Individual Lasagna Cups {Toddler Approved}

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Lauren Zembronhttps://www.healthyfoodforliving.com/
I am a 34 year old living outside of Boston with my wonderful husband, energetic daughter, sweet son, and playful dog. I have degrees in both psychology and guidance counseling, and have worked in a variety of school settings. I strive to find a balance between the two basic food philosophies of “eat to live” and “live to eat“. I believe that food should be (and is!) one of the great pleasures of leading a healthy lifestyle.

Every time John makes The Pioneer Woman’s lasagna (his go-to lasagna recipe), Lily gobbles up what we serve her and often asks for more. He makes a huge pan of it so there’s plenty of leftovers for quick Lily meals during the week.

Individual Lasagna Cups

Although Ree’s lasagna certainly is delicious, it’s not exactly the healthiest recipe out there. I wanted to make a lasagna using whole wheat noodles, low-sodium marinara sauce, and spinach to ensure Lily is getting whole grains and veggies without too much salt.

Individual Lasagna Cups

I also wanted to make individual portions so I could freeze them and easily defrost and reheat them as needed.

A quick google search for “lasagna cups” yields a ton of recipes; most of which call for wonton wrappers instead of lasagna noodles. Although the former are quick to prepare and easier to stuff into muffin cups, I wanted to stick with the traditional lasagna noodles.

Individual Lasagna Cups

Each cup is stuffed with a meat & spinach sauce, an herby ricotta mixture, and – of course – plenty of mozzarella cheese. The cups are baked to a bubbly & crispy perfection, and they pop right out of the muffin tin if you grease it beforehand.

Individual Lasagna Cups

One or two cups is the perfect serving size for a toddler, and Lily loves them!

Individual Lasagna Cups

Individual Lasagna Cups {Toddler Approved}

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Keywords: bake main entree cheese beef pasta spinach

Ingredients (12 muffin cups)

  • 6 whole wheat lasagna noodles (make sure you buy the noodles that DO require boiling)
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling baking sheet and muffin tin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lb lean ground beef, preferably grass-fed
  • Kosher salt, optional (I didn’t add any because the lasagna cups were for Lily)
  • 1 cup low-sodium marinara sauce
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach, preferably organic, chopped or whole
  • 1 cup ricotta, part-skim or whole milk
  • 1 egg, preferably organic, lightly whisked
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated low-moisture, part-skim or whole milk mozzarella cheese

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Cook noodles according to package directions, gently stirring every couple of minutes; drain. Lay drained noodles on a large baking sheet lightly coated with olive oil; set aside.

Meanwhil, heat 2 tsp olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic and sauté for 20 seconds or until fragrant. Add in ground beef and a couple pinches of salt if using; cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add marinara sauce and spinach. Stir until spinach has wilted; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, whisked egg, dried parsley, dried oregano, a pinch of salt if using, and black pepper; stir until well-combined.

Lightly coat a 12 cup standard muffin tin with olive oil.

Cut each lasagna noodle in half. Lay one half of a noodle into the bottom of each oiled muffin cup. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of the meat mixture into each noodle-lined muffin cup. Top with a heaping tablespoon of the ricotta mixture, followed by a heaping tablespoon of the grated mozzarella.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

Let cups cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing with a butter knife. Let cool to room temperature before serving to your toddler.

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