And it’s ready to eat!

The Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 2 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 container Pomi strained tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup Italian cheese blend
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, small balls or slices into 1/4″ slices
  • 8 oz. fresh ricotta cheese
  • 3 cloves minced garlic, divided
  • 1/2 chopped onion, divided

Instructions

Combine ground pork, red wine, and the next 4 spices in a medium bowl. Mix with your hands and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Use a melon baller to scoop meatball mixture into similarly sized meatballs and roll by hand into a round shape. You should have 18-20 meatballs. If not making right away, return to refrigerator on a cookie sheet until ready to use.

In a medium saucepan, add Pomi tomatoes, Italian seasoning, 1 clove of minced garlic, and 1/4 cup of chopped onion. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened.

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium to medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining onion and garlic and cook until translucent. Add meatballs to skillet and brown on all sides, about 6-8 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To assemble the casserole: add half of the sauce to the bottom of a 13 x 9″ low-sided casserole dish, then place meatballs on top of the sauce, evenly spacing them in the dish. Pour remaining sauce over the meatballs and top with Italian blend cheese. Bake, uncovered for 15 minutes.

Remove casserole from the oven, place mozzarella cheese and ricotta cheese in spaces between the meatballs. Top with chopped parsley and basil. Return to the oven for an additional 15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Marinara meatballs without a pasta
Without pasta
marinara meatballs with pasta for hubby
With pasta for the hubby

This turned out to be a delicious meal! I couldn’t wait to share it you.

Looking for a some dinner inspiration? Here’s a weekly dinner plan:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How do you make meatballs that stick together?

Egg: A lot of meatball recipes add egg to the mince mixture because it helps to bind the balls together.
Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs also help to bind your meatballs.
Cheese: Adding cheese helps to bind the meatballs while cooking.

How do I keep my meatballs from falling apart?

Massage your meat. True story. …
Add breadcrumbs. Add breadcrumbs to the mixture, but not too many breadcrumbs.
Add egg.
Don’t add much apart from meat.
Roll your meatballs in flour.
Give your meatballs space.
Shake your meatballs.
Brown your meatballs first.

Is baking or frying meatballs better?

You can bake or fry meatballs based on personal preference. Pan-frying is faster, but baking can save some calories.

Meniere's Disease

New Challenges To Face?? Bring Them On!

I thought I would share a challenge I’m facing. We all face challenges in life and they’ve ultimately helped make us into who we are today. Stronger, wiser, smarter, and more adaptive. And, maybe my new challenge will help someone else struggling with a new situation or condition. So, recently, I was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. This diagnosis has means that I’ve had to make some lifestyle modifications, especially with my diet.

Read more

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