Veggie-Packed Slow Cooker Lasagna
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Your family will love eating their vegetables with this Veggie-Packed Slow Cooker Lasagna! This healthier lasagna is made with ground turkey and lots of veggies. The veggies are shredded and chopped small so kids hardly notice them!
Meet my family’s new favorite lasagna! I liked this lasagna so much that I was happy to eat it three days in a row. My kids loved it, too, and they hardly noticed the extra veggies that I added to this turkey lasagna. Since you prep this dinner ahead in the slow cooker, it’s perfect for busy nights!
If you like to eat lasagna year-round, but don’t want to turn on your oven in the summertime, then slow cooker lasagna is perfect for you. You get the comforting lasagna flavors that you crave without heating up your kitchen! Besides this Veggie-Packed Slow Cooker Lasagna recipe, you can also try this classic Easy Slow Cooker Lasagna recipe and this meatless Slow Cooker Spinach Ricotta Lasagna.
You can easily make this slow cooker lasagna vegetarian by omitting the turkey. Or, if your family prefers beef you can replace the ground turkey with ground beef.
What’s the secret to making this crock pot veggie lasagna with turkey appealing to kids? Even those who squirm at the sight of too many vegetables? Make sure that the veggies are chopped into really small pieces! The tiny pieces of vegetables cook down and are hardly noticeable in the finished lasagna.
You can save a lot of time and effort when you make this lasagna by using a food processor to shred and chop the vegetables and to shred the cheese. No need to wash the parts in between! For this Veggie-Packed Slow Cooker Lasagna, you will use onion, bell pepper, zucchini and carrots. You want to shred the zucchini and carrots. I used the shredding disk attachment and feed tube of my food processor to shred the vegetables. You can also use a box grater.
After the zucchini and carrots are shredded, transfer them to a cutting board to chop them even smaller. (The second time when I made this lasagna I forgot to chop the shredded vegetables and my kids didn’t like the lasagna quite as much.) Running a knife through shredded vegetables to chop them even smaller is a trick that I also use in these Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies and in these Healthy Zucchini Muffins.
You can use your food processor to chop the onion and bell pepper, or you can chop them by hand. Either way, make sure that they are chopped finely. If you do use your food processor, be sure to use the standard s-shaped blade to chop the bell pepper and onion, rather than the shredding disk.
The exact amount of vegetables that you use in this lasagna doesn’t matter so much. I recommend using between 1 and 1 1/2 cups each of shredded zucchini and carrot, depending on your family’s preferences. You’ll want to use about 1 cup of finely chopped onion, and 1 bell pepper.
You can make this lasagna with two jars of your favorite store-bought pasta sauce, or you can use homemade marinara sauce. I usually use store-bought sauce to save time. Look for a sauce with a low sugar and low sodium content. You would be surprised at how much salt and sugar is added to some sauces!
Can you cook lasagna in a slow cooker?
Of course! The best part about cooking lasagna in a slow cooker is that you don’t need to cook the noodles ahead of time.
You’ll brown your meat on the stove, as well as saute the veggies a bit to soften them. Then you layer everything in your slow cooker and cook it on low until the noodles are soft and the cheese is melted.
How do you layer a lasagna?
The first step to layering a lasagna is to spread a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of your dish, which in our case is our slow cooker insert. Next you’ll lay down a single layer of lasagna noodles. You will probably have to break some of the noodles into smaller pieces to make them fit in your round or oval slow cooker. Don’t worry about it being a perfect layer!
On top of the noodles, place a layer of meat, veggies and sauce. Top those with a layer of cheese. For this lasagna you’ll make four layers of noodles, but the top layer will only have sauce and cheese. So use 1/3 of the meat and veggies and 1/4 of the sauce and cheese in each layer.
How long does it take to cook lasagna in a crockpot?
I always cook slow cooker lasagna on the low heat setting. It takes only 3 hours to cook on low, and I want to give the flavors time to meld together while the noodles cook.
How long does it take to cook lasagna in a crock pot on high? Foods usually cook twice as fast on high as on low in a slow cooker, so I would guess this lasagna would cook in about 1 1/2 hours on high. I haven’t tested this recipe on high, though.
After the lasagna is finished cooking, you need to turn off your slow cooker and let the lasagna rest for 30 minutes. Keep the lid on during the rest time. It’s important to wait 30 minutes before slicing the lasagna so that the slices will hold together.
Cooking Tips for Veggie-Packed Slow Cooker Lasagna:
- You can make this slow cooker lasagna vegetarian by omitting the ground turkey. You should still saute the veggies in a skillet on the stove before layering your lasagna.
- My family likes this lasagna best when the vegetables are chopped into small pieces. Run a knife through the carrot and zucchini after shredding.
- Use uncooked lasagna noodles when layering this lasagna. I use whole wheat lasagna noodles.
- Remember to let the lasagna rest for 30 minutes with the slow cooker turned off after it finishes cooking, before serving.
Veggie-Packed Slow Cooker Lasagna
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- salt to taste, if desired
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 bell pepper any color, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1-1 ½ cups grated carrot 2 small/medium carrots
- 1-1 ½ cups grated zucchini 2 small zucchini
- 2 26 ounce jars marinara sauce
- 10-12 whole wheat lasagna noodles uncooked
- 2 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese 10 ounces
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey and black pepper. Cook, crumbling, until browned, 4-5 minutes.
- Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, carrots and zucchini and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat.
- Place about ½ cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker and spread into an even layer.
- Lay a single layer of noodles in slow cooker, breaking them up as needed to make them fit. Top noodles with 1/3 of the turkey/veggie mixture, then ¼ of the remaining sauce, and then ¼ of the shredded cheese.
- Repeat noodles-turkey/veggie-sauce-cheese layers two more times.
- For the top layer, arrange a single layer of noodles and top with the remaining sauce and cheese.
- Cover and cook on low setting for 3 hours. Turn off slow cooker and let lasagna rest, covered, for 30 minutes before serving.
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