The Best Meat Lasagna Recipe

This meat lasagna recipe is cheesy, meaty, and makes an impressive dinner. The golden brown, crispy cheese layer on top of the lasagna will be irresistible to anyone who sees it! So, if you are looking for the recipe for the best lasagna, this is it! With lots of repeat layers of gooey cheese, perfectly al dente pasta sheets, and a meaty tomato sauce, there is no doubt that this is one of the tastiest dishes. Trust me, it will quickly become a family favorite.

Having two teenage boys who played football after school meant they always needed a big load of carbs and protein to satisfy their hunger. The first words that would always come out of their mouths the minute they came home were that they were starving! Since our house was the closest to the school, which meant they would always bring their hungry friends over, which meant more mouths to feed. 

So how do you satisfy lots of mouths with a big appetite? Lasagna was my go-to recipe! It is an easy dish to make, and it was always my children and their friend’s favorite recipe. It is super filling and satisfying with a side of garlic bread and a big bowl of Caesar salad. Meat lasagna is an absolute classic meal that is perfect for dinner parties and lots of hungry people. 

Ricotta vs. Bechamel Sauce

While some lasagna recipes call for bechamel sauce, others call for ricotta for the layer of creamy cheese. But both are entirely authentic and legitimate ways to make lasagna. Lasagna made with bechamel sauce comes from the northern Emilia-Romagna region. The lasagna made with ricotta cheese originates in the southern Campania region. Of course, you can never go wrong with either recipe, but I personally prefer my lasagna with ricotta cheese.  

Tips For the Best Meat Lasagna

  • If I don’t have fresh tomatoes, I use crushed tomatoes in a can and just add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste to give it extra richness in flavor and color.
  •  I like to cook the ground meat first, remove it, and use the same pot for tomato sauce. Once the sauce is finished, I combine them and cook the meat sauce for another 30 minutes. This allows the flavors to come together. 
  • For the meat, I usually mix one pound of ground beef and one pound of lamb, but you could substitute the lamb with any Italian sweet sausages or ground pork. 
  • For the cheese, use a combination of ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan, and you are good to go! 

Cookware Needed to Make Meat Lasagna

  • 9”x13” baking dish 
  • Wooden spoon 
  • Dutch oven (large pot)
  • Chefs knife
  • Can opener 
  • Glass/metal bowl

Variations of This Lasagna Recipe 

Nowadays, there are so many versions of this traditional Italian dish. Lasagna can be made meatless or with vegetables such as eggplant or zucchini between the long lasagna sheet. You can also add various mushrooms such as oyster, shitake, and cremini with a hint of truffle oil for an earthy taste. Lasagna can also easily be a keto dish with thinly cut butternut squash in place of the lasagna sheets. There is so much that you can do! If you are looking for a chicken dish, don’t forget to check out my Pan-roasted Chicken Thighs with Pineapple Chili Glaze. It looks and tastes amazing.

Now, let’s see how to make the best meat lasagna you would have ever tasted,

Reviews

Ingredients:

Adjust Servings
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground lamb or pork
3 cans of 28 oz crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste (dissolved in ¼ cup of warm water)
2 small onions (chopped separately)
3 sticks of celery (chopped)
2 carrots (peeled and chopped)
6 cloves of garlic (3 of the cloves smashed and separated)
1 cup fresh chopped basil (plus one teaspoon of dry basil)
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
Olive oil
12 Lasagna sheets
3 cups shredded mozzarella
3 cups ricotta cheese
2 cups parmesan cheese (extra to sprinkle on top when finished)

Directions

1.
In a large Dutch oven, drizzle some olive oil and sauté the onions on medium heat for 2 minutes
Add the smashed garlic and cook for another minute.
Add the ground beef and lamb into the Dutch oven. Break down the meat with a wooden spatula, so the meat isn’t clumped together. Break the meat apart for 5 minutes.
Mark as complete
2.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon of dry basil. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Then remove the meat mixture and place it into a glass or metal bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil and one chopped onion in the same Dutch oven. Sauté them for about 2 minutes. Add the chopped celery and carrots. Sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the three cloves of the smashed garlic sauté for another minute.
Add your tomatoes, add 1 teaspoon of basil, 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Let the sauce come to a boil. Add the tomatoes paste and mix the tomato sauce.
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3.
Then lower the heat and let it simmer for another 45 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of tomato sauce for later before adding the meat mixture.
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4.
Add the cooked ground meat to the tomato sauce, mix it, and cook for another 15 mins.
Add the fresh chopped basil and mix it in with meat tomato sauce.
Cook the lasagna in hot water with olive oil and salt for 8 to 10 minutes in a large pot. Follow the packaging instructions, drain the lasagna, and wash with cold water.
Mark as complete
5.
The cheese mixture:
Add ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese to a large bowl. Mix the cheeses together. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper and mix the mixture. Preheat the oven to 375 F before assembling the lasagna.
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6.
How To Assemble The Lasagna
To assemble, you could either make two layers or three in a pan of 9 by 13 inches. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved tomatoes sauce to the bottom of the pan. Spread just enough to cover the bottom of the baking dish. Place 4 sheets of lasagna over the tomato sauce and let them overlap a little. This will be the first of the layers of noodles. Add the meat sauce on top of the pasta. Spread the cheese mixture over the meat sauce. Repeat one more time Add the remaining reserved tomato sauce and top the lasagne with shredded parmesan cheese. Cover the lasagna with foil and spray the bottom part of the foil with cooking spray to prevent it from sticking to the top of the lasagna. Cook for 25 minutes with the foil, then uncover the lasagna and cook for another 25 minutes. Let the lasagna rest for 10 minutes, and then sprinkle some fresh parmesan cheese on top. Now it is ready to be served!
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7.
How to store lasagna?
Lasagna is an excellent food for meal prep since it seems to get even tastier when you eat it the next day! Refrigerator: This meat lasagna can last in the fridge for about a week. Keep it in an airtight container and simply reheat the slices in the microwave when you are ready to eat it again.
Freezer: The lasagna will taste best if it is frozen after being assembled but before it has been baked. This will prevent the noodles from getting soggy, and the cheese will be crispier when it is only baked once. To freeze an unbaked lasagna, let it cool to room temperature and freeze the entire casserole wrapped in foil. It will last up to a month in the freezer. If you have already baked the lasagna, you can still freeze it. Let the lasagna cool down to room temperature and place the lasagna slices into freezer-safe food containers. Lasagna that has already been baked will also last up to a month in the freezer.
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Notes
So that is my famous lasagna recipe! Let me know what you think of the recipe in the comments below. What meat did you use? Did you try adding a new cheese? I want to hear it all!

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