Guys! Lasagna roll-ups!! Have you tried them yet? They are not only adorable, but they are easier to make than traditional lasagna. And these pesto chicken lasagna roll-ups are an awesome and delicious place to start. YUM.
OK I’m a little late to hop on the lasagna roll-up bandwagon. As a blossoming food blogger, I really need to be more up on these trends I keep seeing on pinterest. I have yet to dive into the phenomenon of mason jar salads (Has anyone tried them? Are they worth it?) and I’m dying to try one of those magical one-pot wonder pasta dishes.
So. The basic formula for lasagna roll ups is this: roll something up in cooked lasagna noodles (in this case, a chicken/pesto/ricotta mixture), place the rolls seam-side down in a baking dish with some sauce in it, cover with more sauce, top with cheese, and bake. It’s kind of like enchiladas and lasagna met and had a baby. The idea is that it’s easier than regular lasagna.
My consensus? The lasagna roll-ups definitely have some merits that traditional lasagna is lacking (besides the adorable factor).
The best thing about them is you are able to exercise portion control much easier. I was completely satisfied eating one of these roll-ups for dinner with a side salad. I didn’t want to eat only part of a second roll, so I stopped eating. Had this been a traditional lasagna, I would have visited the pan for a little sliver more… at least a dozen times. In addition, it was easier to fill the noodles with a little bit of filling and roll them, rather than trying to spread an unwieldy filling on top of multiple noodles evenly in a single layer, which, for me, always creates a huge mess.
The individuality of the rolls makes it easy to take lunch portions the next day to work, and like any lasagna, this meal freezes beautifully. Because I usually only cook for myself and Zach, I always divide recipes like this in half in my Pyrex baking dishes. They are half the size of a typical lasagna pan, and so after assembling the roll-ups in each dish, I popped the lid on one and stuck it directly in the freezer. Future Elizabeth is going to thank me. Probably sometime in the very near future :-)
A word of caution. For the first few noodles I filled, I created an assembly line and spread the filling on about 4 noodles, then tried to roll them. Because the filling was cold, it caused the noodles to cool down and firm up, making them impossible to roll! I had a few mishaps with some broken misshaped rolls because of this. I recommend filling the noodles one at a time, so the noodles stay warm enough to stay pliable.
When it comes down to it, lasagna roll-ups are just as tasty as a traditional lasagna. You can easily adapt this recipe to be more like a traditional lasagna, alternating layers of noodles with the filling, if you prefer. Whichever you choose, rest assured this will be a delicious and satisfying meal that makes for great leftovers and freezes beautifully.
Pesto Chicken Lasagna Roll-ups
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cook lasagna noodles according to directions.
- Meanwhile, mix together the chicken, ricotta, eggs, pesto, 1 cup mozzarella, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
- Spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan (or 2 small ones)
- Spread a couple of spoonfuls of the chicken mixture on a cooked lasagna noodle. Roll the noodle and place seam side down in the baking pan. Repeat with remaining noodles and chicken mixture. Work quickly, as the noodles will dry out a bit over time and be difficult to roll.
- When all the lasagna noodles have been rolled and assembled, top with remaining sauce and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup mozzarella on top.
- Bake at 350 covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese just begins to brown.