These Skillet Pesto Cheese Lasagna Roll Ups are a fun twist on a tried and true classic. Lasagna noodles are rolled up with sun-dried tomatoes, basil pesto, and ricotta cheese. Then baked in a spiced, herby, tomato sauce that’s creamy and so delicious! This is a great way to use pantry staples and frozen meat. And more importantly, put a quick and delicious family-style dinner together in no time. This a fun weeknight dinner that’s equally great on a Sunday night too (actually…is there a difference?). Just be sure to add a side salad and fresh bread.
Can you all tell that I’m really digging through my pantry and relying on my freezer staples these days? I’m doing everything in my power to avoid the grocery store, so things are gettin’ pretty creative over here. Which honestly? I’m ok with. I’ve said this before, but when given the challenge of using only limited ingredients I tend to create some of my personal favorite recipes.
Why? Probably because they always end up being something different. Something I’ve never created before. They’re usually pretty easy to make, and nine times out of ten have a very simple (pantry friendly) ingredient list. Fortunately, these baked skillet lasagna roll ups are all of those things…and delicious too.
Granted, I did have the prettiest fresh thyme. Which I order from my go-to source of edible flowers and herbs, Gourmet Sweet Botanicals. But other than that, everything else you see in these fun lasagna rolls came from my pantry and my freezer. Dry lasagna noodles, dried herbs and spices, store-bought pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, frozen meat, and cheese from the fridge…all staples at my house.
What’s makes this even better is how easy this is (no layering!). And even better than that? This skillet lasagna is DELICIOUS! Think classic lasagna, but lighter and more fitting for springtime. It’s cozy, but yet still feels fresh. Perfect for these early spring days.
The details…let’s start with the sauce.
This recipe is simple but requires a little prep work. First, make the tomato sauce. I kept this very simple, using canned tomatoes, dried oregano, dried thyme, and just a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes…to add a layer of spiciness.
For the meat, I used ground beef because that’s currently what’s stocked piled in my freezer. But you could easily use ground chicken, or even spicy ground Italian sausage if you really want to pack in the flavor. Either of these options are great, so use what’s best and most convenient for you.
Of course, if you’re vegetarian, or just going for a meatless night, you can easily omit the meat from the sauce. There’s still going to be plenty of flavor. If you’d like to bulk the sauce up a bit, I would suggest sautéing some mushrooms and chopped cauliflower before you add the tomatoes. That would be delicious too!
Onto the noodles and cheese.
While the sauce is simmering away, get to work on boiling the noodles and rolling them up with cheesy pesto goodness.
Simply boil up the dry lasagna noodles. While they’re cooking, mix ricotta cheese with some fontina, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil pesto. Add the cheese to the noodles, tuck, and roll! It looks all fancy, but it’s actually the easiest thing to do. If you have kids at home, this is a great project for them to do. They’ll have fun…and get the work done for you. Nothing wrong with that.
If you don’t have fontina cheese, I’d recommend using provolone, or really, whatever cheese you might have in the fridge. You really can’t go wrong. Also, if you don’t stock your pantry with sun-dried tomatoes, or simply don’t enjoy them, these can easily be omitted as well. We love them over here, so I always have them on hand.
And now we bake.
At this point, place the lasagna rolls into the tomato sauce, top with mozzarella, and bake until the cheese is melty and the sauce is all bubbly. Your kitchen will smell incredible…like an Italian grandma’s kitchen. But minus the hours spent hunkered over the stove stirring the tomato sauce.
And guys? That’s it. You see? Simple but delicious and full of so much flavor.
This is just like a slow-cooked lasagna, but minus some of the work, and minus all the layers. And honestly…this is just as GOOD…and a bit more fun. Saucy, a little spicy, full of herbs, and heavy on the pasta and cheese. All the good things!
Lastly, I really want to stress that you should adapt this recipe to your needs, using what you have on hand. Of course, you need noodles, and yes, you need canned tomatoes. But if you don’t have a bell pepper, use something else. Spinach would be a great addition if you happen to have that. Please just use my recipe as a guide, and swap in the ingredients you do have. Trust me, with pasta, tomatoes, and cheese, this is going to be great.
Soo, what do you all think? Simple and fun lasagna rolls up tonight? Do you have most of the ingredients? Fingers crossed the answer is yes.
Looking for other simple pasta recipes? Below are just a few of my springtime favorites.
Lastly, if you make these skillet pesto cheese lasagna roll ups, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Simple Skillet Pesto Cheese Lasagna Roll Ups.
Calories Per Serving: 577 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 pound ground beef, chicken, or ground spicy Italian sausage
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes (or 3 cups tomato sauce)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 teaspoon dried fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes using more or less to your taste
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 3/4 cup basil pesto homemade or store-bought
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes drained and chopped
- 4 ounces mozzarella, torn
- fresh thyme or basil, for serving
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- 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.2. Heat the olive oil in a large, oven safe skillet. When the oil shimmers, add the ground meat and brown all over, about 5 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the bell pepper, garlic, oregano, thyme, fennel, crushed red pepper flakes, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, until fragrant. Reduce the heat to low. Add the tomatoes and simmer 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and boil the pasta until al dente. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking.4. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, fontina, 1/2 cup pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes.5. To assemble, spoon about 2 tablespoons of the cheese mix down the length of the noodle. Roll into a coil and place each seam-side down in the skillet as you go, snuggling the roll into the sauce. Repeat with remaining noodles. Drizzle the remaining 1/4 cup pesto evenly over everything. Add the mozzarella.6. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is lightly browned on top. Cool 5 minutes before serving. Serve with fresh basil and thyme, if desired. Enjoy!